I am taking the free online course Web Science: How the web is changing the world. Its goal is to explore how the web has changed our world in the past 25 years and what might happen next.
The first exercise asked me to reflect on my use of the Web and evaluate its impact on my life. I was given a web based tool to analyse my recent browsing history which generates a pie chart showing the most frequently visited web sites. I was then asked to answer four questions.
What kind of sites do you visit most?
- Searching. Google is the most used site for searching for other web sites as well as image searches. Wikipedia is frequently accessed as my main reference tool.
- Social Networking. Facebook is my main social networking tool and I use it a lot on my phone as well as the desktop computer.
- Entertainment. Youtube is useful for finding music video clips especially of classical music performances.
- Online education (MOOCS) – Coursera, FutureLearn, iVersity, and edX
- Task Management and Personal Information Management – Toodledo
- Online shopping – Amazon, Software , Audio downloads (The Great Courses for audio courses)
- News and Information – Blogs, Newspaper web sites.
- Banking – not visible in this pie chart
- Blogs – both reading and writing.
What kinds of service do they provide you?
Searching, Communication, Entertainment, Education , Shopping, Banking, Planning and Task Management, Reference Library, Self-Publishing (Blogging)
What interests of yours and what areas of your life is the Web involved in, or not involved in?
The field of massive open online courses is built on the Web and this allows me to meet and collaborate with other learners from around the world. These people range in age from university students to retirees, but most people are in the workforce.
I have many interests that don’t require the Web such as reading books (not ebooks!) but activities like cooking occasionally use the Web for finding recipes. I like to publish recipes of my cooking on my blog which means I can then use my iPhone to access my blog to get the recipe.
Can you think of a way of visualising your conclusions as a chart or diagram so that you can share it with other participants in the discussion step that follows.
It would be good to classify web sites by function then show their usage according to the time of the day and if the access was on a home computer, office computer or smart phone.