Putting Educational Innovations into Practice.

MERLOT 101 Spring 2009 - Week 2 (Peer Review) - Assignment 2

MERLOT is unique in that many teaching materials are peer reviewed by content experts. Please use the Browse function to get a "hit list" of materials in your discipline. As discussed today, "the cream rises to the top," so the highest rated materials appear first on your hit list.

Select one of the materials in your discipline and read the Peer Review (just click on the Peer Review link). After reading the Peer Review, answer the following questions:

1. Is this material something you would use in your class? Why or why not?

2. How beneficial was the Peer Review to your decision? Why or why not?

3. Please comment on MERLOT Peer Reviews in general.

4. Did you think about making a Member Comment?

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Replies to This Discussion

First, I was not able to find anything in the discipline I teach "operational risk", but I was able to find information (articles) under the general term risk. I found the peer review to be excellent, and extremely detailed. The structure of the peer review covers 360 of the information I would need to make a decision on the article. If I were teaching a course on general risk, this would material would be used.
I'm glad to hear that, Stephany. Do you have any materials on operational risk that you might want to include in MERLOT? If so, I am attaching very detailed instructions on how to contribute materials to MERLOT. And, if you are the Author, it could be peer reviewed.
I found three items under Risk Management. They may also be helpful:
My task was much easier than Stephany's since I teach Biology and there are plenty of sources in this field. I always look for animations that would help students to imagine and better comprehend certain processes of cell. In Biology discipline I selected animation and followed the Biological animations and tutorial link. I found peer review very helpfull, it let me know what to expect without having to go through each animation and figuring it out on my own. I will definitely use some of the animations as a teaching material.
I really like the concept of Merlot and appreciate the hard work of peer reviewers. I think it's wonderful to have one place where teachers can go and find plenty of material to enrich their teaching.
That's great to hear, Zdenka. One of the major goals of MERLOT is to make teaching easier for you. I'm glad to hear that the peer reviews are so helpful.
I do not think that I was successful on my first attempt. I searched teaching materials for “virtual memory” and located seven. None was peer reviewed, topmost site in the hit list seemed not working, three were unrelated and related ones were pretty dated. I would greatly appreciate your suggestions to help improve my searching skills.
I had a bit of difficulty following the browse path, but soon found my way. I found a site that I have been using for quite a while in online teaching and which I refer online instructors to (Nuts and Bolts of College Writing--great resource for general writing concerns for academic writing such as essays, research papers, style sheets, and so on). I read the comments under Peer Reviews and was saddened that there were so few. However, the content of the reviews themselves underscored what I already know about the site and lends credence to the peer reviews themselves. I pulled out my username and password and logged in, but I didn't see how to make a member comment. Maybe I need to pay more attention in the next webinar.
David, you can make a Member Comment from the Material Detail of the site Nuts and Bolts:
When you are logged in, on the right of the Material Detail, there is a box that says, "Write a Comment". Click on that and you can make your comment. I look forward to reading your comment about Nuts and Bolts. There is no Peer Review on this material yet, as we have just formed the English Editorial Board. Check back in a few months, and I am sure there will be a Peer Review from the site you mentioned. BTW, the English collection is first categorized as two choices: Language and Literature. Under those sub-categories, there are further sub-sub categories.
I read two reviews, each on a separate item. The two items were related in content and goals; both might be quite useful.

Peer reviews I find in general quite helpful. The one peer review, which had much detail, was very helpful; the other review was very brief in nature and as such not quite as helpful. The fact that both items received five stars made me stop to look at the materials themselves. I tend to scan reviews but then look at the items to review them myself. Like most reviews, the peer reviews in MERLOT help me to determine quickly whether I will spend any length of time examining the material. What surprised me when I read the detailed review was that I realized that review would have been extremely helpful to the creator of the item because it provided tips for improvement.

To respond to question number 4, I did not think about making a Member Comment for the item which had the detailed review. But I did think about adding a comment for the item which had a review of few words.
Christina, the Peer Reviews are always sent to the Author prior to posting on the site. We get their permission to post the review. Often, something is pointed out to the author that encourages them to change it, and therefore, create an even better teaching resource. I hope you go ahead and add some Member Comments. I often find them helpful, particularly when they mention reactions to the site.
I searched for some help with operating the graphing calculator and found an excellent lesson. The peer review was very detailed in its explanation, and I found that the actual flash animations of the calculator were very clear and easy to follow. In conclusion, I would definitley consider using this material in my classes.

The peer reviews in general are invaluable when viewing a large amount of materail and mathematics has a VERY LARGE amount of material available.
I'm glad you found the Peer Reviews helpful. We have an excellent Math Editorial Board and a very good collection of materials. I've even recommended them to students who are taking math classes, particularly the tutorials.


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