Funny how we all think that if there are study notes on a website, we must download a .doc or a .pdf file to our own computer to access them.
There are a lot of other pre-conceived ideas and expectations that people have of websites, which (in my opinion) is why so many websites look the same. “Just another website” ho hum. The run-of-the-mill ones can be spotted in one second!
What I’m getting at is, often when people build a website they think there is this ‘recipe’ that they have to follow and that there are prescribed sections they have to include. E.g. Many website owners think they should have a FAQ page, and then come up with a list of questions that nobody has actually asked, but that they think people would probably ask in order to understand the site better. I’m against FAQ pages. I’ve tried them and have come to believe that a website should convey everything clearly so that you don’t need to have any questions about what it is for, how it works, how to do things.
Getting back to study notes. I know everyone is expecting there to be a page where you can ‘download study notes’, but is this really the best way? What I’m thinking of now is actually having the contents of the notes on the wiki!! That means the notes will be able to be continuously updated.
Why do we need this? Well, most of the notes on WikiStudent were written by me, and some of them date back to 2002! I know the Unisa syllabus for many subjects doesn’t change much from year to year, but sometimes a newer edition of a textbook is prescribed, and gradually the study notes get out of date too.
A bit off topic, but still related to users expectations… Have you ever noticed what they put on magazine covers? It’s almost always a photo of a beautiful woman. So many magazines do this, and in the end none of them stand out. I keep thinking: can’t they think of anything better to put on the cover?
It’s like that with websites. Everyone does what all the others do. Now I’m going to be different. I’m coming up with my own ideas and am using the available tools to build something unique. I am not going to do what is expected, but concentrate on what is needed and the best way to acomplish it.
My solution for keeping study notes up to date is simple: Don’t create your notes in MS Word; create them on the wiki, and if you’re lucky other students will help you write them!