Informatics 101: Second Assignment

Due: Tuesday, September 19th, in class

All the world is presently talking about IU firing coach Bobby Knight. Do a search on or or any other search engine you use regularly---especially if it is sports-related like pick ten websites currently reporting on the Bobby Knight story. If you find more than ten, try to pick ten that are sufficiently different to allow you to discuss interesting aspects of your search. Your task is to rank those ten websites by accuracy, believability, even-handedness, and informativeness. Put the ten websites in order of your ranking and explain why you ranked each one as you did. Format your list and your explanations as a 3-5 page essay

NOTE: this is not an assignment about how you feel about the firing (pro or con) but an assignment asking you to evaluate what the web is saying about the situation (pro and con).

We are including a grid to help you evaluate the sites. Please fill out a copy for each of your sites and hand it in. While this grid is intelligently set up, it may not agree with your evaluation of your sites. That is because valuable web sites may not follow the conventions that have allowed us to evaulate print sources.

If that is the case, please explain the difference. Think about the clues you get that tell you a site is worth believing. Think about the value of standards, or conventions, that help you to evaluate the widest possible collection of sites; not just ones where your knowledge is sufficient to guide you. Please include what you learn in your essay.

You may get extra credit if you can make useful suggestions for improving the grid. For a suggestion to be useful, it must consider the general case of seaching the web, not just your experience finding out about Bobby Knight. In any case you will benefit from thinking about all the considerations that the grid brings up and doing so in a structured fashion.

Please write a 3-5 page essay about your experience. Discuss your search strategy and what success you had. How would you begin, knowing what you know now? Did you immediately find a good selection of sites? You should mention your level of experience and whether you found the task difficult or easy; interesting or boring.

I will be looking for an intelligent discussion of the problems of evaluating web sites and the information they contain in the context of Informatics. While there are many different things you could discover in your search, please remain focused on that task. Do not spend time (words) on what you think of the Bobby Knight controversy. Do not spend time (words) on what you think of the web in general. How do you evaluate websites for accuracy, believability, even-handedness, and informativeness? How do the sites you have found help you or not? How does the question of evaluation enter into the definition of Informatics?

For this lesson please submit, in class next Tuesday:

  1. One grid (see below) for each website you use.
  2. A three to five page paper, in essay format, discussing your experience finding, evaluating and choosing your sites.

Click here for the Internet source evaluation grid.