right where i left off – learning with online ads


i spent some time looking at laptop bags ad boots recently and I’ve noticed that as i browse around to different websites, the flash ads that i’ve gotten so used to avoiding are a lot smarter that i’ve given them credit for. as i was reading the local sports pages, i saw that one ad was showing me a list of the most recent boots i checked out on one site and a list of laptop bags i looked at on another. pretty cool, even if we’re talking about website advertising.

there are some pretty serious privacy implications here, and i’m not sure this would always be a useful thing; i just happened to see two ads that had immediate relevancy to me. but i’m stuck wondering about how can this be translated this to teaching and learning online? what if you could login to your course management system of choice (moodle, blackboard, sakai, edmodo, schoology, etc.) and see a listing of recently viewed course material? or what if you went to a class blog and was able to see all the articles that you read recently — not just the standard display of recent posts or comments? or, and maybe this is where privacy concerns really need to be noted, but what if you could see an automatically-updating list of what other students in your class were reading, somehow restricted only to that subject matter.

earlier this year, I purposely didn’t direct students to an article on a local new york city website that was a hop, skip, and a jump to some inappropriate material; rather than link directly to the article, i put up a pdf of the single-page print version of the article. but everything (and everyone) is so hyper-connected that it could be useful to see where someone ended up after an assigned reading. did they immediately go off-track or did they follow links to related articles? if the latter, it would be useful to somehow catalog those related articles for the benefit of an entire class. 

i haven’t given this enough thought — ten minutes ago i was reading about the superbowl and got distracted by an ad. but i think there’s potentially some good stuff here, though i haven’t given enough thought to all the hows and what-ifs.

this reminds me… i hope those boots come before the next big storm.

3 thoughts on “right where i left off – learning with online ads

  1. Alex Ragone

    Basil — I’ve had the same experience. Before winter break, I was shopping for soccer flats and the ads were all about flats… Hmmm. My recommendation for boots, Sorel. They really rock! Hope the ones you purchased are great.

  2. Alex Ragone

    Great choice. No doubt my best purchase of the last few years! Especially with all of the snow this year!

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