Lesson 2: Developing a Website Evaluation Tool
The purpose of this assignment is to challenge, test and ultimately come to general agreement on evaluation criteria for websites. This exercise is student driven, but don't be surprised if your teacher offers some guidance along the way.
At the completion of this exercise:
- you will demonstrate your ability to critically examine the quality of a web site by developing a web site evaluation tool.
- you will be able to communicate to others your ideas about what makes a high quality web site and explain how you would evaluate a site.
Develop a website evaluation tool. Use the knowledge and perspective gained in Lesson 1 to develop a rubric for measuring the quality of websites. Follow these steps:
- Pair up and take five minutes to share and discuss the merits and problems of the "good" and "bad" websites chosen in the activity of the previous lesson. One site should be a clear example of good design and one an example of poor design. Discuss specific traits that could be used to evaluate sites.
- Join another pair and now, in a group of four, review your lists of traits that were generated in step one. Synthesize the lists to no fewer than four but no more than seven general traits that could be used to evaluate most any web site. As much as possible, make each trait discrete and clear. Combine similar traits. Eliminate redundant, obtuse, or invalid traits.
- Once you reach consensus on the traits, decide on a numeric scale to use for judging how well a website rates for each of the traits.
- Brainstorm a list of descriptors that define major point values on the numeric scale. What does a high score, a low score look like?
- Now that you have all the components for the evaluation rubric, sketch the complete evaluation rubric with a marker on butcher paper. Write boldly and large enough for others to read from a distance. Your poster (evaluation tool) will be displayed on a wall.
- Your instructor will now assign you a specific website to evaluate. After receiving the assignment, each person in your group will individually use this evaluation rubric to evaluate the assigned site. It is important that you evaluate the site without collaboration or discussion.
- After all members have had enough time to evaluate, compare how your group members rated the assigned site on each major trait.
- If someone in the group rated a trait radically differently from the rest of the group, ask them to explain why. Can the group persuade the radical, or the radical persuade the group? Is a compromise necessary? Try to reach a consensus score for each trait. Does the tool need to be changed somehow to make it more useful?
- Decide on a reporter or spokesperson. Display your poster. Have the spokesperson share with the rest of the class how well your group's evaluation tool worked when applied to the assigned website.
- As a class, synthesize the various evaluation tools into a single rubric. Find what traits are most commonly used. Sometimes groups refer to the same trait using different terminology, so the class must agree on what term to use (a groups' shared understanding of a term is called nomenclature).
Great! Proceed to Module 2.