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  • drdianehamilton 9:14 am on June 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Google Scholar, , , , , , Yahoo Answers   

    Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research 

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    Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information.  The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments.  Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research.  However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature.  It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.

    Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content.  This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses.  Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet.  This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc.  These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.

    According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:

    • Problem: Students value immediacy over quality – Students use sites like Wikipedia to find quick answers.  Wikipedia may offer some valuable resources at the bottom of their site to support the content. Solution:  These sources are usually available through the school’s library search feature.  Schools’ search engines are quite easy to use. They access some of the best material available for free.  Students can easily mark a box for peer-reviewed studies.  This will ensure that their research contains quality information.
    • Problem:  Students often use cheat sites – Students may find sites that offer to write their papers for a fee.  Most of these papers are captured within Turnitin’s plagiarism detecting software. Therefore when students buy the paper and submit as their own, the software will detect it as plagiarized.  Solution:  The time it takes to find and buy a paper on the Internet could have been used to simply write an original paper.  Nothing is gained from submitted plagiarized work.  Students risk getting expelled.  Most assignments are not that long or difficult.  The point of writing them is to gain knowledge.  Students who attend school just to obtain a piece of paper will not be prepared for the working world.  They will spend money on a degree that will not help them if they have not learned the information.
    • Problem:  Research is not synonymous with search – Students may put a lot of faith in the information found on the Internet.  Just because a site allows people to ask and answer questions, does not mean that the answers are correct. Searching for answers on the Internet does not mean that the answers are based on actual research.  Solution:  Using peer-reviewed sources that are available through the school’s library ensures that the information in the article has been reviewed by the author’s peers.  These studies are actual research.

    There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites.  If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times.  If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.

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  • drdianehamilton 1:58 pm on January 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Answers, , , , , Questions, , , , Yahoo Answers   

    Quora Confusion: How to Navigate This New Social Media Site 

    image via google.com

    Quora is a social media site created by former Facebook employees.  It is designed to be an interactive question and answer site.  It appears to me to be like the Q&A section on LinkedIn where someone can ask a question and receive an answer in a more sophisticated way than a simple Yahoo Answers response.  Unlike Yahoo Answers, users must be a member of the site to view the discussions.  

    I have received several notifications that people were following me recently on Quora, so I decided to give it another look yesterday.  Interestingly, this morning, the Wall Street Journal did a piece on Quora.  I was a bit relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only one who finds the site to be a bit confusing.  According to the WSJ article, “The site lacks instructions on how to use it; people just have to figure it out as they go. For example, a newcomer might not know that Quora answers can be voted up or down by seeing two tiny triangles that appear beside each answer. If I select the up triangle, this indicates I voted for that answer, and news of this vote is shared on the Quora home page of anyone who follows me. A number beside each answer indicates how many votes it has received so far. But unless you’ve used the site for a while, you wouldn’t know any of this.”

    I like the Q&A section in LinkedIn and I think Quora has some possibilities.  I will have to give it another try.  I recommend reading the article in the Wall Street Journal to learn more about Quora and how to navigate within the site by clicking here

    For now, I have answered questions on Quora including one titled: How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent?  If you are on Quora and want to see my response to that question click here.

     
    • Matt Hames 2:23 pm on January 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, thanks for the link. I wonder about the value to an answerer on Quora. I don’t see it, yet. If the community grows enough, then Quora could become an expertise database, but that’s sort of a big if. So far, LinkedIn answers has worked every time. And when I answer something well, LinkedIn calls me an expert. I trust the expertise database there because I can vet expertise against experience.

      Still watching Quora though.

      Matt.

  • drdianehamilton 11:37 am on December 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew McClain, Ben Finkel, , Erick Schonfeld, , Fluther, , , Yahoo Answers   

    Have a Question? Twitter-Acquired Fluther May Offer Answers from Real People 

    Image via google.com

    In case you are wondering Fluther rhymes with brother and it is a word that means a group of jellyfish.  Fluther’s site is about directing your questions to the people who have the answers.  Answerers are encouraged to use humor while expressing their opinions. 

    Twitter recently acquired Fluther announcing, “we were continually impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and much of the thinking behind the question-and-answer product they’ve spent the last couple of years building. When the Fluther team joins us they will focus on helping users discover the most relevant content on Twitter. Their product, Fluther.com, is not part of the acquisition and will remain separate from Twitter. For more information on the future of this Q&A community, please read The Fluther Blog.”

    There is a lot of speculation about Twitter’s interest in Fluther.  One of the main things that Twitter may be hoping to add is more of a Question and Answer ability to Twitter. 

    TechCrunch author Erick Schonfeld speculated why he thought they may be interested in Fluther:  “Twitter also is about “connecting people who don’t know each other,” at least people who only know each other online for the most part. Social Q&A works better the more people who can potentially answer a given question, but there needs to be some connection, otherwise it’s no different than Yahoo Answers. Whether or not you trust someone’s answer might depend on who else they are connected to. The relevance of a given answer therefore depends on the authority of the person giving the answer, and authority is relative to each questioner. Twitter is already trying to solve the social relevance problems in different ways. Q&A is the next logical step.”

     
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