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A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages

Overview. As a pointy-headed university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity chasing and learning.

Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and consequently generated many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions. Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often only a Google-search away - (see Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became dependable extensions of my memory.

The bridge story is a work in progress and is evolving from a simple collections of photographs to an experiment with Internet-centric just-in-time learning. Insights I gain from you will find their way into the learning centers of MUSC. Palmetto Bridge Constructors, a joint venture between Tidewater Skanska and Flatiron Constructors, as well as High Steel Structures, Freyssinet, the SCDOT and the Federal Highway Commission Office of Bridge Technology guided much of my learning. I also learn from many of you and from Google-linked resources. More important is the e-mail encouragement I receive from many of you.

Sun, 20 Mar 2005

March 20, 2005 Another attempt in improving the usability of these web pages

Each week I receive email from a number of you requesting some new insights (for example, tracking the progress of the approaches or tracking the unbuilding of the west tower crane). As I put these stories together and increase the weekly set of routine photos, I wonder how anyone but me can find anything among these pages.

Over the past year and a half, the organization has progressed from 1 long linear web page to a group of pages to groupings of pages. I have created an archive page with links to everything. But again, unless you know what is in the archived pages, it might take several attempts to locate what you are looking for. Last week, Jason Osborne of Clemson, made a wonderful suggestion - why not put a last updated time stamp on the menu bar and in the archive. I am feeling a bit guilty that I did not think of this a long time ago. So now we have time stamps indicating the last time I updated a story.

But today I thought about Google. Why not include a Google search box in the header of each story and limit the Google search to my web site. Google has a simple way to constrain search results by including the clause in the search expression. So I set up a Google search box with this embedded in the search expression. Let me know if this helps locating things.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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