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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Introduction to Networks

by David Le Blanc
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

2.25 stars
Content Quality: 2.5 stars
Effectiveness: 2 stars
Ease of Use: 2 stars
Reviewed: Oct 02, 2007 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: The material covers a very cursory overview of network basics more from the perspective of the desktop. Topics include hardware, software, users and some related technologies such as email, video conferencing, groupware, telecommuting, Internet and online services. Simple images are at the level to keep a child's attention.
Learning Goals: The student will be able to identify some network equipment, understand that software is required, identify some staffing positions related to networks and be able to identify some network services related to the end user.
Target Student Population: Middle school and high school students are the target population according to the author. It may also be appropriate for 2 year college students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Computer with javascript enabled browser and connection to the Internet.
Type of Material: The author describes this as an online tutorial with suggestions for projects and activities. It is a slide show.
Recommended Uses: Could be used as support to a lesson or as material for a presentation.
Technical Requirements: Computer with javascript-enabled browser and connection to the Internet.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 2.5 stars
Strengths: The content explanation is at a level suitable for a middle school student. The graphics are designed to keep a child's attention. The amount of information is suitable for a child's attention span. The site has good colors.
Concerns: Some of the content is a bit dated, such as modems discussing dial-up only. There is no over all flow to the information and it would not be suitable to learning without a class lesson. Some of the links did not work.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 2 stars
Strengths: The links to terms displayed simple terminology and sometimes a graphic. There was a survey available where the student could preassess their level of knowledge; "experts" were challenged to prove it.
Concerns: Although the instructions described a button for worksheets, there was no button available. The link to activities did not resolve in Internet Explorer. The content remains the same irregardless of the student's professed knowledge. The usefulness of the survey appears to be an internal matter, as the survey gets emailed to the author.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 2 stars
Strengths: The design of the pages is pleasant and the graphics are cute.
Concerns: The site had numerous technical difficulties. The navigational links either did not work or did not resolve in a current IE browser. The users and network services were combined, which might be clearer separated. There were content links that did not properly resolve and the promised worksheet button is missing. The pop up window for the entrance to the tutorial needs to be resizable.