Jodi Kiefer - Homework #2

To do:

1) Read the article: “In Defense of Cheating” by Don Norman; accessible via:
and comment on the following issue:

I personally disagree with Norman’s position on cheating where he states that it encourages cooperation. While I do agree that students should be taught the invaluable skill of utilizing resources, such as the internet, to find solutions to problems, I do not believe that these skills should dominate the education field. Granted, being able to solve problems by learning from past experience/mistakes of others is a skill that must be mastered in today’s workplace. After all, why reinvent the wheel? However, I think one of the major downfalls of Norman’s argument is that he dismisses the benefits of thinking for one’s self. This is similar to the downfalls of spellchecker in most computer applications. Students have become so dependent on spell checker that most can not spell on their own, without technology. If a student lacks the ability to learn on their own, it seems as if a robot would be just as, if not more, useful in society than they are. I believe that this ‘copying’ that Norman suggests would create many followers and few leaders thus reducing that amount of information that can be shared in collaborative work. In addition to being able to utilize resources available, one must also be able to learn and retain knowledge to be beneficial and survive in today’s workplace.

Looking back on my school experience I think that Norman’s view on cheating would have created more segregation between those who did the work and those who didn’t, encouraging more to take the lazy way out by using someone else’s hard work for their own. In my working experience it was a very beneficial skill to be able to apply past solutions to your current problem. However, I could easily pinpoint those who ‘tagged along’ in their school years by their inability to relate relevant information to the problem at hand. Even though they were able to find a similar solution, they lacked the ability to discern the information and apply it to their unique situation.

2) Visit one of the following websites and explore it as a medium for collaboration

3) Briefly discuss for your chosen website:

I found the mamamedia website to be an interesting website for kids. It acts as a one-stop action spot for things to do on the internet for kids. After teaching high-school for a year, I learned that kids (students) are constantly turning to the internet to occupy their time. This website would keep them entertained for hours from playing games to learning random facts to voicing their opinion.

Kids are able post to the website in numerous ways from sharing their opinion in daily poll questions to posting their artwork in numerous galleries or email in a joke which could be selected to be posted to the website. They are also able to post messages to other users (i.e. quotes and sayings, etc.).

The mamamedia website allows a significantly smaller amount of input from the users than the Swiki does. In Swiki, every user is also a designer. They have full control over the appearance and content of each page. The mamamedia website, on the other hand, only allows users to post messages or artwork to appropriate pages and in some cases requires the user to email their response to the designers and they determine if it will be posted (i.e. if a user wants to post a joke to the website).

4) which is your favorite website / system in support of collaboration (briefly justify your opinion)!

I personally like topic forums as a system of collaboration. I am an adventure racer and find it very useful to search past forums on various topics to gather information and learn from others’ experiences. For example, I was recently in search of the best techniques for racing in a canoe. Through forums I was able to find other racer’s preferences and suggestions on gear and techniques on this topic.

5) have you ever read a book(s) / article(s) (or books) about collaboration? if yes:

No I haven’t yet.