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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Voices from the Dust Bowl

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 20, 2002 by History Editorial Board
Overview: This site archives the experience of migrant workers in camps in central California from 1940-1941. The collection includes audio recordings, photographs, manuscript materials, and publications.
Learning Goals: None are stated. The perceived goal is to further understanding of the effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl period through the victims own words and songs.
Target Student Population: College
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The ability to interpret cultural artifacts.
Type of Material: Collection
Technical Requirements: Capability to hear audio recordings.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is a well-designed site. The site includes brief finding aids to sections of the collection, page imprints for print materials as well as straight text versions, web pages with general information about the problems leading to the migration to California. A bibliography, suggested classroom assignments, several hundred audio clips, photographs, and documents are offered. The material on songs includes audio clips, song sheets, record dust covers, and field notes about music. Information is provided about Todd and Sonkin, the collection owners.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The primary purpose of this website is to provide public access to the Todd and Sonkin collection. The site authors include a section called "Collection Connections," which consists of three learning pages containing possible classroom exercises. The exercises aim to help students develop skills related to US History, Critical Thinking, and the Arts and the Humanities. The site provides question forms that student and/or teachers can direct to the Library of Congress if the question is other than general historical information.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to navigate. There are fast download times for audio files with good quality. The photographs are excellent.
Concerns: A table of contents or index is needed for the scrapbook. Larger and higher quality images needed. Zooming in on the photographs did not improve the quality of the image. The text of the original image is easy to read.