Search Engine Demonstration

By samooresamoore (1256680682|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p, last edited at 1256680933|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

I've gotta tell you that I'm somewhat disappointed with the level of communication and/or planning ahead that's going on in our class. I'm getting all sorts of questions about the assignment that's due tomorrow. What's worrisome is that you had all sorts of opportunities to ask me questions about this. If there are a number of you with these questions then

  • Why did I only talk to two students at office hours today and yesterday?
  • Why didn't I get questions on this Monday during class?

Am I scary? Am I too scary to ask questions of in class? Do I not seem like I'm trying to help? I really am. I'm trying to make myself available to you but I do ask that I get some level of commitment from you, some amount of planning ahead, some amount of thoughtfulness so that I don't feel like my availability is being taken advantage of.

I know these are ambiguous assignments. I said so in the assignment itself. That's why I gave you so much lead time on the assignment. I don't give you lead time so that you simply do it all the night before. If that's what you're going to do then I would have made this a one-week assignment from beginning to end. And that doesn't make sense.

So, what are you supposed to do for this assignment? You are supposed to demonstrate how to use the Web site. Point out the major features of the site. Point out the advanced search features. Demonstrate what type of searches it appears to be designed for. That type of thing. I figured that was clear from the word "demonstration". But I also knew this would be somewhat ambiguous. I am okay with this. I know that some of you are going to do different things than others. That's okay! This isn't Calculus. This isn't Physics. This isn't the 500th time that this class has been taught or that this assignment has been given. It's the first time for this assignment, so I'm expecting some variability in what you do. That's okay with me. You should learn to deal with this ambiguity. Life works that way sometimes (actually, almost all of the time).

How long should it be? Long enough. For some of you with really simple search engines, the demonstration probably will take 1-2 pages if it includes lots of screenshots. For others of you with really complicated search engines, the demonstration probably will take many more pages. This is why I didn't tell you how long it should be — because it depends on the search engine you have chosen. Your demonstration should be long enough to show someone who hasn't gone to the site how to use the search engine. You don't need to point out every single little feature — for some search engines that would be nearly endless (and pointless). And it shouldn't be longer than it needs to be. I'm not going to reward length just for the purpose of length.

I hope this helps. And I hope many of you learn to plan ahead a bit more than I'm currently seeing.

(I'm sorry for the attitude of this blog entry. I'm going to talk about this in class on Wednesday. I would give you this answer in class so that it wouldn't sound so snippy, but it won't do you any good if I tell you this information at that time — you need it now. So this announcement is a preview of what we are going to talk about.)

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