Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Google Power Searching

I've been participating in the Power Searching with Google MOOC (July 10 - July 19) run by Dan M. Russell. I'm glad I decided to do it. (I see a few other librarian names I recognize in the Forums) Most of the material is a refresher for me, but I'm picking up some tips - and a few things that I ought to practice. Google Image Search? I couldn't figure out the challenge question even after knowing the answer and trying to reverse engineer it. About the course itself: One problem that's emerged is that Russell is teaching a few things that haven't been rolled out worldwide yet and there's a global audience for the course. It's not always clear what's brand new. "We changed that a couple of weeks ago" would be helpful! From the Forum postings: there seem to be a few problems for anyone not using Chrome as their browser(?). I don't remember any initial suggestion that using Chrome is a good idea. The relatively new "Knowledge Graph" is one of the things that caused some users' problems. Some students are already clamoring for more power search tips.


Jonathan Rees' More or Less Bunk blog http://moreorlessbunk.wordpress.com/ is interesting reading. He has logged some objections to MOOCs - but doesn't seem to have tried participating in any. He worries about the state of the work life of faculty in higher ed as the liberal arts are attacked, colleges hire more adjuncts, and online learning becomes the rage. I think he's right to be concerned, but I keep thinking that he ought to do more exploring. He ought to be reading Tony Bates' blog where he's been posting about developing quality online courses. He ought to be looking at the research about online learning. He ought to be exploring what's been happening in distance education beyond the latest ( Udacity, Coursera, MITx, EDx, etc. ). Distance learning has a very long history. He ought to be thinking about learners who are not in a position to pursue a traditional four-year undergraduate degree. We need options for students - AND we need a decent work life for faculty and staff no matter what the delivery method. I hope Dr. Rees will help us think it through.