Efficient, Collaborative, Inquiry-driven Electronic Information Systems

in HortTechnology

Electronic information systems provide efficient information management—development, updating, storage, retrieval, and delivery. No more stockpiling of printed, going-out-of-date information when specific, concise, up-to-date information can be obtained just in time from the Internet. Authoring for electronic media is different than authoring for the printed page. To use unique characteristics of electronic information systems, information is presented in chunks, small units of information that can combine text, video, or sound to present one concept or to answer one question. A chunk may be linked to other chunks to provide definitions and further elaboration of terms or ideas. A chunk may be linked to related chunks to provide comprehensive information inquiry-driven by and tailored to the inquirer's interests and understanding. A chunk may be linked to other chunks to provide definitions and further elaboration of terms or ideas. Collaboration is facilitated by the World Wide Web (Web). Shared development reduces redundant efforts and costs and results in better products than can be produced by autonomous efforts. Continual, shared development and updating keep the individual chunks and the linked chunks (URLs) up-to-date and dynamic. Educators can thread (link) selected web modules or chunks (URLs) together into dynamic study assignments or dynamic textbooks for courses of study. To obtain the best of both media, CD-ROM software can be designed to interact with a Web site. The ways that CD-ROM and online are interacting are varied and evolving. Graphics-rich databases such as color photographs of plants or pests and related text that do not require continual updating are well suited to CD-ROM. Web links from the CD-ROM to additional, dynamic information and updates at the Web site keep the CD-ROM live and current. ASHS members are uniquely qualified to generate continually updated, peer-reviewed horticultural information on the web for continuous access by the interested learner whose pathway on the web will be inquiry-driven.

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