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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Outbreak at Watersedge- A Public Health discovery game.

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 01, 2007 by Health Sciences
Overview: Images, audio and visual aids are used. It actually sounds like a public health department between clicks (with telephones ringing and chairs being pulled across the floor and doors closing). The learner is a public health intern in a public health office. The learner is introduced to the individuals in the office and then begins the process of an illness investigation. The participant moves through various steps in the outbreak investigation process through the use of critical thinking, images, audio, quizzes, and links. The learner can also access this material via CD or in Spanish. KEY WORDS: public health, outbreak, interactive game, simulation, outbreak investigation, infection, infection source, chain of infection, breaking the chain of infection.
Learning Goals: The learning goals are implied. The overall goal of this game is to: * Introduce the player to various professional roles within the field of public health; * Expose the player to basic epidemiological principles and methods of investigation, data gathering, data interpretation, and point source contamination; and * Provide the player with resources to further explore the field of public health. By playing this game, the student will be able to: * Identify specific jobs within the career field of public health; and * Locate resources for further exploration of this prospective area of study.
Target Student Population: The learner could be any student who is learning about public health. It would probably be best suited to the baccalaureate student at the junior or senior level, although students at higher levels would not be bored by the simulation.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students would need to be familiar with terminology used such as epidemiology, public health policy, biostatistics, health disparity, etc. Computer skills actually would be minimal as long as the student has a natural curiosity and can operate a mouse. Some things that are not obvious can be clicked on a viewed, and they contain a large amount of valuable information.
Type of Material: This is a real life simulation of an outbreak investigation, users determine where to look and go with some direction from the program, feedback is provided for poor choices.
Recommended Uses: The need to recruit the next generation of public health professionals has never been greater. This interactive game provides a fun and challenging way to introduce students to the field of public health. Possible audiences and uses: * High school guidance counselors or undergraduate advisors who want to guide students with an interest in science and/or health careers to explore their options for further education; * Students who want to know more about the field of public health and other health careers; * Science teachers who want to introduce students to the basic principles used to investigate disease outbreaks; and * As a means for students to develop their verbal or written communication skills (e.g., draft press releases about the outbreak or stage a mock press conference), to explore laboratory processes (e.g., discuss how specimens are collected, stained, and categorized to identify the etiology of a disease), or to explore environmental health issues (e.g., how environmental contamination occurs and what steps communities can take to prevent this).
Technical Requirements: A computer connnected to the Internet with a web browser, Macromedia Flash, sound card, and speakers. Sound is mandatory for learner participation in this virtual tour. With some connections viewers may find the videos to be a little distracting and difficult to watch because they had to load and reload.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The content is accurate and valid. It appears that most general areas of public health are covered. · This simulation accurately depicts reality, and for a virtual environment, this aspect is especially important. The virtual environment is realistic and beautiful in its presentation · It valid compared to other resources. A textbook could not present information with any more validity. · The content is complete in scope, and all important information is included if the student clicks on all available areas. · This document is very current and deals with an outbreak in a community. This is particularly salient information with the threat of bird flu outbreaks on the horizon. · The content teaches important, valuable, and educationally significant concepts, although it gives only an overview of public health. It is an excellent introduction so the student knows there is more to it than just “health department health care”. · The content covers the core areas of information that need to be covered. Again, each area can be covered in more depth as the course goes along, but this simulation gives an excellent overview and could stimulate the learner to explore more information. · This content is definitely pre-requisite for understanding more advanced material in the disciplines for which it is intended. · Some of the material presented may be difficult to teach/learn from just a textbook. This simulation makes the content come alive rather than just discussing in a “dry” textbook. · The significance is consistent throughout the material as it builds one piece upon the last · The links to other resources, are appropriate and valid with a link to University of Minnesota concerning health careers, one from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and another from the American Public Health Association. These sites provide supplemental information to the learner.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Information is presented in ways that is familiar to students who have played a video game. The site is extremely easy to navigate even if the student is a novice. The site provides immediate feedback as th4e student makes decisions. The user very seldom has to wait for a response, because there is immediate feedback. The instructions are brief and easy to understand and are presented in small segments that are available as the learner needs them. Errors in decision-making are quickly corrected, but in a positive way with directions about how the learner should proceed. There are no distracting elements in the presentation with compelling areas on which to focus. The different areas are simple in design and easy to see. All parts are related as the learner moves through the virtual world, although the learner makes decisions about where to go and what to do. No major bugs were identified.
Concerns: None

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Information is presented in ways that is familiar to students who have played a video game. The site is extremely easy to navigate even if the student is a novice. The site provides immediate feedback as th4e student makes decisions. The user very seldom has to wait for a response, because there is immediate feedback. The instructions are brief and easy to understand and are presented in small segments that are available as the learner needs them. Errors in decision-making are quickly corrected, but in a positive way with directions about how the learner should proceed. There are no distracting elements in the presentation with compelling areas on which to focus. The different areas are simple in design and easy to see. All parts are related as the learner moves through the virtual world, although the learner makes decisions about where to go and what to do. No major bugs were identified.
Concerns: None

Other Issues and Comments: The entire site is an excellent source of information for students learning public health concepts or wishing to understand the process of illness investigation within the public health arena. Teachers will find that this site will be supplemental to the text book as it contains essential content. The student driven approach with easy directions and feedback are superb.