QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES
University of the Azores (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The information society has placed new challenges to the teaching and learning process, modifying the construction of knowledge: the information access has become more dynamic requiring constant knowledge updating. The Internet is a vast resources repository that includes a great information variety that is constantly growing. The integration of this content in an educational context allows diversifying knowledge construction spaces with the inclusion of new pedagogical possibilities, reflected in the learning processes and methodologies. Thus, the school can expand user’s interaction space and enhance information sharing and collaborative work. It is also possible to provide new forms of participatory content creation, a new dialogue with the world, contributing to the knowledge collaborative construction. However, the diversity and multiplicity of available information is no guarantee of quality. Thus, the Internet popularity does not necessarily imply the user’s satisfaction, directly related to the Web sites quality: although the website content is often considered important and useful, users can not find the wanted information. In this context, the website quality is directly dependent on the interface design and related to available information and features and user interaction. Websites should allow easy, pleasant and efficient access to information and services they provide. This paper presents a quantitative evaluation method of educational sites. One of the main objectives of websites quantitative evaluation is to understand how a set of quality criteria meets the user’s needs, the website target audience. In this sense, the characteristics and quality attributes that are best suited to this evaluation domain were defined and it was established for each criteria, their weighting and contribution to the final assessment. The proposed method comprises the relevant parameters for the overall interface usability, but includes also the aspects considered essential to make it easier for this audience (the different educational actors: teachers, students and parents) access the available content (information, activities, online building and collaborative editing, communication and sharing). The proposed method can be applied to already published sites, but can also be used from the site design phase respecting the requirements of the user-centered design. It is essential to ensure quality educational websites to garantee that knowledge is accessible to an increasing number of users regardless of limitations or deficiencies. In this sense, it is necessary to have learning environments in which information and different features are motivational tools, able to contribute to a critical reflection, for the development of research and learning in a permanent and autonomous way.
Keywords: Websites evaluation, evaluation criteria, educational websites, usability.