Evaluation Of A Web Quest

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Evaluation Of A Web Quest

  1. 1. Evaluation of a WebQuest Lisa Chizek Webquest: Literacy and Person by Deanya Lattimore Link to WebQuest The webquest “Literacy and Person,” developed by Deanya Lattimore, is a project designed for first year writing students in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Writing Program at Syracuse University. While the intended audience is college freshman writers, the purpose of the webquest extends beyond writing and asks students to think deeply about culture, literacy and the self. While curriculum standards are not addressed explicitly, the expectation that the Webquest meets the department’s goals of connecting writing, literacy, and culture is present in the introduction and overall presentation of the project. Additionally, the specific educational goal of the Webquest is to “consider different ‘frames’ through which the person is studied” by producing several writing activities ranging from discussion posts, to journal A screen shot of the Webquest’s home page entries, and a reflection piece. The pedagogical strategies are difficult to determine, but simulation and problem solving is one common strategy used throughout. Students are asked to role play five different characters (a metaphysical, a psychologist, a sociologist, an anthropologist, and philosopher) and envision their response to literacy and the person. To successfully do this, students much understand the frame-of-mind of each position by searching the
  2. 2. internet. This enables students to interact directly with the content to make an informed response from each of the five perspectives. Some scaffolding is also used in the research portion of the Webquest because while some resources are provided, students are also expected to create their own searches. The Webquest takes advantage of technology in several important ways. First, it includes links to important internet sites that students can use to understand and question the five different perspectives they are asked to take. In addition, the Webquest indicates that other technology will be used in the completion of assignments—an online class magazine, discussion forums, and responses posted online. While some aspects of this Webquest could be reproduced by photocopying pages and handing them out to students, the concept of connecting students to culture and literacy would be disjointed. The internet opens up the cultural world to students and because the focus of this Webquest has cultural influences at the core of its purpose, it is better served as an internet based instruction. While the Webquest generally works effectively, it is incredibly difficult to view and read with ease. The Webquest meets one of the most common “pitfalls” of web design by choosing a background that is distracting from the text. Below is an image of the resources section of the Webquest to indicate the difficulty in reading the text: A busy background prevents fluidity of reading and increases headaches!
  3. 3. Due to the busy background, I actually had to highlight the text (so that the background was black) so I could read it thoroughly. In addition to the challenging background, the Webquest is also ten years old and has not been updated since 1999. This leaves many broken links because the linked websites are no longer in existence. If I were to work on improving this Webquest, I would begin first by addressing the problematic areas of timeliness and the background issue. In addition, some of the language is vague in explanation (perhaps it was supplemented by classroom instruction) but if this were designed to be all encompassing, some areas could use further explanation. Overall, this was probably “cutting edge” at its time of creation ten years ago, especially in the college classroom. In fact, this instructor chronicled her experiences of integrating Webquests into college writing courses through this article: Webquests Go To College. I stumbled across the article first then her Webquest, but it will be a resource I consider when creating my own Webquest. The article is both interesting and informative, but more importantly, it reexamines how and why Webquests can have a role in higher education.

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