General Feedback About The Term Projects

By samooresamoore (1229637242|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p, last edited at 1229637242|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

I will be posting your course grades sometime late Thursday. I have finished recording your assignment grades on the Web site.

How I arrived at your project grades


  1. I have a grading rubric (basics, sources, resource evaluation, appropriate background content, appropriate current events content, information specialist tutorial, general organization, extras) that I used to guide my grading. I have a separate page for each of you that I filled out. I will make copies of these pages and leave them with my secretary in room R5492; you can pick them up any time in January; after the end of January she will throw them out.
  2. Before you ask me specific questions about your grade, be sure to read all of the information below, and concentrate especially on the “Fantastic examples” section; these provide very clear examples of just what I was looking for, and of what your classmates were able to produce.
  3. My general reaction to these sites is that some of you did a lot of work and apparently enjoyed working on your sites. It showed. I learned a lot from many of your sites. That being said, the following were the few that really stood out for me:

Grade distribution

Here's information about the distribution of grades on the final project, including a stem-and-leaf table and summary statistics.

  • Average: 81.8
  • Median: 83.5
  • StDev: 15.1

Points of mis-understanding

  1. Resource evaluation
    • You don't evaluate “Web resources” (as one group), you evaluate specific Web sites separately.
      • Suppose you were doing a report on a specific company. One way to evaluate resources would be to list and describe Web sites that have business related news. Better evaluations would have links to coverage of that specific industry and company, maybe via a search of that Web site, maybe via a specific column or writer at that Web site. Yes, this is more work; yes, this would mean that you would link to fewer Web sites; however, it would also mean that the links that you provide would be more useful to the reader. Simply providing a long list of business Web sites isn't that difficult or useful — do something more for me that I couldn't do simply with a quick Google search.
    • Don't forget to tell me about those Web search engine queries and blog search engine queries that were most useful for you and that would be most useful for the analyst in the future for finding certain types of information. This is quite important.
    • When telling me about Web directories, you should point to the categories within the directories (if any) that you found that are related to your project. Even if you don't find the information in the category useful because you already know of the sites, you should still link to it because the reader would know what you considered and where to look in the future for updates.
    • You don't evaluate “Tag-based sites”, you evaluate digg or furl or delicious or whatever. You might group the evaluations of these three sites together because they are all tag-based sites, but you don't evaluate them as one entity.
    • When telling me about an RSS/blog search tool, you should provide examples of the queries that you used (and links to their results if possible) when telling me whether or not the tool is useful.
  2. Background information
    • There are two main points to the background information section. First, to provide useful background information. (Shocking!) Second, to provide a series of places to go in order to read more information; an annotated list of such readings would be quite useful and appropriate.
  3. Custom search engine
    • You should list the sites included in your custom search engine in order to give the user some idea of what he/she is getting. On the Google Custom Search home page for your CSE it will list a few of the sites but it will not list all of them if you have more than five or six.
  4. Interface decisions
    • I'm not a big fan of using images in an index of other pages; they simply take up too much room and require too much scrolling (1, 2).
    • If you have a long page that requires a lot of scrolling, think about how you might break this up into smaller chunks. One way to know if it's too long: think about how you might tag the page. If you want to apply tags to specific parts of the page that don't apply to other parts of the page, then it's too long.
  5. Current events
    • Don't just describe what happened — link to articles that provide more details than the simple summary that you provide. You should provide a short summary — show me that you thought about the event you're linking to.
  6. Information specialist tutorial: There is a lot of confusion over this section. It should be a fairly major section of the report. Think of how you would teach another BBA who (horror of horrors) didn't take this class and who isn't familiar with your topic but who is Web-savvy:
    • What Web sites should they start with?
    • What search tools should they use to find more sites in the future? What hints can you provide about useful queries? Could you put together a custom search engine to make it easier to search these sites?
    • How useful are social sites? Are any specific tags more or less useful? Which specific sites did you find most useful?
    • For Web directories, did you find them useful? What categories did you find related to your topic?
    • For news sites and blog search engines, did you find any categories that were useful? What searches do you suggest they use? Could you put together a Yahoo Pipe to help combine these queries to make them easier to find?
    • Did you find useful images at any of the image search engines? What queries were most useful?
    • For podcasts and videos, were there any channels that had useful content on a related industry or on your company?
    • Did any alternative search engines provide information specifically tailored to your topic? What were they, and how were they helpful?
    • And so on, and so on.

Fantastic examples

In the following I list example pages within project wikis that really stood out as great examples of what I was hoping to see.

  1. Home page
    1. Software as a Service: good menus (top and side), good intro text, other useful information readily available
    2. SEMCOG Transit Panel: easily scannable, much information available in the top half of the page, good intro text.
    3. Alternative energy: easily scannable information on page, usefully organized side menus (top menus could have been better).
  2. Resource evaluation
    1. Software as a Service
    2. Apple Inc.
  3. Background information
    1. Alternative energy: notice the introductory text, the links to further readings and resources (of all types), and a pertinent video to kick things off.
    2. Start-ups: some introductory text, and links with descriptions to further readings and resources (of all types).
  4. Tutorial
    1. Software as a Service
    2. Social Networking: an absolutely fantastic way to structure this information (for this particular project).
  5. Blogroll
    1. Software as a Service
  6. Integration of Yahoo Pipe output into wiki
    1. Start-ups: this is a great example of using the Feed module to integrate an RSS feed — in this case, from a Yahoo pipe — directly into a wiki page.
  7. News
    1. Software as a Service: for this type of project, with lots of sub-topics, this is a useful formatting strategy
    2. Apple Inc.: useful summaries and organizational strategy for this project
    3. Investment banking: I like this style of writing a summary and providing links to a couple of related stories below it. (I'm indifferent to the pics, especially as used in the index because it makes it too long.)
  8. Site design tips and tricks
    1. Disney: this wasn't part of the project, but it (apparently!) is something that interests Susan, so she wrote up a bunch of tips on using wikidot.
  9. Custom Search Engine
    1. Mortgage Industry: included all the information that I need to understand the CSE.
    2. Alternative energy: interesting way of integrating the CSE into the site
    3. Start-ups: puts CSE high on home page and provides a useful link to an explanation of what it's actually searching.
  10. Providing information about a resource type that ends up not being useful:
    1. Alternative energy


  • "aesthetic" (superficial attractiveness), not "ascetic"
  • "straight" (not curved), not "strait"
  • "separate", not "seperate"
  • "utilize", not "utalize"


Don't worry, I'm going to include all of this information in next year's project description. This is too useful not to include. This is part of the reason (actually, most of the reason) that I want you to keep your sites public for at least the next 18 months.

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