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Does the Classroom Have a Self-Concept Problem?  A TechLearn 2001 Think Piece by Elliott Masie
New Habits of an e-Learner Confessions by Elliott Masie
Multiple Learning Styles in Web-based Courses  - An Interview with Laura Summers
One Big Class! - Murray Goldberg 
Content, Context and Textbooks - Elliott Masie  
Plumbing the Depths: Using the Invisible Web Schloman
Learning On-Line vs. e-Learning?- Elliott Masie
Don't Forget Humor in Learning! - Elliot Masie
Recipes as e-Learning Model - Elliot Masie
Quality of Health Information on the Web: Where are we now ? - Schloman NY
An In-Depth Interview with The Classroom - Elliot Masie NY



Does the Classroom Have a Self-Concept Problem?  Sakset fra A TechLearn 2001 Think Piece


This morning I had a really strange conversation. I was meeting with three colleagues in the learning field and realized how everyone’s facial expression went sour when I mentioned the classroom. Is the classroom a dirty word? Does classroom training suffer from a public relations or self-concept problem?

It is undeniable that e-Learning has taken the bulk of the spotlight in the last 20 months. There are dozens of seminars, trade shows and magazines all about ways to do learning without ever having to enter the classroom. In fact, a good number of learning vendors go out of their way to tout their ability to classroom-proof your learners. There are new press releases every day about Learning Management Systems or Virtual Classrooms. Yet, I can’t find a single press release about new white board paper or other nifty tools to make the classroom a better environment for learning.

When the benefits of e-Learning are rolled-out, almost every presentation

However, if you show up at a local trainer’s meeting and state that you love teaching stand up classes, people often move to the other side of the room, not unlike the reaction to the litter in Alice’s Restaurants (sorry, a 60’s reference!).

I am probably as guilty as most folks in this industry for the poor rap that the classroom has gotten in recent days. I stood up at a Lakewood event several years ago and told the trainers "To Get Wired or Get Fired!". But, I didn’t mean that the classroom would be sent to the woodshed.

And, I marvel at the wonderful ways in which I can deliver learning

I do not believe that the classroom is dead! In fact, the more that I

The classroom can be a great approach to

* The learning activity involves discussion or live role modeling.

* The learning target is a motor skill that requires the use of equipment.

* The audience is small and it is easier and cheaper to put a subject

* The content requires intense concentration for an extended period of

* The event is a ritual or landmark event that will signal a major benchmark or promotion in one’s work history.

* The learning activity is linked to a social objective to meet and work

* The bulk of the content is gained from a Socratic dialogue with fellow

* The subject matter is not appropriate to an on-line experience.

* As a strong learner/manager preference or a change of pace.

While there is a significant increase in the use of e-Learning and Blended


* Shorter duration classes.

* Use of pre-class and post-class learning via technology.

* Developing Communities of Learning or Practice surrounding the class.

* Targeting of classroom learning via Learning Management Systems.

* Use of simulation and other e-Learning resources in class.

Let us respect the role and power of the classroom, at the same time that we explore the capabilities and potential of e-Learning. Ultimately, we will drop the "e" from our dialogue and talk about the most strategic formats and technologies to support learning and performance…. And the classroom will be one of them.

So, I tell you without shame, that I love to teach in the classroom. In





New Habits of an e-Learner Sakset fra  Confessions by Elliott Masie  #222 -  October 19, 2001 - Published by The MASIE Center


I can get pretty weird as an e-Learner. After approximately 500 hours as

* Browsing is What the Browser Was Designed For: I browse! I sample a

* Triple Tasking: I triple task! When I am participating in a

* Talking While I Learn: I normally don't talk to myself, except, when I

* I Compete With Instructional Times: When an author says that a module

* I Copy, Paste and Send: When I am in the middle of a cool e-Learning

These are neither positive or negative behaviors. Just ones that I have





Multiple Learning Styles in Web-based Courses  - An Interview with Laura Summers  Sakset fra Web-CT's newsletter

Fact: The Internet enables teachers and learners alike to do things they never dreamed of before in education.

Focus: To fully engage students in your online courses, it is necessary to take into account, and provide for, inherent learning style differences. If your online learners are audio (or visual, or kinesthetic) learners, how can you address their learning style in your web-based course?

Laura Summers, of Alva Learning Systems, revels in such questions. Whether designing her own courses, or those for others to teach, Summers develops creative ways of engaging students in their online classes. "Optimal learning experience for engaging learners requires Learner Interest, Content Creativity, Interactive Strategies (how to make learners share their personal interests), and Connection," says Summers. "The presence of concrete content is of the utmost importance even when interactive strategies and multi-media options provide for a variety of learning styles. The goal in creating interactive courses is to be playful, yet also academic, and concrete content insures this." The bottom line, according to Summers, is presenting alternative means for students to access information; it is a helpful tenet for professors to keep in mind, so that their content can reach students in as many ways as possible. 

Summer notes that "the advantage that web-based learning has over computer-based learning is the sense of community and interactivity that the web can provide." In what ways does Summers, whose background is in Instructional Design, capitalize on the interactivity that the web fosters? How does she modify online courses to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles? How do face to face strategies translate in the online environment?

"Visual Learners like a lot of graphics to help them process text-based information. These can be in the form of simple graphics (pictures) which show rather than tell (such as examples of facial expressions or gestures in a Communications course). They can also include more complex images such as animated gifs or rollovers. "When you get to images with movement, such as drag and drops, you start to cross over into the kinesthetic learners’ learning style. Including such functions has combined benefit for both visual and kinesthetic learners. Summers points out that the graphics you use must relate to the content: "they’re not just pretty pictures! They have to be on the subject. Not just filler. When you add graphics, you increase student recall by up to 50%.

"Kinesthetic Learners like to click the mouse, move things around. Flash Technology with lots of drag and drop, functions work well for kinesthetic learners - it’s how the physical translates to the online; movement isn’t just physical as we used to think: jumping and moving around the room," says Summers. "It helps some learners to write things down as part of the kinesthetic and visual aspects. If a notepad is offered in the course, or even if the instructor prompts the learner to write down their thoughts or responses, it helps them retain information. This is a non-technical approach that is still useful in an online course.

"Auditory Learners like to brainstorm, talk with people; there’s more to adapting online curriculum for auditory learners than inserting sound files or video clips into a web-based course. I always tell people that when they design their courses, they need to translate the aural aspect of their face to face course into the communicative aspect of their online course, the things that correspond to the need of auditory learners to be with people. For instance, chat rooms and bulletin boards work well for auditory learners. Discussions can take place over listservs, bulletin boards, in chat rooms... Also, role plays, situational exercises, and case studies ... all of which call upon learners to interact with one another or with the real life application of what they are learning ... tend to work best for auditory learners."

The next important step, according to Summers, is creating rich content to match course tools. For this, themes are very important; she uses them throughout her courses - with all of her examples relating back to the established theme. This allows for creativity, while insuring some consistency and predictability.

Interested in recommending a Learning Styles Survey to your students? Curious about your own Learning Style? Laura Summers recommends this Interactive Survey.

Laura Summers is a managing partner at Alva Learning Systems, a provider and developer of student-focused online training. She is currently completing her PhD in Educational Technology with an emphasis on instructional design and distance education. She can be reached via email at laura@alvalearning.com.



One Big Class! Murray Goldberg Sakset fra Web-CT newsletter

"Ouchihuahua" (pronounced Ouchie-wah-wah*) was my immediate reaction when I walked into my first class of the term yesterday. There I was presented with a room packed full of students, every one of the 135 seats in the room occupied by a student bottom, with what looked like about 40 additional students standing in various parts of the spaces between the chairs, the doorway, and at the back of the room. What is happening to the university experience? I remember clearly as little as 8 or 10 years ago when I used to have a comfortable 30 students in my class. I knew each of them by name. I knew a lot about each student's ability to learn. I used to buy them pizza occasionally. We used to hold the occasional class outside when the weather was nice. Those were the days. Last year during an evening class I tried to recapture some of that early closeness and bought pizza for the class. It worked very well until I got the bill. It cost me $200. I wonder if I can recapture the closeness with Jello or Kool-Aid next time.

Don't get me wrong; although if it were up to me I would opt for a small class every time, in many ways I actually like teaching large classes. I find that often there is an electricity in a class with a large audience (and that is what 90% of students do become in large classes - an audience) that is not present in small classes. I still learn about the same number of names (30 or so) by the end of the term (which unfortunately leaves out about 80% of the students). I may be kidding myself, but I still feel as though I establish a connection with a lot of my students. The connection is not of the same nature as it would have been had the class been smaller, but it exists. And I still feel as though the students learn as well in a large setting. The experience is most certainly not the same, and likely not as good, but learning does occur.

Over the years my teaching has changed somewhat in order to deal with large enrollment classes. By "deal with" what I really mean is I try to optimize the experience for myself and the students and maximize the learning outcomes (without having to resort to 80 hour weeks). Interestingly, educational technologies play a large role in my ability to deal with large classes.

The first thing I stopped doing is holding regular office hours. Sounds kind of drastic, doesn't it? I am still available to my students for one-on-one consultation, but now only by appointment. I require them to make an appointment because I want them first to consider the use of the bulletin board for communication. As you know (if you've read any of my previous articles) I use the asynchronous discussion area heavily in my classes. There are hoards of benefits to the use of the board, but the one I am stressing here is a reduction in work load for me. If a student has a question and asks it in the bulletin board, then every student has seen the question. When I or a TA answer it - every student has now seen the answer. This also means that students can review the questions and answers before exams. Now I (usually) only am ever asked a question once; a significant time saving.

Further to that, I almost never use e-mail with my students. Answering a question via e-mail serves only one student and takes every bit as long as answering it on the bulletin board. I tell my students to please never send me e-mail unless they have a personal question that is not appropriate for the entire class to hear (see). In that case - I am all ears (eyes) via e-mail. I have run into a number of instructors teaching on line who say that moving on line has tripled their workload. Most of those are using e-mail to interact with their students (which, of course, is so much less efficient than a phone call or office hours).

Another move I sometimes make is to on-line exams. I find it a little more difficult to formulate questions that can be graded automatically and thus it takes me longer to create an on line exam than a paper based exam (unless I have access to an appropriate, high quality test bank). Grading exams by hand, however, takes a long time too. Once the class reaches a certain size (maybe 20 or 30) it becomes far more efficient for me to spend a little more time constructing an on line exam and have it graded by WebCT than it is to create a paper-based exam and grade it by hand. This makes giving exams on line worthwhile even ignoring the extensive feedback and reporting that comes for free, and the possibility of more regular feedback with the taking of the on line exams. I also do not have to worry whether the grades were entered correctly or about consistency in grading. This actually saves quite a bit of time negotiating with students for more (or fewer) points after an exam.

It is interesting to hear the experiences of others in the matter of technology and large enrollment classes. Today I came across an article in a UBC periodical called TAG (Teaching and Academic Growth) Tapestry. A biology faculty member, James Berger, wrote an article "Experimenting with Web-Based Material to Support a Large Lecture Course". In it he writes the following:

"What were the benefits? Judging from course evaluation forms, those [students] who used the site were very enthusiastic about it. My rapport with the class was far better than I have experienced before. This is not just a consequence of the [notes on] the web site. ... The big difference was the bulletin board. Oh yes - student traffic to my office was virtually nil throughout the term. The efficiency of dealing with student questions through the website was certainly much greater than otherwise."

In one of my surveys of students in a large lecture course, I asked them two questions relevant to this discussion. The first question was whether a stronger feeling of community in the course was created as a result of the communication tools. Roughly 75% of the students said 'yes'. The second (similar) question asked whether the conferencing tool made the large course seem more or less personal (did they feel more or less 'like a number'). Over half of the students responded that the experience was indeed more personal, with almost all the remainder saying there was no change.

For many of us large classes are becoming a fact of life. I do not believe that the availability of technology gives us license to increase class sizes - with or without technology something is lost both for the students and the faculty member as the class size increases. However, I believe, and many seem to agree, that faced with a large enrollment class, technology can be very beneficial in mitigating some of the negative side effects of increasing enrollments.

Are your class sizes increasing? Do you care? How has your teaching changed to accommodate the larger audience? Does technology play a part, and is it beneficial? I am eager to hear your thoughts on this.



Content, Context and Textbooks" Sakset fra #233- - - April 22, 2002 - - - *** Elliott Masie's TechLearn TRENDS *** Training, e-Learning and Collaboration Updates Published by The MASIE Center www.masie.com


Elliott Masie skriver i sit seneste nyhedsbrev  i afsnittet "Content, Context and Textbooks" om de ændringer der er ved at ske med lærebogsområdet:
I was in Tampa last week talking to the manager of college bookstores from around the United States. The
dialogue turned to the changing nature of textbooks. As you can imagine, there is innovation in the format and use of textbooks by colleges. While digital textbooks have not replaced paper, a number of colleges are moving towards creating bundles of CONTEXT that would go with the book. For example, how can we integrate the CONTENT from the author who wrote the textbook with the CONTEXT from the class instructor or from other students around the country.
We had an interesting conversation about what would happen if textbooks became cheap or free, in digital format. I posed the option that students might be very interested in buying a CONTEXT layer, which would contain the yellow highlighting of a student who had received an A+ in the course. Simulations and other e-Learning high intensity offerings were seen as possible revenue sources for publishers.



Plumbing the Depths: Using the Invisible Web  Sakset fra © 2002 Online Journal of Issues in Nursing  Article published April 22, 2002  Schloman, Barbara. (April 22, 2002). Plumbing the Depths: Using the Invisible Web


Barbara Schloman har skrevet en anbefalelsesværdig artikel om de skjulte sider på nettet, hvor der også ligger værdifuld information for sundhedsprofessionelle.


Just when we already feel overwhelmed by the number of results returned when using Web search engines, there is mounting evidence that there is a great deal that is not being searched--namely the "Invisible" or "Deep" Web. In fact, the argument is made that standard search engines are not indexing most of the information on the Web. Not only is a majority of Web content submerged within these sites, but it is also some of the best information on the Internet.

Two publications in particular have explored what the Invisible Web is and the implications of it for us as Web searchers. Michael K. Berman (2001) published a white paper, "The Deep Web-Surfacing Hidden Value." Although the paper has a commercial influence because the research he presents showcases technology available from his employer BrightPlanet, the issues raised have provoked considerable attention. The second publication of note is a book by Chris Sherman and Gary Price (2001), The Invisible Web-Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See.

This column will explore some of the issues raised and how to plumb the depths of the Invisible Web for health and other needed information. Bergman prefers the terminology of the "Deep Web." However, this column will use the more pervasive phrase of the "Invisible Web."



Just what is it and why don't conventional search engines reach it?

The Invisible Web is that portion of the Web that is not reached by standard search engines such as Alta Vista or Google. It includes specialized databases and search engines, archives of documents, directories and locators, dictionaries, library catalogs, and gated resources requiring a password or login. Some sites may have a hybrid status with some content visible and other that is not.

  1. Much of the content on the Invisible Web is in databases that have their own search interface and retrieve customized results dynamically. Because of these "on the fly" responses, the resulting pages are not static Web pages and are not indexed by the search engines.

  2. Search engines run computer-driven "spiders" to find Web pages and make them available for indexing. Spiders can only find pages if links to them exist from pages already identified for that search engine. Other than this, a search engine indexes Web sites if the producer of a Web site submits it for indexing. If information about a Web page is not obtained in either of these ways, the search engine will not index it.

  3. Aside from technological limitations they may face, search engines also make conscious decisions not to index certain material. This includes pages that predominantly have content that is something other than HTML text, which is the standard format for static Web pages. These could be pages that are comprised largely of images, those that are in PDF or a word processing format, or those that have been written with specialized software such as Flash or Shockwave.

  4. A Web producer may also block all or part of a site from being retrieved by a spider. This is particularly common for sites that offer timely content (newspapers, stock tickers, flight trackers).



Why does this matter?

Content accessible on the Web continues to grow as government agencies, organizations, and corporations commit to doing business through this medium and are aided by advances in Web technology and the increasingly favorable economics of computer storage. Bergman's paper on the Deep Web was based on research done in March 2000, so one can imagine that the findings would be even more dramatic today. His findings on the Deep Web included:

- The publicly available information found there is 400 to 550 times greater than what is on the surface Web. More than half of this information is found in topic-specific databases. It exceeds the total volume of printed works by an estimated factor of seven.

- The number of sites exceeds 200,000. Of these, 60 Web sites alone were found to be nearly 40 times the size of the entire surface Web.

- This is the largest growing category of new information on the Web.

- Subject content extends across the entire spectrum of human enterprise with an estimated 5.5% of the Deep Web devoted to health.

- Some Deep Web sites are very popular and have many links to them (e.g., Amazon.com), but most are not well known. An estimated 97.4% of these sites are available without restriction.

- Quality is more pervasive on the Deep Web than on the surface Web. Also, quality results are possible here that cannot be obtained elsewhere.


What are examples of Invisible Web sources?

Real-time Resource:  Flight Tracker www.thetrip.com

Directory: American Medical Association Physician Select www.ama-assn.org

Library Online Catalog: Library of Congress Catalog www.loc.gov/catalog/
Bibliographic Database: Combined Health Information Database (CHID) http://chid.nih.gov/
News: CNN News Search www.cnn.com

How do I find Invisible Web sites?

Specialized finding aids have been created to help searchers identify sources such as these that will not turn up using standard search engines. What characterizes these tools is that they are not just automated retrievers, but the product of human effort and judgment.

CompletePlanet: www.completeplanet.com/
BrightPlanet Corporation provides this directory of 103,000 searchable databases and engines on the Internet, organized by categories.

Infomine: Scholarly Internet Resource Collections: http://infomine.ucr.edu/search.phtml
Over 20,000 sites selected by librarians as "significant, core and/or reference level resources of a scholarly or educational nature on the Internet." It is possible to search or browse any of the 10 broad categories.

InvisibleWeb.com: The Search Engine of Search Engines: www.invisibleweb.com
"…our subject matter experts (human editors) have discovered indexed, described, and categorized thousands of invisible sources on the Web in a directory (taxonomy) of 800+ categories."
Resource Discovery Network (RDN): www.rdn.ac.uk
Web directory of over 32,000 sites, compiled by subject experts in the United Kingdom and organized by independent hubs that are searchable independently or by using a unified interface to search all.
One hub of particular interest is:

BIOME - Health and Life Sciences

www.Invisible-web.net -- The Invisible Web Directory: http://www.invisible-web.net
Online Web directory by Sherman and Price that complements their book cited earlier. The site is updated regularly and is designed to serve as a starting point for learning more about resources on the Invisible Web. It is organized into 18 categories.



Tools available from standard search engines

AltaVista: www.altavista.com
AltaVista has created "shortcuts" that direct a user's search to selected types of Invisible Web resources that would not normally be retrieved. To make this happen, AltaVista has created specialized indices for commonly sought resources relating to such things as local information, maps, news, recipes, stocks, white pages, yellow pages. A retrieved shortcut shows on the first page of Alta Vista search results, below "products and services," but before other search results. The shortcut is marked with a small blue arrow icon .

For example, a search on "Agent Orange news" turned up a shortcut that led to 35 headline articles from sources such as the BBC, MSNBC, Miami Herald, ABC Online, USA Today. For more information on AltaVista shortcuts and how they work, go to http://www.altavista.com/sites/search/shortcuts_overview

Google: http://www.google.com
Google now makes it possible to search twelve different file types in addition to the standard HTML formatted Web page. This includes PDF files, as well as to Adobe Postscript, Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and Rich Text. These files will show up when there is a match on any search with the file format given in blue text in brackets (e.g., [PDF]). Also the name of the file format appears below the title (e.g., "PDF/Adobe Portable Document Format"). Google offers the choice to open one of these documents as a Web page by clicking on "View as HTML." This prevents opening a file that may contain a virus. If you elect to open in another format, it is important you check the file with virus scanning software.

If you want to search only for a particular file type, use Google's Advanced Search page. A drop-down menu is provided to allow you to restrict your search to a specific file type. For more information on searching by file type, go to http://www.google.com/help/faq_filetypes.html.



Finding it once, retrieving it again

Web users are often confounded by URLs that are uncomfortably lengthy, have embedded punctuation, and are impossible to remember. Such URLs typically reflect pages that have been retrieved from a search of a database on the Invisible Web. The URL is unique to the search that was done on that database and to the item retrieved. Reusing this URL would retrieve the same document.

For example, a search on PubMed for "Nightingale and evidence-based nursing" retrieved the following reference. Citing or bookmarking this URL will refer the user to this same item.


Evid Based Nurs 2001 Jul;4(3):68-9
Florence Nightingale and the early origins of evidence-based nursing. McDonald L.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
PMID: 11708232 [PubMed - in process]


The library's gated resources on the Invisible Web

Libraries have traditionally served as the repository of our cultural heritage and of the scholarly record. These archives in the past were in print and sometimes in other media such as microform. Now the move, of course, is toward providing digitized resources available on the Web. However, many of these resources--such as the majority of electronically available journals and research databases (CINAHL, PsycINFO)-can be obtained only through subscription or licensing agreements. These contractual arrangements include restrictions from the publishers as to how these electronic resources can be used and by whom. To insure compliance with these agreements, libraries limit access to these resources through some validation mechanism.

The bottom line is that some of the most valuable and timely information that libraries have to offer is on the Invisible Web and in fact is "gated." Users will not gain access to this material by searching on the Web at large, nor by using the tools mentioned above. It is incumbent upon users with privileges in a given library to seek out what that library has to offer electronically and what paths to that material are available.



The Author

Barbara F. Schloman, PhD, AHIP Assistant Dean, Library Information Services Libraries & Media Services
Kent State University Kent, OH 44242 E-mail Address: schloman@kent.edu

Keywords: Invisible Web, Internet, search engines




Bergman, M. K. (2001). The deep Web: Surfacing hidden value. Retrieved March 11, 2002, from http://beta.brightplanet.com/deepcontent/tutorials/DeepWeb/index.asp

Sherman, C., & Price, G. (2001). The invisible Web: Uncovering information sources search engines can't see. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Disclaimer: Mention of a Web site does not imply endorsement by the author, OJIN, or NursingWorld.



Learning On-Line vs. e-Learning?  Sakset fra www.masie.com  


I was struck by how an answer changes depending on how you phrase the question. I usually ask audiences at my keynote speeches about their experiences with e-Learning or On-Line Learning? When I ask how many people in the audience have recently taken an On-Line Course, the response is often between 20 and 30 percent.

One day, my tongue got a bit tied and I asked the question with a few changes. “How many of you have learned things on-line recently?”  Suddenly, almost 98% of the hands in the audience went up. I was shocked until I realized how I had fundamentally changed the question.

People are very aggressively using the internet as an active, informal and spontaneous learning and knowledge tool. So, when you ask about the TACIT LEARNING that is being done on-line, the percentages so SKY HIGH!

Ask your colleagues the same question. You will be amazed at the difference. So, part of our challenge is to define our arena in the broader sense of both FORMAL and TACIT learning programs. Taking a structured, beginning to end e-Learning program is likely to remain as small a percentage of yearly learning for a worker as the attendance in a formal classroom training session.


Don't Forget Humor in Learning! Sakset fra A TechLearn Essay By Elliott Masie

Every great classroom based class that I have attended has contained humor and laughter. I remember taking a class on Structured Programming, one of the least funny topics that I have ever encountered as a learner, yet the laughter was intense in that class:



The instructor told us some great war stories about failed projects  that made us laugh (and sometimes want to cry).


When one of us made a mistake, humor helped us get through the confusion and difficult content.


During the breaks, laughter filled the hallways, as an indicator of both our stress release and also of the fellowship that had been created in the classroom.


There was great teaching and awesome learning happening, on a tough topic, and our humanity created the laughter.

When I think about the instructional design for the class, I bet there was little mention of laughter in the designer's teacher notes. Yet, the teacher "ALLOWED" learning and it made all the difference in the world.  The trick in the classroom is to make sure that you don't SHUT OFF humor as a tool.

My colleague and friend, Joel Goodman, who directs The Humor Project, states that the word HAHA has the latin root of AHA. In other words, when things are true and we find common truths, we often laugh. A great speaker doesn't have to tell funny stories, they just have to connect with common truths that will bring out our humor response. Joel would also tell you about the wonderful physical effects of humor, including deeper breathing and stress reduction. So, the targeted use of humor in the culture of a classroom can be deeply effective.

It can even work at large conferences. At TechLearn, I use humor in the same vein. We tackle tough issues, wrap our arms around a crazy and changing field and the halls of the hotel in Orlando are filled with laughter. In fact, we even program humor into our schedule, from Dave Barry to the jugglers Raspyni, to leverage humor as a tool for learning and building community.

Yet, on-line, we often forget to the importance role of humor. I have been on a few of the driest ever virtual classroom sessions and I have slugged my way through on-line modules that are totally devoid of smiles, no less laughter.

One of our challenges is how to keep our e-Learning human and natural and not blocking the funny aspects of life. This is new stuff. We don't have a lot of experience about how to make that happen in our world... 
Here are a few ways to make sure that you are snuffing out the humor in your e-Learning offerings:


Maintain your humanity. Since the learner can't see you, it is even more important that they feel your acceptance and that you not shut down humor as it emerges. Being off task for a few minutes will not kill the content or the process.



Laugh at yourself as the e-Trainer. People don't want to learn from experts. They want to learn from real people who have great expertise.  Laugh at yourself along the way.



Sometimes e-Learning technology does not work the way we planned. Have a plan B, but also allow yourself to see the humor in the process. I have a picture that I often post when a video conference goes down that has me holding an Einstein stuffed animal. It breaks the tension of the moment.



Storytelling that is authentic will add natural humor the learning process. Don't overly script your content captures. I would rather do an interview of some experts, where I can bring the humor to the surface in a story, rather than rely on a script to recapture the funny bits.


Recipes as e-Learning Model Sakset fra *** Elliott Masie's TechLearn TRENDS *** 

Training, e-Learning and Collaboration Updates


Cooking brings out the learner in me!

Recently, I have taken up cooking as a result of a new ktichen that we

- I receive a list of ingredients, a step by step cooking process, some

- Most importantly, I have access to CONTEXT, which is reflected in the

- Hmmmmmmmmm! Sounds a lot like e-Learning to me.

And, someday there will be an attached device that would help with taste



QUALITY OF HEALTH INFORMATION ON THE WEB: WHERE ARE WE NOW? Writen by Schloman, Barbara. PhD, AHIP (December 16, 2002). Information Resources Column: "Quality of Health Information on the Web: Where Are We Now?" Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Available http://nursingworld.org/ojin/infocol/info_10.htm


The last Information Resources column on evaluating health resources, "Whom do you trust? Evaluating Internet health resources," was published in January 1999. Since then, there has been considerably more attention paid to the quality of health information on the Web. This is a review of some of the research on Web information quality, studies evaluating that research, third-party rating initiatives, and questions raised about the need to do anything. Educating health consumers to be critical in their choice of health information remains a key strategy—one that health professionals are well-positioned to advance.

Consumer Use of Health Information on the Web

There is strong evidence that consumers are actively seeking health information on the Web. The most detailed information comes from a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (May 22, 2002). The report focuses on user behavior—how users search for health information and what they choose to believe. Findings from this Pew study include:


The number of American adults going to the Web for health information in 2002 was 73 million, up from 52 million in November 2000.


The user group included more women than men (72% compared to 51%). 71% of those 50 to 64 years of age were "health seekers," compared with only 53% of those between 18 and 29. More education and more Internet experience were also predictors. The study did not find any differences between ethnic groups.


In a typical day, 6 million Americans seek health information on the Web--more than visit a health professional.


The health seekers surveyed did not have a search plan to find information and started with a search engine or directory, rather than a health Web site.


Only one-quarter was diligent in evaluating Web sites using accepted criteria (checking currency and source, validating findings).


Health seekers did report caution in using the information found to make decisions regarding health.


Of respondents, 61% reported the Internet has improved how they care for their health.

An earlier report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project published in 2000 found the Web was a highly popular source for health information because of its 24-hour availability, assumed anonymity for the health seeker, and abundance of information available. At that time, 30% reported they typically checked out four or more Web sites. While 82% indicated concern about obtaining unreliable information, 52% of those who used health sites believed that "almost all" or "most" information seen on the Internet was credible. Those under 40 years and with less formal education were more accepting of the legitimacy of the health information they retrieved. For this study, 70% indicated the information influenced their health decisions.


The Status of Quality of Health Information on the Web

What the research shows

There is a developing body of research dealing with the Internet as a vehicle for communicating health information. This includes studies centering on quality issues. Some of these have looked at the quality of Web sites on specific health topics and reported areas of concern. The studies published from 2000 to date include: breast cancer (Meric et al, 2002), cancer (Biermann, Golladay, Greenfield, & Baker, 1999), carpal tunnel syndrome (Beredjiklian, Bozentka, Steinberg, & Bernstein, 2000), depression (Griffiths & Christensen, 2000), melanoma (Bichakjian, Schwartz, Wang, Hall, Johnson, & Biermann, 2002), orthodonture (Jiang, 2000), and pharmaceutical company Websites (Griffiths, Christensen, & Evans, 2002).

Other studies analyzed what criteria relate to quality information. Fallis & Frické (2002) identified Web pages on treating fever in children and analyzed what indicators on those Web pages correlated with accuracy. Indicators with a demonstrated relationship were: displaying the Health on the Net Foundation logo (HONcode), having an organization domain (.org), and displaying copyright protection. Display of the HONcode logo was almost four times more likely to be displayed on a more accurate than on a less accurate site. Kunst, Groot, Latthe, Latthe, & Khan (2002) evaluated whether Web sites considered to be credible--because they met the criteria of identifying information source, indicating currency, and presenting hierarchy of evidence--did in fact provide accurate information. Their results found that sites likely to be judged credible based on these criteria correlated only slightly or at best moderately with accuracy.

Two other studies of particular interest looked at quality more from the user experience. Berland et al (2001) searched English- and Spanish-language search engines for information on four common health conditions. Given that health consumers rely on search engines to lead them to health information on a given topic, this study underscored problems with that approach. Findings showed that search engines were only "moderately efficient" in providing sites with relevant content on their first-page of results. These lead sites were then reviewed by expert panels to judge level of coverage and accuracy of content. They found only half of the topics deemed important for a given health issue were covered more than minimally, with even less coverage on the Spanish-language sites. Accuracy, where the text was completely correct for covered clinical elements, varied from 53% to 91% across topics and language of sites. In addition, conflicting information was found in over half of the English-language sites; no conflicts were identified in the Spanish-language sites.

Another user-centered study (Eysenbach & Köhler, 2002) used qualitative means to investigate health consumer Internet search techniques and the criteria used for assessing Web site credibility. Although participants displayed "suboptimal" search techniques, they were successful on average in finding needed answers to questions in less than six minutes. There was no correlation between Internet experience and search time. Focus group participants indicated the assessment criteria they used included: source, professional design, scientific or professional touch, and ease of use. However, the participants in the observational study made little use of source information. They did not probe for information about who was responsible for a site, nor in the post-search interviews could they identify the sites from which they had retrieved information. The authors concluded more work is needed to design both educational strategies and technological means to guide health consumers to quality information.

What the research about the research shows

Eysenbach, Powell, Kuss, & Sa (2002) examined empirical studies on quality of health Web sites. Their objectives included determining what criteria are used, assessing the methodological rigor of the studies, and suggesting future directions. 79 distinct studies were evaluated. The most frequently used quality criteria in these studies were accuracy, completeness, readability, design, disclosures, and provision of references. 70% of the studies determined that quality is a problem. As a group, these studies were lacking in the degree of rigor employed with their evaluation methodology. The authors concluded that research on Web quality would be strengthened by the development of operational definitions for quality criteria.

Two recent studies have explored whether health information on the Internet is linked to cases of harm for health consumers. Bessel, McDonald, Silagy, Anderson, Hiller, & Sansom (2002) identified ten studies that evaluated the use of the Internet to deliver health programs, interventions, and services as compared with other approaches and the influence on decision-making, attitudes, knowledge, satisfaction, health outcomes, and utilization. This study also concluded that there is a decided lack of rigorous research on the relationship between consumer use of health information on the Internet and health outcomes. They found some evidence to suggest that health consumers may in fact obtain needed information in a timely manner to achieve positive health outcomes.

Crocco, Villasis-Keever, & Jadad (2002) also systematically reviewed the literature to identify any reported cases of harm emanating from use of health information obtained on the Internet. They identified risks as due to use of irrelevant or inaccurate information or to the misunderstanding of relevant and valid information. Three articles met the study’s inclusion criteria. One article identified two cases of emotional distress resulting from inappropriate search strategies on the Internet that led to irrelevant information. Two articles reported physical harm. One was the result of a dog owner using erroneous information to treat his three dogs. All recovered following intensive care. The other article related to a man using an unregulated alternative for cancer therapy that is marketed on the Internet. The patient did die. The study authors suggest this relative dearth of reports of harm may be due to actual low risk, underreporting of cases, or bias.



Third-Party Efforts to Insure Quality

"Long-standing" Efforts

Several initiatives to improve quality on the Internet, both by recognizing quality and warning of fraud, have been in place for some time.


HON Code of Conduct (HONcode) http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/The Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct was launched in 1996 as a means to standardize requirements to establish the reliability and credibility of health information. "It is a self-regulatory, voluntary certification system based on an ‘active seal’ concept." To obtain certification, a Web site applies for registration. If accepted, the site agrees to abide by the HON principles and qualifies to display the HONcode seal. HON does random checks of sites to check for compliance, as well as relying on reports from the public.


Quackwatch: Your Guide to Health Fraud, Quackery, and Intelligent Decisions http://www.quackwatch.org/ The Quackwatch site was established in 1996. "Quackwatch, Inc., a member of Consumer Federation of America, is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, and fallacies. Its primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere." Using a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors, Quackwatch investigates questionable claims, reports illegal marketing, generates consumer-protection lawsuits, and undertakes research projects (e.g., alternative cancer treatment registry, dubious advertising, quackery for pets).


U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Operation Cure.All  http://www.ftc.gov/cureall "The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them." This site provides information on consumer issues and on how to file a complaint. To combat health fraud on the Internet, the FTC launched Operation Cure.All in 1999. It is an ongoing federal and state law enforcement and consumer education campaign.


More Recent Efforts

Risk (2001) provides a thorough review of the self-regulatory initiatives being undertaken in the English-speaking world. Each initiative promotes a set of criteria with the common elements of "honesty, privacy, confidentiality, accuracy, currency, disclosure, and accountability." Organizations implement their criteria through self-certification of adherence by participating Web sites, third-party certification, or tool-based evaluation. Some of the more recent efforts highlighted by Risk include:


eHealth Code of Ethics (http://ihealthcoalition.org): Developed in 2000 by the Internet Healthcare Coalition a not-for-profit organization. The Code provides ethical principles for the development of quality standards.


European Commission Quality Criteria for Health Related Websites (http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/ehealth/quality/): Begun in 2001, this effort relies on voluntary support of the quality criteria by member states of the European Commission.


Health Internet Ethics (http://www.hiethics.com): Hi-Ethics Inc. is a "not-for-profit consortium of U.S.-based commercial health Internet companies" that began in 2000. Commercial Web sites pay a membership fee and receive certification by following Hi-Ethics principles.


MedCERTAIN (http://www.medcertain.org): Demonstration project of the European Union begun in 2000. Participating Web sites follow metadata labeling protocols and receive a third-party rating and award of a trust mark.


URAC Health Web Site Accreditation Programme (http://www.urac.org/webbsiteaccreditation.htm): URAC was formerly the American Accreditation Healthcare Commission. It offers ten different accreditation programs for managed care organizations and began the program for health Web site accreditation in 2001. URAC accreditation of health Web site organizations includes a fee-based application process with a review to insure the Web site meets quality standards.



Problems with Third-Party Quality Ratings

These various rating systems have limitations as to how effective they can really be. As Risk (2001) suggests, for programs to be meaningful health consumers need to be aware of the quality issues, relate to rating systems, and understand their meaning. Web site providers must commit to implementing and maintaining quality standards. The rating organizations themselves are vulnerable because of the resources required to sustain their programs. Also, the quality ratings have no enforcement power. Losing accreditation would be a modest sanction for any Web site and would not necessarily impede its ongoing existence. Finally, given the voluntary nature of these programs and the number and variety of health sites on the Internet, it is difficult to imagine any of the rating systems taking hold and establishing a pervasive presence.

Several authors have challenged the legitimacy of rating systems. Gagliardi and Jadad (2002) updated a study first done in 1998 (Jadad & Gagliardi) that analyzed the extent to which developers of rating systems had addressed issues of reliability and validity. Both studies found that most systems provided no information on how their evaluation criteria were determined. Of the few that did, there was no evidence that the instruments were validated. Many of the rating organizations in place in 1998 no longer existed by 2002, although health Web sites continued to display their seal. These authors raise the questions of the sustainability of these rating schemas and whether it is feasible to assess quality of health information lacking a gold standard for what defines that construct.


Rating Systems the Way to Go?

Possibly one of the most thought-provoking questions comes from Eysenbach, Powell, Kuss, & Sa (2002) who question whether the Internet really poses problems with regard to accuracy of health information that are unique from other media and that warrant special surveillance. They cite a variety of studies that identify inaccurate or incomplete information in broadcast and print media and suggest that the quality of information on the Internet should be interpreted in the larger context of health information provided through all channels. Delamothe (2000) also questioned the feasibility of trying to assure quality on the Internet, as well as whether such quality control efforts are really needed. He maintains that people will gravitate to those sites that give them what they want and that market forces and "brand loyalty" will do a great deal to overcome any problems.



So after several more years of experience with health information on the Web, what do we know? First, it is clear that more people are becoming regular users of the Web and that health information is a very common target of their searching. Although these health information seekers often do not use preferred searching protocols or evaluation methods, they seemingly are applying a measure of caution in using the information identified. Although the research on Web health information quality has identified inaccuracies and incompleteness, that same body of research has been criticized for its lack of methodological rigor. And in fact there is no significant documented evidence of harm arising from health information provided on the Web.

Nonetheless, efforts to identify quality Web sites continue, but are not without their problems. Third-party rating systems have been difficult to sustain and have gained only a modest acceptance among health sites. Research scrutinizing these has found that the evaluation instruments used by these rating organizations have not been validated, calling into question the legitimacy of the standard applied. Finally, we are faced with the question as to whether problems with health information on the Web are really so different from those presented in print or broadcast media and necessitate extraordinary efforts.

At this moment in time, we are still experiencing tremendous growth and flux with the Internet as a medium for health information. Because of the vastness of this information landscape and the immediacy of access to it—both for creators and users--a strong argument can be made that it is different from other communication media. Its potential for influencing the decisions consumers make regarding their health make the issue of quality important to pursue.

In another four years’ time, we can imagine more efforts to identify quality sites—either by more finely developed rating systems or through the use of Web software tools—will have surfaced. In the meantime, health professionals are positioned to play an important role in educating their clients to be critical users of the information they find on the Web. These guidelines still apply:

  1. Who created the site?

    Authority, credentials, institutional affiliation

  2. Is the purpose and intention of the site clear, including any bias or particular viewpoint?

    Intended audience, purpose/scope, disclosure of sponsorship or underwriting, privacy statement

  3. Is the information presented accurate?

    Facts documented and comparable with other sources; links to quality sites

  4. Is the information current?

    Pages date-stamped, other evidence of updating

  5. Is the site well-designed and stable?

    Logical organization, easy to maneuver, identifiable link to organizational home page, reliably accessible

Also, remember the value of recommending a user start with a health Web directory that has links chosen for their credibility and usefulness, rather than with a generic search engine. Examples of such Web directories would be Healthfinder (http://www.healthfinder.gov) and MEDLINEplus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/).

Let’s see what the next four years bring!


Barbara F. Schloman, PhD, AHIP
Assistant Dean, Library Information Services Libraries & Media Services Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242 E-mail Address: schloman@kent.edu


Keywords: World Wide Web, Internet, quality, evaluation criteria, health information




Beredjiklian, P. K., Bozentka, D. J., Steinberg, D. R., & Bernstein, J. (2000). Evaluating the source and content of orthopedic information on the Internet: The case of carpal tunnel syndrome [Electronic version]. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery American Volume, 82-A, 1540-1543.

Berland, G. K., Elliott, M. N., Morales, L. S., Algazy, J. I., Kravitz, R. L., Broder, M. S., et al. (2001). Health information on the Internet: Accessibility, quality, and readability in English and Spanish [Electronic version]. JAMA, 285, 2612-2621.

Bessell, T. L., McDonald, S., Silagy, C. A., Anderson, J. N., Hiller, J. E., & Sansom, L. N. (2002). Do Internet interventions for consumers cause more harm than good? A systematic review [Electronic version]. Health Expectations, 5, 28-37.

Bichakjian, C. K., Schwartz, J. L., Wang, T. S., Hall, J. M., Johnson, T. M., & Biermann, J. S. (2002). Melanoma information on the Internet: Often incomplete--a public health opportunity? Journal of Clinical Oncology, 201, 134-141.

Biermann, J. S., Golladay, G. J., Greenfield, M. L., & Baker, L. H. (1999). Evaluation of cancer information on the Internet. Cancer, 86, 381-390.

Crocco, A. G., Villasis-Keever, M., & Jadad, A. R. (2002). Analysis of cases of harm associated with use of health information on the Internet [Electronic version]. JAMA, 287, 2869-2871.

Delamothe, T. (2000). Quality of websites: Kitemarking the west wind [Electronic version]. BMJ, 321, 843-844.

Eysenbach, G., & Köhler, C. (2002). How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? Qualitative study using focus groups, usability tests, and in-depth interviews [Electronic version]. BMJ, 324, 573-577.

Eysenbach, G., Powell, J., Kuss, O., & Sa, E. (2002). Empirical studies assessing the quality of health information for consumers on the World Wide Web [Electronic version]. JAMA, 287, 2691-2700.

Fallis, D., & Frické, M. (2002). Indicators of accuracy of consumer health information on the Internet: A study of indicators relating to information for managing fever in children in the home. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 9, 73-79.

Gagliardi, A., & Jadad, A. R. (2002). Examination of instruments used to rate quality of health information on the internet: Chronicle of a voyage with an unclear destination [Electronic version]. BMJ, 324, 569-573.

Griffiths, K. M., & Christensen, H. (2000). Quality of web based information on treatment of depression: Cross sectional survey [Electronic version]. BMJ, 321, 1511-1515.

Griffiths, K. M., Christensen, H., & Evans, K. (2002). Pharmaceutical company Websites as sources of information for consumers: How appropriate and informative are they [Electronic version]? Disease Management & Health Outcomes, 10, 205-214.

Jadad, A. R., & Gagliardi, A. (1998). Rating health information on the internet: Navigating to knowledge or to Babel [Electronic version]? JAMA, 279, 611-614.

Jiang, Y. L. (2000). Quality evaluation of orthodontic information on the World Wide Web. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 118, 4-9.

Kunst, H., Groot, D., Latthe, P. M., Latthe, M., & Khan, K. S. (2002). Accuracy of information on apparently credible websites: Survey of five common health topics [Electronic version]. BMJ, 324, 581-582.

Meric, F., Bernstam, E. V., Mirza, N. Q., Hunt, K. K., Ames, F. C., Ross, M. I., et al. (2002). Breast cancer on the world wide web: Cross sectional survey of quality of information and popularity of Web sites [Electronic version]. BMJ, 324, 577-81.

Pew Internet & American Life Project (November 26, 2000). The online health care revolution: How the Web helps Americans take better care of themselves. Retrieved November 20, 2002, from Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site: http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/toc.asp?Report=26

Pew Internet & American Life Project (May 22, 2002). How Internet users decide what information to trust when they or their loved ones are sick. Retrieved November 20, 2002, from Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site: http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/toc.asp?Report=59

Risk, A., & Dzenowagis, J. (2001). Review of Internet information quality initiatives. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3(4), e-28. Retrieved November 21, 2002, from http://www.jmir.org/2000/4/e28/



Disclaimer: Mention of a Web site does not imply endorsement by the author, OJIN, or NursingWorld. Every effort is made to insure currency of Web links at time of publication only.

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Article published December 16, 2002



An In-Depth Interview with The Classroom  Sakset fra TechLearn Trends. Published by The MASIE Center, Inc.


Recently, I had the opportunity to interview one of the least talked about players in the world of learning, The Classroom. We caught up with the Classroom at the end of the day at one of the nation’s leading corporate training centers:


Elliott Masie: Let’s get right to the question on most of our reader’s minds? Are you retired or are you still in the training business?

The Classroom: Well, to paraphrase a common line… News of my demise is greatly exaggerated! I’m still in great demand. My gigs continue to range from new hire orientation, to leadership training, to computer applications sessions to senior executive sessions. Actually, I’ve never been busier. Rumor has it; they’re going to build a few more of me in the near future.


Elliott Masie: So, why are you so rarely talked about in the training

The Classroom: Gosh, perhaps if I had a media relations firm, folks might


Elliott Masie: We are surprised to hear you refer to e-Learning as your friend. Isn’t e-Learning’s objective to make you less necessary?

The Classroom: Some people see us as opponents. But, actually the two of us work together fairly well (in what you might call Blended Learning). And, we actually have very different roles. We each serve different audiences, learning objectives and even business drivers. It’s funny, no one sees the telephone as a threat to the face-to-face conversation.  Those cousins fit together fine in people’s minds. Once again, I guess it is because e-Learning is the newer approach with more HYPE.


Elliott Masie: Say some more about what types of activities you do better than your cousin, e-Learning?

The Classroom: So you are still trying to have us compete [laughter]? I

- Learning which requires a retreat and isolation from the daily demands

- Learning in the Socratic style. A great classroom teacher can extract

- Working as Teams on Problem Solving. This is ideal as part of a Blended

- Teaching Physical Skills or Highly Interpersonal Skills. I shine when

- Social Bonding! A portion of corporate training is really about

- When technology or authoring resources aren’t available. Face it, sometimes it would be great to use e-Learning, but the resources just aren’t there to author, host or deliver on-line. In the same way e-Learning sometimes gets used just because it is more available from a cost or resource perspective.


Elliott Masie: So, have you changed much in the last ten years?

The Classroom: You bring up a bit of a sore point! For the most part, I

Elliott Masie: Why don’t you like the LCD Projector?

The Classroom: Because people come to my space in order to be interactive


Elliott Masie: OK, so, what changes would you make if you could?

The Classroom: Well, why do we only think of e-Learning as it applies to

* Invest in some technology to bring images from a range of places,

* Have small microphones around the room to make it easy and non-eventful

* Add video cameras that would tape the class and map it into an agenda,

* Add some voice recognition software, so that a rough transcript of the

* Develop decision support technology, so that learners could have input

* Laptop and wireless connectivity! Sometimes we should give high levels

* And, one of my pet peeves. Give me some new paint and better chairs 


Elliott Masie: You seem to be on a roll? Why do you feel so neglected?

The Classroom: Because, most organizations haven’t spent as little as an hour in recent years to improve ME! Why can’t they have a Classroom Learning Strategy document? They spew out e-Learning Strategies at the drop of a hat. Yet, I rarely see my name mentioned in these documents. But, I am the prime delivery agent for training in most corporations. You’d think that I deserve at least a chapter or a few pages.


Elliott Masie: What would be some items in a Classroom Learning Strategy?

The Classroom: Well, to name a few:

* Mission: What is my mission? Why have classrooms and what do we serve?

* Metrics of Success: What would success look like? Is it the number of

* Appropriateness of Use: When is the use of classroom most appropriate?

* Changes in Footprint: How can organizations start to have shorter

* Skills for Trainers: There has been a drop in recent years in the

classroom, don’t blame it on the classroom! 


Elliott Masie: What about you and food? Why is it that there is so much focus on the use of doughnuts and coffee in the classroom? Is there a change afoot in how people are fed in your space?

The Classroom: Well, remember learning is a physical and mental process. People often get ready to learn through the use of coffee and doughnuts. In fact, when the donuts aren’t available or the food is of poor quality, you watch the evaluation ratings drop! But, if you ask me we could add some healthy alternatives, including fruit to the mix. I hate the blood sugar drop that happens 75 minutes after a Krispy Crème hits the stomach.


Elliott Masie: If there is a slight to major reduction in your usage, what are some alternatives? Have you thought about retooling yourself or looking for a new career?

The Classroom: If you think of my space as a knowledge and collaboration

- Knowledge Capture: Add a small video camera and some chroma-key blue

- Self-Study Center: If you have some PC’s in my space, they can be used for self-study as well as group instruction. Most manufacturing companies are using me as a site for their workers to take e-Learning, since they don’t have PC’s in a quiet area on the shop floor.

- Target Libraries: There are fewer and fewer companies that have

- Downsize Me, Gladly: Break up some classrooms into smaller coaching and


Elliott Masie: One final question and this is slightly personal. What would you like people to think about when they hear your name?

The Classroom: Think of the best teachers you had growing up, think of


(Reactions or comments to Elliott Masie  emasie@masie.com)  



Content Management NY  Sakset fra http://guide.darwinmag.com/technology/web/content/



Websites often bear an unfortunate resemblance to the Balkans—no one likes how the turf has been divided, and firefights may erupt at any moment. Marketing has one ax to grind, engineering has another, and that self-styled Web expert with a "C" title has yet another.

Deploy a content management system (CMS) and stay as far away from the melee as possible. As you may know, a CMS stores content in a database separately from the templates that control its appearance, so content can be updated or reused in various contexts without anyone touching the HTML. The practical result? Self-service: HR can post its own job descriptions rather than blame IT when the CFO asks why the controller position isn't on the site. And if product information isn't up to date—hey, it's not IS's fault, talk to marketing.

The range of CMS solutions is boggling. Big sites with thousands of dynamic pages may need an industrial-strength CMS such as Broadvision One-to-One Publishing, Interwoven TeamSite or Vignette V/5, each of which costs a couple hundred thousand dollars and should be deployed only with the help of a system integrator. On the other hand, with modest, brochure-like sites, you (or a contractor) can build a primitive CMS with browser-based forms, one for each template, on top of Microsoft SiteServer or even Allaire's ColdFusion.


A few issues to ponder when selecting a CMS:

Workflow and scheduling. Large organizations need a CMS that sends automatically triggered e-mails to everyone who needs to see a document before it posts. A CMS should also let back-end users choose the posting date and time in advance—or IS staff members will eventually end up posting stuff in the wee hours of the night.

Database compatibility. The whole point of the Web is to leverage your existing data and use it to sell the company along with its products or services. Don't accept any solution that demands you restructure existing databases to make it easier for a CMS to handle the data.

Multilevel security. Generally, one person per department should have the clearance to post content to a staging server. In all cases, the authority to actually post content to the live site should rest with one or two people.

Syndication and personalization. To distribute content around the Web, you'll need a CMS that maps content objects to XML data types. And if your site will deliver custom pages based on user preferences, you'll need a CMS that breaks documents down to a granular level so that only relevant material gets served.

Offline integration. If your company produces lots of print material, you may be a candidate for a system that integrates offline and online publishing. Both Openpages' ContentWare and Worldweb.net's Expressroom I/O hook into QuarkXPress so that master documents can ensure consistent offline and online content.

Remember that no content area of a site is too small for a CMS solution. Reliability, availability and security are your business. The content is all theirs—and they're welcome to it.


The technology industry is a lot like high school. It's full of cliques and it's highly susceptible to trends. When a new tool catches people's attention, it gets to hang out with the popular crowd and bask in the newfound glory, though eventually the buzz dies down and another hot technology comes along.

But for now, Web content management (CM) is that cool tool. The attraction is obvious: IT managers would love a simple way to control the thousands of pages on their websites. Unfortunately, finding tools that claim to handle content management is far easier than getting a clear definition of what CM should actually do. Ideally, Web content management should be the process of tracking and managing a document end-to-end, from creation to copyediting to Web posting and, finally, to the archive. Better tools also provide more than just tracking; they offer collaborative authoring so that a group can work on a document in an efficient manner that avoids hazards such as the game of "who's got the latest version?"

Confusion aside, there's no denying that content management is huge. The CM market will grow from $3.5 billion in 2001 to $7 billion by 2006, says Ovum, a U.K.-based consultancy. That growth potential attracted hoards of potential players, but now the industry faces a shakeout. When the economy changed from bull to bear, the bevy of small vendors offering content management tools decreased.

There are specific features that a true content management tool must have to fit the definition, Wilkoff says. These include strong repository management for storing meta-data (such as indexes and fields) and managing users' interactions with the stored content through library services and workflows and delegated administrative capabilities for distributing and managing roles and responsibilities across business units. The core of a content management tool is the workflow process. When a user creates a document, it goes from the author to the editor to the Web developer. The workflow function follows the document through this process to ensure the content is accurate, reviewed and ready to be formatted and published.

The definition of content management remains a running target—one that isn't likely to slow down anytime soon. Giga's Moore sees the field moving toward enterprise content management, which would encompass document imaging systems, rich media, Web content and software configuration management. But as the number of electronic documents continues to explode, content management by any description will become an increasingly important IT tool.


Content rating: Labels that identify files’ contents so that filters can prevent certain types of content from being accessed.

Intellectual capital: The knowledge assets that a company owns, including information in company databases as well as what individual employees know.

Hot Questions

Martyn Christian, senior vice president, Worldwide Applications and Corporate Marketing, for Costa Mesa, Calif. based FileNET Corp. answered questions about content management.

What are the benefits of a content management system and how do we implement one successfully?
To clarify, the phrase "content management" has various definitions depending on what an organization may need or a vendor may offer. There is no general purpose or standard content management system that can satisfy today's diverse business needs across the board. Therefore, factors for successfully implementing a content management system vary depending on individual business needs.

One of the keys to implementing a successful content management system is conducting a thorough assessment of an organization's specific business application or processes prior to installation. This could be handling customer correspondence documents, online insurance claims processing, accounts payables processing, or other business processes specific to your business. Once that has been accomplished, it's a matter of choosing the right vendor that offers technology specific to your industry that clearly addresses your business requirements.

Ultimately, a successful implementation must deliver business benefits. We've provided enterprise content management solutions for many organizations in different industries, and they have identified the primary benefits that they claim make their content management systems successful:

Improved business efficiency
Reduced operating costs
Accelerated exception handling
Expanded product/service offerings
Reduced operating risks

By making an informed assessment and implementing solutions that target your business needs, organizations can realize increased productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability with a content management system.

Are there any Web content management tools that a small-budget organization can afford?
There are several ways to evaluate the cost of a content management system. The actual cost of implementing a system is one perspective. Organizations must also evaluate the cost of not having a system in place. Ask yourself the following questions:

What are the costs associated with your content being unavailable - either through the Web site, or from your primary content storage systems?
What is the risk of having inaccurate content on your Web site?
What are the possible repercussions to your organization?
How much does the insurance for that risk cost?
How do you recover and replace inaccurate content when your Webmaster is unavailable?

All of the above issues are handled in a very cost-effective manner through an enterprise content management software offering, and they do provide real, tangible value. Although the initial costs may seem high, they are quickly realized as very reasonable when the entire business picture is considered.

Today, publishing to a Web site is no longer a manual process requiring HTML editing. There are t available - from our company and others - that completely automate the conversion of Microsoft Office documents into HTML, and publish them onto a fully operational Web site with all the robust staging and production tools you'd expect. This means that your staff or content authors can use tools that they know without knowing HTML, and your Webmaster can focus on the presentation of the content (layout, etc.).

In summary, your decision is a matter of realizing all the business benefits that your organization stands to gain versus the cost of a content management system itself.


Content Management sales to hit $3 billion by 2004
Sales of content management software will total $3 billion by 2004, up from $900 million in sales during 2000. This shows a projected compounded annual growth rate of 35%.
April 19, 2001 - The Yankee Group

Learn More

Looking Into Content Management?. http://www.darwinmag.com/read/050103/cms.html  Before you sink $1.5 million into a content management system you'll scrap a year later (don't laugh: one company did), do your planning and needs assessment first. Darwin - May 2003

CMSWatch: http://www.cmswatch.com/  A content management systems portal — information, news, analysis and more.

Content Management System Evaluation: http://www.atnf.csiro.au/computing/web/cms_eval.html  A case study evaluation of content management systems conducted by the Australia Telescope National Facility.

CMS-List: http://cms.filsa.net/  A mailing list for developers to exchange information on content management ideas, technology and products.

Software: Content Management Systems: http://www.pcmag.com/category/0,2999,s%253D1619,00.asp  Several in-depth content management system reviews from PC World Magazine.

Product Review: Content-Management Solutions: http://www.varbusiness.com/Components/Search/Article.asp?ArticleID=29295  VARBusiness offers this comparison of leading content management solutions.

Open Directory: Content Management: http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Internet/Site_Management/Content_Management/  A directory listing containing hundreds of content management providers by DMOZ.org.

Choosing a Publishing System: http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/99/33/index4a.html?tw=e-business  As Web sites grow, content management systems have become necessary to tame the glut of information. Learn how to choose the best publishing system for your business needs.

For information on sources, further resources about Content Management, and comments or suggestions, please see the bibliography.

2000-2003 CXO Media Inc. May 16, 2003





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Copyright © 2008 rk
Oprettet den 07.august 2008
Opdateret 07-08-08