As discussed in Session 2 Content, web links are a valuable source of supplemental materials for online learning. As a student in an online course, I find the web links to be a highlight of the online learning experience. The following lists a few of the pros and cons of utilizing a web link as supplemental material:
- Adds Context: The web provides an opportunity to give the subject matter additional context.
- "Infinite" information source: Links thread learners to places well beyond the original link.
- Learning Community: An amazing aspect of the internet is that nearly all topics are explored and discussed by someone / somewhere. It is almost always possible to find and join and "community" that is interested in the same topic.
- Varied perspectives: The web provides a multitude of perspectives beyond the interpretation provided by the facilitator.
- Dead links: An obvious problem that can occur as hosted web pages are moved, deleted or amended can cause frustration and lack of confidence in the facilitator's credibility.
- Information Overload: The vast amount of information on the internet can be overwhelming to someone just learning about a topic. This makes it necessary for the "suggested" list of links to be well edited.
- Lose track of intended learning material: One thing leads to another and before long you aren't reading a topic that has anything to do with the original link.
- Questionable quality of content: There is no guarantee of content accuracy or quality on most web sites or blogs. This puts additional burden on the facilitator to chose the most "credible" sites.