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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Webcasts in Russian: NOVOSTI NEDELI

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 28, 2003 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The Week's News In Simplified Standard Russian presents authentic Russian news
adopted for college level Russian students. The news cycle covered is a work
week - Monday through Friday. The site provides soundtracks of Russian news
told at a slightly slower rate of speech, pre-listening background information
and exercises, vocabulary support, post-listening activities such as interactive
exercises, and written scripts.
Learning Goals: Learners will strengthen their listening comprehension and reading skills by
listening the news and doing the exercises.
Target Student Population: Students with intermediate and high intermediate proficiency in Russian will
find this site an indispensable source of practical, real life material.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: To use this site, one needs at least one year of college level Russian.
Type of Material: Soundtracks, written scripts, vocabulary lists with translations and
explanations, listening comprehension exercises (fill in, multiple choice, and
questions on general meaning and details).
Recommended Uses: The site is intended to be used by medium/high intermediate students of Russian,
but it can be used successfully by college professors/instructors as well as by
high school students and teachers.
Technical Requirements: In order to read Russian text, one needs KOI8-R or Cyrillic (Windows) fonts
installed on the computer and browser. To listen to the sound tracks, one needs
one of the sound devices such as RealPlayer of Windows Media Player.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site is an excellent ?bridge? from listening to adapted Russian texts to
listening and understanding authentic Russian news. If used on a regular basis,
this site can improve students? listening comprehension and/or reading skills
and increase vocabulary drastically. Not only does this site provide soundtracks
but also some pre- and post-listening activities, which would certainly help
students understand and memorize the material well.The great advantage of this
site is that words from the vocabulary lists are used in questions and
interactive exercises. This certainly helps students to internalize new words.
Concerns: Several grammatical errors were found, such as use of the second person singular
and second person plural imperative forms in the same sentence.The True/False
(Yes/No) exercises do not have an adequate explanation on how to use them, which
can be confusing for users. Verbs on vocabulary lists are presented in pairs
(Imperfective/Perfective); however, there is no pattern - Imperfective or
Perfective - is written first. Traditionally, Imperfective verbs take the first
place. However, in general, this site is an excellent educational material.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site is an excellent tool for improving and further developing students?
listening comprehension skills. Both students and faculty as well as teaching
assistants can benefit from this site. It can be used in class and as a part of
homework. It can be used for student independent study or some individual, group
or class projects.
Concerns:

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: It is easy to navigate this site because it has a very simple structure. All the
labels, buttons, menus, and text are consistent and distinct. The home page
provides information on the purpose of the site, possible audience, timeframe,
and suggestions for listening. The creators of this site use colors as labels.
The vocabulary lists have a light yellow background and the exercises are
written on light pink background.
Concerns: The only concern is the use of colors and font size. Background colors for
vocabulary lists and exercises should be lighter. It would make them easier to
read. In addition, font size might be slightly bigger.

Other Issues and Comments: