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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Links for Palaeobotanists

by Klaus-Peter Kelber
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2002 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: Links to Palaeobotanists is a Website provided by the Institute of Mineralogy at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. It is a well-organized site, containing many links to palaeobotanically-related resources, as well as some very useful sites for botany, geosciences, natural history, plant fossil descriptions, plant anatomy, and searches for jobs within the discipline. The main page provides good background information for palaeobotany, and each link is organized so that sub-pages are easily searchable for specific topics. There is a section of new links, which is updated regularly under the heading of "What's New on Links for Palaeobotanists?" Some of the links include teaching documents, conferences, software, palynology, coal petrology, evolution, literature searches, images of fossils, and jobs. Most of the links are directly assessable, whereas others may require authorization or language programming, depending on the browser used.
Learning Goals: This is a very specific site that can be used to acquire information about palaeobotany and related topics.
Target Student Population: Upper-division botany and geosciences, although some links may be useful for lower-level undergraduate courses. This site can be used by researchers in a wide range of biological sciences.
Type of Material: Reference Material
Technical Requirements: HTML enabled with ability to view some pictures

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:

Quality of Content: (5.00)(4.50) = 4.75 (ROUNDED to 4.8)





  • Excellent organization to provide user with lots of links related to palaeobotany

  • Good choice of links

  • List of links is very large and growing

  • Clearly laid out with appropriate labels

  • Many, many sites, providing good breadth and depth of content

  • Links are well chosen and scientifically based

  • Material within links is generally accurate because most are hosted by professional organizations and institutes

  • Good organization of links and sub-pages
Concerns:

  • Links do not contain consistent level of quality. It may help to prioritize links according to a rating system similar to that provided by MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org)

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:

 


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool: (4.00)(4.00) = 4.00 (ROUNDED to 4.0)




  • Provides adequate information about palaebotany, as well as links to sites that can be used for related disciplines such as botany and geology

  • Information goes beyond science, to enable users to learn about conferences and jobs available in the discipline (Wayne's Word, for example, is an excellent site for specialized Botany Courses)

  • Demonstrates relationships and flexibility of use

  • Great resource for users needing information about palaeobotany

  • Excellent choice of main links on the Home Page

  • Easy to navigate

  • Fast, simple, and efficient use of links
Concerns:

  • There are very few, if any, links that point the user to animations, multimedia presentations, and videos about palaeobotany. It might be more exciting to have some sites that provide interviews (Quicktime or Windows MediaPlayer) with palaeobotany and other types of fun activities such as those listed in the Botany section of MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org).

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:

Ease of Use: (5.00)(4.30) = 4.65 (ROUNDED to 4.6)




  • Most of the links are active, although some require special authorization or language programming to view

  • Easy to navigate through each of the main pages

  • Fast and appropriately searchable

  • No major bugs

  • Very well organized and easy to use

  • Simple, straightforward, and intuitive links are provided
Concerns:

  • Some of the links contain faulty content or cannot be accessed. It may help to either delete these sites or indicate deficiencies/requirements of sites in the text of the link.

  • Technical Problems: Some permissions and language restrictions