Information Design Watch

March 11, 2005, 2:03 pm

Learning Objects Online

By d/D

“Learning objects” are self-contained content modules that educators may use independently, add to lectures, or aggregate into a broader course of study. At Wesleyan University, a dedicated team is using the Internet as a distribution medium for multimedia-based modules:

“We are working with faculty to develop interactive learning tools and animations that will help students understand difficult concepts. These modules can be shared across campus, with faculty at other institutions and be used both inside and outside of the classroom.”

http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/

The team’s projects show the range of possibilities, from an interactive map of the temples of Palenque to a simulation of protein synthesis.

http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/palenque/map/map_high.html

http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/proteinsynthesis/flash.html (Flash)

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Information Design, Visual Explanation

March 11, 2005, 1:41 pm

Baby Name Popularity

By d/D

Using data compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration, the publishers of the book Baby Name Wizard have created an interactive Java application that charts the popularity of various names over time. Most interesting is the application’s letter by letter response as you type in a specific name. You can launch the application from here:

http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/

For the source data, go to the Social Security Administration’s online database of baby names:

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Visual Explanation

March 11, 2005, 10:03 am

Bug Free Health Care?

By d/D

Studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association report that treatment tracking software may be problematic for patients. This summary in the New York Times only vaguely distinguishes between data standards, software development, and usability, but clearly some of the reported problems relate to information architecture:

“To find a single patient’s medications, the researchers found, a doctor might have to browse through up to 20 screens of information….Among the potential causes of errors they listed were patient names’ being grouped together confusingly in tiny print, drug dosages that seem arbitrary and computer crashes.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/09/technology/09compute.html?incamp=article_popular_5 (free registration required)

The first of the JAMA studies, “Role of Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems in Facilitating Medication Errors,” is offered for free on the association’s Web site:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/293/10/1197 (guest registration required)

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Information Architecture, Technology