Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research

Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research

 

Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information.  The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments.  Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research.  However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature.  It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.

Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content.  This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses.  Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet.  This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc.  These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.

According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:

  • Problem: Students value immediacy over quality – Students use sites like Wikipedia to find quick answers.  Wikipedia may offer some valuable resources at the bottom of their site to support the content. Solution:  These sources are usually available through the school’s library search feature.  Schools’ search engines are quite easy to use. They access some of the best material available for free.  Students can easily mark a box for peer-reviewed studies.  This will ensure that their research contains quality information.
  • Problem:  Students often use cheat sites – Students may find sites that offer to write their papers for a fee.  Most of these papers are captured within Turnitin’s plagiarism detecting software. Therefore when students buy the paper and submit as their own, the software will detect it as plagiarized.  Solution:  The time it takes to find and buy a paper on the Internet could have been used to simply write an original paper.  Nothing is gained from submitted plagiarized work.  Students risk getting expelled.  Most assignments are not that long or difficult.  The point of writing them is to gain knowledge.  Students who attend school just to obtain a piece of paper will not be prepared for the working world.  They will spend money on a degree that will not help them if they have not learned the information.
  • Problem:  Research is not synonymous with search – Students may put a lot of faith in the information found on the Internet.  Just because a site allows people to ask and answer questions, does not mean that the answers are correct. Searching for answers on the Internet does not mean that the answers are based on actual research.  Solution:  Using peer-reviewed sources that are available through the school’s library ensures that the information in the article has been reviewed by the author’s peers.  These studies are actual research.

There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites.  If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times.  If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.

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QR Code: Why You Should Be Using It to Promote You, Your Business and Products

QR Code or Quick Response Code is a two-dimension matrix code developed in the mid 90’s in Japan.  Businesses are drawn to it because it offers an improvement over barcodes.  Wisegeek explains, “QR Code contains data in both vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a bar code has only one direction of data, usually the vertical one. QR Code can also correspondingly hold more information. QR Code is easily digested by scanning equipment, and because it has potentially twice the amount of data as bar code, it can increase the effectiveness of such scanning. QR Code can handle alphanumeric character, symbol, binary, and other kinds of code. QR Code can hold up to 7,089 characters in a single symbol. ”

QR Code has become increasingly popular with the use of cell phones.  I recommend checking out an article by Searchengineland.com to see some video demonstrations.  A code can easily be generated on sites like Kaywa.com.  If you are wondering if search engines like Google will be able to recognize them, “If you add them to your website, the search engines will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly index the content in them.”

There are several recommended uses for the QR Code but one that I found to be interesting was that you could add one to your business card.  People would then be able to scan your information directly into their cell phone contact database.

Some other recommended uses may be to add them to media ads.  This simple little code could communicate product, contact, offer, and event information as well as coupons and social media links.

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What is Blekko? Can the SlashTag Search Engine Compete With Google?

 

Blekko promises user-friendly search experience 

image via bigmouthmedia.com

 

Blekko has been in development since 2007, but it has only recently become available to the public. Blekko is a search engine that has its sights on Google’s business. To do this, they are focusing on what they can do differently.

The New York Times reported, “Rich Skrenta, Blekko’s co-founder and chief executive, says that since Google started, the Web has been overrun by unhelpful sites full of links and keywords that push them to the top of Google’s search results but offer little relevant information. Blekko aims to show search results from only useful, trustworthy sites.”

Out of curiosity, I ran Alexa web statistics on Blekko to see how they were doing. Over the last 30 days, their website traffic has increased 12.7%.  Alexa also had the following to report on Blekko, “Blekko.com’s three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 21,705. Search engines refer roughly 11% of visits to the site. The time spent in a typical visit to this site is about four minutes, with 43 seconds spent on each pageview. The site is located in the US. Compared with the overall internet population, Blekko.com appeals more to men; its audience also tends to consist of childless people earning over $60,000 who browse from work and school and have postgraduate educations.”

Blekko uses slashtags to help you get more accurate results. Some are calling Blekko the slashtag search engine because of it. If you are not familiar with slashtags, searchenglineland explains them: “Slashtags are a way that anyone can make a “vertical” search engine around any topic. For those not familiar with the term, a vertical search engine is one that lets you search in a specific area of interest, rather than across the “horizontal” spectrum of all interests. Google is a “horizontal” search engine that lets you search for anything. Google News, in contrast, lets you drill into one slice of interest, news content.”

Think of slashtags as something like this:  drdianehamilton/books.  By doing this search, it pulled up more specific information about my writing.  It can be helpful to make the search more specific.

Why the name Blekko?  Co-founder, Mr. Skrenta, used to refer to his personal computer in college by that name. 

For more information about Blekko, check out the following link from WJS.com.

If you would like to know what Blekko has to offer, check out the following video:

Google Search Tips: Using Google’s Lesser Known Functions for Research

With the popularity of Google, odds are you have probably tried using their search engine a time or two.  However, many people are unaware of how to refine their searches using Google’s lesser-known functions. 

  • To find information about a specific website, try inputting something like:  “info:drdianehamilton.com” – be sure you type in the parentheses.
  • Utilize the asterisk function.  For example:  “Facebook * millennials” will give you results with only those words.  If you just searched by “Facebook” and “millennials” you may have words between the two in your results.
  • Google does not recognize short words such as the, a, and, it . . . Nor is it case sensitive. However it does differentiate between singular and plural as i the case of “millennial” or “millennials”.

If you are interested in some other search-related tools offered by Google check out the following sites:

If You Aren’t Using Video to Promote You or Your Product, You Need To Read This

Image via seeklogo.com

Cisco recently stated that 40% of all Internet traffic will be video in nature by the end of 2010. They increased that forecast to 91% by the end of 2014.  Are you using video?  I recommend checking out the forecasts that Cisco has made for visual networking by clicking here.  

Videos can be an effective way to capture your prospective customer’s attention.  I wrote about the importance of self-promotion in my book, How to Reinvent Your Career.  A big part of self-promotion is using video.  In a recent radio interview, I discussed some tactics to using video to promote your products and services.  Click here, to listen to the broadcast. 

Compukol.com recommended the following tips to help you with your video marketing:

  • Short videos: Make sure that your videos (whether you post them on your own website or a website like YouTube) are no more than 5 or 6 minutes long. If you have a video topic that you feel needs to be expanded way beyond the 5 or 6 minutes, it is a good idea to do a series of videos to cover the entire topic. People will be more inclined to watch and will really get a lot out of your videos if you feed them to your audience in small doses.
  • Sales pages: It is sensible to post your videos on your sales pages and to take that opportunity to discuss your products and their benefits or some business opportunity that you are offering to others. The video is helpful in making your potential customers comfortable and the points that you make in your video about your products are reinforced about your sales letter.
  • Key words: Search engines pay a great deal of attention to videos. When the search engines are looking at content and figuring out how to rank the various websites and their content, it is essential to do everything possible to make sure that your website appears as high as possible in the search engine rankings. You should do research to make sure that the keywords that you use in your content is optimum. You should choose keywords that will attract the kinds of leads and traffic that you want to pay attention to you and your business. Try to find out what your target audience is interested in and what they are looking for. Make sure that you include your keywords in headings, tags and resource boxes.
  • Clear structure and purpose: By using the appropriate keywords, you are ensuring that your video will be targeted properly. You need to make sure that your video answers the questions that your audience is thinking about when they start searching for answers. You need to make your communication and your content as clear as possible at all times.

I think you can even make your videos shorter than 5 to 6 minutes.  I have found that people prefer less than 3 to 4 minute videos.  I also think it is extremely important to include a landing page website address on your video.  You must be able to draw your customers to your site.  If you have a landing page where they can sign up for a free newsletter, that is one really effective way to build a customer base.

If you want more tips about how to make an effective video, click on the rest of the Compukol.com article by clicking here

In my conversation in yesterday’s interview, we discussed how simple and inexpensive it can be to create a video.  If you have a flip camera or video camera, you are well on your way.  A video does not have to be elaborately produced to be effective. 

Check out instructions from Youtube about how to make as well as optimize your video by clicking here.  For more general information about lighting, sound, etc. click here.

Are You Using Wooeb’s Interactive Search Engine Platform?

If you haven’t heard of Wooeb.com yet, you need to check out their site.  Wooeb is an interactive search engine platform.  Rather than having to wait for search engines to pick up your information, they put it all together in one place. 

They did a nice job with with creating ads and banners.  This is an example of an ad they can create for you on their site.  You can also click on it to find out more about my book:  How to Reinvent Your Career.

They also offer press releases that you can incorporate on your wooeb site.  To see my site, go to: http://wooeb.com/drdianehamilton

Check out an article about the Top 5 Reasons Wooeb Boosts Your Online Presence by clicking here.  In that article they list the following benefits of using Wooeb:

1.  Everything is in one place

2.  You own your URL

3.  It is accessible to everyone

4.  Wooeb indexes search engines

5.  Messages boards are included to discuss topics with others

Search Engine War: AOL, Google, Yahoo, and Bing

I use AOL and I am a big fan of Google.  If you use AOL, you may have noticed the search screen says:  AOL Search Enhanced by Google. 

AOL and Google have a continuing relationship that they have extended for another 5 years.  Part of that relationship includes: 

  1. Google provides AOL with additional features and enhancements to improve their search function.
  2. Google provides AOL with ad formats.
  3. AOL and Google work together to focus on mobile apps.
  4. This relationship allows AOL to have a content partnership with YouTube
  5. This relationship improves the international scope of AOL’s audience.

I was curious to see if there was a big difference between the results by searching within AOL vs. going to Google to search. AOL included a few local addresses at the beginning but otherwise the results were similar.

I have to admit I don’t use Yahoo and Bing very often.  I noticed when searching for my press releases, that Yahoo and Bing do not pick up the information nearly as well as Google and AOL do.  However, I am interested to see if their future relationship may change things.  Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article about how Bing and Yahoo were going to join forces.  Google may have some competition with that.  WSJ stated, “With the integration of Yahoo’s and Microsoft’s search businesses now well advanced—Yahoo searches are using Microsoft’s Bing engine and its search ads will increasingly go through Microsoft’s adCenter platform—the duo have a better chance to take on Google.”  Google is hardly hurting though, “Digital-marketing firm SearchIgnite estimates Google’s share of U.S. ad spending rose nearly two percentage points to 80.2% in the third quarter, with Yahoo dropping two points to 13.4%. Bing had 6.4%.”

The search engine war and capturing unique visitors continues to be big business.  Check out the following chart to see how the search engines and social networking sites compare in terms of revenue per unique visitors:

chart of the day, revenue per unique visitor, google, aol, twitter, facebook

What is Web Scraping?

A scraper site is a spam website that copies all of its content from other websites using web scraping. The purpose of creating such a site can be to collect advertising revenue or to manipulate search engine rankings by linking to other sites to improve their search engine ranking. 

There are now some sites that are working on finding out even more information about you through scraping.

Scraping for Your Real Name

PeekYou.com has applied for a patent for a way to, among other things, match people’s real names to pseudonyms they use on blogs, Twitter and online forums.

Read PeekYou.com’s patent application.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, they wrote about how scrapers broke into sites like PatientsLikeMe to find out information about patients to sell data about consumers to drug makers. To read this very interesting article, click here.

It is disturbing to think that people are in medial chatrooms pretending to be patients in order to find out what drugs are being prescribed.  That kind woman you are chatting with about your hot flashes just may be a guy keeping track of your medical history.  For information on how to remove some of your personal details from the Internet, check out wsj.com/wtk.

Book for Online College Students is Now Available on Kindle

The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online Student is now available on Kindle.  Click here for more information.

The Online Student User’s Manual will show you —

  • what you need to know about computer and software requirements
  • how to use the search engines and upload assignments
  • how to organize and manage your time
  • how to track and schedule your assignments
  • how to communicate effectively with your professors and fellow students
  • how to maximize your grade
  • what mistakes to avoid
  • how to create measurable goals and stay motivated
  • how to prepare for tests…and so much more.

The Online Student User’s Manual is the only “go-to” resource you will need to help you master the world of online education.

To order the traditional paperback version click here.

Books You Love Book Review for: New Book by Dr Hamilton for Online College Students

The Online Student User’s Manual will show you —

  • what you need to know about computer and software requirements 
  • how to use the search engines and upload assignments
  • how to organize and manage your time  
  • how to track and schedule your assignments
  • how to communicate effectively with your professors and fellow students
  • how to maximize your grade
  • what mistakes to avoid
  • how to create measurable goals and stay motivated
  • how to prepare for tests…and so much more.
via booksyoulove.co.uk – please click on this link to see complete review.