my work staf17

How creating a smart guide?

Or: A tiny and insane mini-workshop idea

It might be very useful to have guides to instructional web sites that consist of more than just collected links.
Helpful guides should adapt to the abilities and expectations of the users.

Meta question
After reading the assignment on the Staf18 page I tried to keep track of what I was supposed to do:
- subject up to me,
- in relation with virtual space and CMC.

In order to get a more substantial idea of my task I started surfing around and was happy to find the presentation of Yaz (thanks!).
But my question remains: Has my presentation to deal more with scientific stuff or more with practical matters or both?
Making up my mind, I tried to mix a little bit of everything. Many practical issues do also have quite a bit of theoretical background.
So, finally I take the risk and present:

The question(s)
Wouldn't you like to get informations about instructional web sites by consulting an online guide able to do more than just adding links in a list?
And: How creating such a smart guide?
And: How organizing periodical updates?

Who needs that?

Of course, many instructional web sites can be found by using search engines. But as far as my experience goes, this is not a very efficient way.
And for many of the kids (and the teachers) this kind of access is pretty useless.

If instructional web sites expect to be looked up during school tasks they should create some means to find them in the cyperspace - within a couple of minutes.

What a smart guide should supply

- The guide itself has to be found easily. Links from the (mostly national) school web sites may help. And the guide has to show up in all the search engines - covering many keywords.

- The guide has to present some sort of graphic interface: a graphic setup with short explanatory texts. A very smart interface would be able to adapt to the web literacy of the users: simple edition for beginners, more sophisticated version for experts.

- Before presenting a selection of links, the guide has to treat the wishes of the users: subject field, level of complexity, time to spend, kind of response.

- The guide should be able to gather evaluation statements of the users having visited a instructional web site. And as a result of this feature, a smart guide has to be able to present the evaluating feedbacks submitted by other users before - eventually together with recommendations of instructional experts.
Caution! As research on evaluation of instructional software shows: learners and teachers may have a completely contrary impression of the same program.

How creating such a smart guide?

That's the question. And the input for the discussion in the mini-workshop.

I'm eager to listen to your proposals!

By the way: You don't have discovered such a smart guide on the web, did you?

Have a look at the literature here:

Evaluating instructional software

  • Overview, literature, links
  • Review and Critique of current methods
  • The model of Reiser and Dick (1990)

    Evaluating instructional websites

  • Overview, literature, links

  • contact mail to:
    Chris Mueller (

    ++41 (0)52 301 3301 phone
    ++41 (0)52 301 3304 fax

    97 05 22