December 06, 2007
Last Blog Entry
I've Come A Long Way...The end of the semester. WOW! It seems like just yesterday when I came stumbling into the computer lab with no idea what to expect of the class, already thinking I knew everything there was to know about Google and searching on it. Boy was I wrong. I am going to break this final blog into four parts: things I thought I knew but didn't, things that I had no idea about, tools I know I will use after this semester, and one way to change the class.
Things I Thought I Knew... But Didn't
- As I stated earlier, I walked in thinking I knew everything there was to know about searching on Google. I was shocked when we started talking about special syntaxes. I also learned about the precision and recall that search engines aim for.
- I thought I knew about news sites and how to follow a company on the web. Again, I was wrong. Email alerts, page monitors, and RSS feeds were all new to me. I thought you could just look at there press release page and you would know everything that was going on.
- Tagging. I thought del.icio.us was the only tagging site out there. Wrong again. We learned all about social networks and the various types of stuff (pictures, blogs, websites, movies, etc.) that get tagged and the sites to best access them.
Things I Had No Idea About
- I was surprised at the size of the Deep Web. I had never heard of it before and seriously thought that search engines were able to search these invisible sites. Now I know that you need to use special search engines and techniques to utilize these
- RSS Feeds. Again, something completely new. I think they are the most useful thing we learned all semester. The amount of time that they can save is incredible. Having these to monitor personal topics of interest and then the business topics for our wikis was the best resource and one that I will continue to use.
- Wikis. Never heard of them before this class. They are a great tool for organizing information of a topic (like how we organized our term projects). They are easier to use then creating a web page and give you more flexibility when creating subpages.
Tools I Know I Will Use In The Future
- I will definitely continue to use RSS Feeds. As I stated earlier their ability to monitor different sources on a variety of topics makes them the ideal tracking tools. As time goes on, I feel like they will only get better because more sites will start to offer feeds.
- The search principles from the Web Search Garage are another thing that I will use whenever I use a search engine. I guess that some of them are kind of basic and you do them without thinking about it, but others are very useful and help create unique queries that yield precise results.
- Multimedia tagging sites are a third thing that I will continue to use. My favorite is iMeem. It offers free streaming music and the ability to create personal playlists. Another obvious favorite is YouTube because of its vast coverage of everything. I also liked Flickr but will only use it to supplement Google Images due to familiarity with the latter.
One Way To Change The Class
- For next year, I would keep the readings and the books (unless a newer version comes out) because they supplemented the lectures very nicely (which should also stay the same). The exams were structured well and emphasized what was important in class. But the one thing that I would change is the term projects. I would suggest only having one, whether it is personal or business related doesn't matter. I know a problem for me was getting started. I didn't really have an idea what to do until we learned the things in class an then I always felt like I was behind in material. I did not have a strong background in most of these tools, so I was just sitting on Google for hours searching with different queries until we learned all the techniques you wanted us to include. I like the idea of the project and it is really fun to do, but I feel like it kind of back-loads the course because of its structure.
I also wonder if any of these tools I learned will be applicable in a month (6 months, a year, 2 years). There is no way to predict where the internet is going, but if something radical comes out that changes everything, I would feel like I wasted some time learning this stuff. I do not think there is anything that you can do adjust for this, but it is something to keep in mind.
Sorry to end on such a sour note, but I really did love this class. The search techniques and online tools that I learned have already payed off and I hope they continue to in the future. I would definitely recommend this class to all my friends, so I hope you will be offering it next fall. Thanks again.
Posted by adamcole at December 6, 2007 09:16 PM