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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Discovering Psychology

by WGBH Boston with the American Psych. Assoc.
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 30, 2009 by Psychology
Overview: Discovering Psychology is a site provided by Annenberg Media (a part of the Annenberg Foundation). The purpose is to "advance excellent teaching through producing educational video programs. Discovering Psychology offers 26 one-half hour video clips covering many of the major subject areas in Psychology. The videos are narrated by Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D of Stanford University. Subject areas include theory, research, child development, brain functioning, memory and motivation, learning, cognitive development, sex and gender issues, psychopathology and cultural psychology.
Learning Goals: The topics covered are those found in an introductory level psychology course. The primary learning goal of Discovering Psychology is to visually present these topics in a concise and fun manner. The student should be able to explore many key concepts in psychology using a variety of interactive learning methods.
Target Student Population: The target population is undergraduate students or advanced high school students who are taking an introductory psychology course. It is also very good for instructors who need a refresher on material they are including in their lectures.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: The site is mainly a source for videos, but also includes many animations, tutorials, assessments, case studies, and some collection.
Recommended Uses: This site is highly recommended for use in the classroom. The short video clips allow each video to be used to introduce a topic, enhance lecture material through example, or reinforce a particular concept. Instructors can also use the video clips to review material prior to a lecture.
Technical Requirements: Windows Media Player (recent version) is required as well as Adobe Flash Player (recent version) which can be downloaded (by link) at the site. Most browsers should be able to navigate this site easily.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: There is little that this site does not offer in terms of quality content for key concepts in psychology.
Concerns: The last update was done in 2001. Several of the videos (brain for example) require the instructor to follow up the video with updated information. The website's interactive materials, however, make clear the contemporary knowledge of the field.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The potential effectiveness is high. All of the videos do an excellent job presenting their particular topic. The Developing Child, for example, shows the process of conception. The Sensation and Perception video shows examples of illusions and misperception. All of the video clips are the perfect mix of entertainment and information. The other aspects of the site are also very easy to incorporate in teaching as far as review materials, tutorial assignments, etc.
Concerns: The site does not have an overall test to evaluate the entire learning experience.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The design of this site is of the highest quality possible and it facilitates easy navigation at every click of the mouse. Also all the interactive aspects of it are well-explained and easy to use as well. It even goes above and beyond to offer non-flash versions of the material so that is can be easier to focus on the content in a non interactive way if need be.
Concerns: The purple coloring of the site may make it difficult for older adults to view some items.

Other Issues and Comments: The Discovering Psychology videos are a wonderful addition to the introductory psychology classroom.