The Irwin McGraw-Hill website offers many valuable resources to instructors and students alike. A portion of their website is devoted to more than one hundred Internet Exercises pertinent to the marketing discipline. Exercises are organized under twenty-two topics and appear to have been developed to accompany a specific marketing principles textbook, as page numbers are often referenced within exercise assignments. While some exercises are heavily intertwined with content specific to the particular text which they were meant to accompany, the vast majority of exercises relate to more general topics or concepts discussed in a wide variety of texts. In most cases, relevant exercises can easily be adapted to fit with any principles text, while some may work with more specialized courses such as Marketing Research, Integrated Marketing Communications, Consumer Behavior, and the like.
All exercises seek to enhance student learning by relating key marketing concepts to real-life examples. Most ask students to evaluate aspects of one or more websites, then answer one or more questions as a means of demonstrating their understanding of the particular concept in question. Some exercises are also experiential, for example, one of the marketing research exercises instructs students to first take an online survey, then answer a series of questions.
Target Student Population:
The primary student population is probably best described as undergraduate students enrolled in a principles of marketing course. However, as previously noted, certain exercises can be used for students enrolled in many of the more specialized courses, including Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, IMC or Promotions Management, Distribution, Retailing, International Marketing, Personal Selling or Sales Management, Pricing, and Services Marketing.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Familiarity with marketing terminology or access to an appropriate textbook, as well as basic computer literacy skills, are the only prerequisite skills required.
Type of Material:
Drill and practice
Many of these exercises would be valuable activities for instructors who are teaching a principles of marketing course entirely online. Given the nature of the Internet -- servers crashes,
changing web site URLs, etc. -- it would probably be a good idea to offer students a choice of two or more exercises. In many cases, exercises can be adapted or applied to alternate web sites of the instructor's choice.
A web browser and active Internet connection are required. Some web sites require that specific plug-ins, such as FLASH, be installed in order to view web site content.
Evaluation and Observation
The exercises are well-written and effectively challenge students to demonstrate their conceptual understanding of topics. Very thorough coverage of a wide variety of topics is provided. Questions provide points for discussion, and instructors can easily expand on these.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate student's understanding of key concepts prior to the administration of an exam. The individual exercises are designed with questions posed, then sites supplied to reinforce/explain the concept. The student progresses through each exercise with questions, site links, and more questions.
Plagarism may become a problem if the same exercises referencing identical web sites are used from semester to semester.
It would be interesting for students to have the opportunity to ?grade? their knowledge after reviewing the sites and the questions.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Web sites referenced by each exercise are easily accessed via the hot links incorporated within the exercise . When selected, the link will open the web site in a new browser window, which also facilitates comparisons among web sites while allowing students to easily refer back to the exercise requirements without using the BACK button.
Students may become confused by the page number, diagram, and chapter references which are incorporated into most exercise descriptions if the text being used in their course does not match that for which the exercises were specifically designed. In such cases, it would probably be best if the instructor did NOT link directly to McGraw's site, but instead first edited exercises prior to distributing them to students.
With very few exceptions,
the URL's listed in web exercises link to the home page of the company or organization in question. While this strategy minimizes the possibility of students encountering a dead link, it also requires that they spend more time searching web sites for the particular information needed to respond to the exercise questions. Some students may become frustrated as a result.
Other Issues and Comments:
Not all of the links tested were active. In fact, each of the links pertaining to a marketing research exercise instructing students to participate in one of three online surveys were dead.
Prior to assigning a particular exercise, it is strongly recommended that instructors 1) test links to make certain that they are still active, 2) complete the exercise themselves, to be certain that the particular content which students are supposed to find within the web site is still available.