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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Computer Number Base Conversion Program

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 01, 2009 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: This site can be used to demonstrate how number conversion is done. The user is required to have Java active on the computer they are using in order for the program to run. An interactive site, well worth using to teach those unfamiliar with number base conversion, exactly how number base conversion is done. This website reference uses JavaScript to allow a user to put a number in one of the four bases (binary, octal, decimal, and hexadecimal), they then can select what base they want it converted into. The user is provided with step-by-step set of instructions showing how the base was converted.
Learning Goals: The purpose of this program is to teach users how number base conversion works while actually performing the number base conversion and then providing the information in a text box below. The site allows users to enter a number in one of four bases (binary, octal, decimal, and hexadecimal) and convert the number to one of the other bases.
Target Student Population: Primary recommendation would be for undergraduate students just learning about number base conversion. Appropriate for middle school – higher education in the disciplines of math, computer science, engineering, information technology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Understanding of the computer number system, basic computers skills, knowledge of binary, deciamal, octal, and hexadecimal terminology.
Type of Material: Reference Material and practice.
Recommended Uses: This site could be used for homework, as an individual tutorial, for team learning, in conjunction with an assignment, or in conjunction with a lab assignment.
Technical Requirements: Browser with JavaScript enabled.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The site is explicity concise. It covers only one topic and deals effectively with that topic. Although instructions are hard to find, if an individual starts to use and makes an error, alerts pop up explaining what the error is which is extremely helpful. The text boxes below provide excelent explanations of the conversions and how the individual can also do those conversions. The tool is current and relevant The tool is flexible (can be used in many different situations) Integrates the concept of computer number system well. The instructions are clear and concise.
Concerns: Instructions were not immediately found, but after a minute of looking around, saw the button for the instructions. The tool uses JavaScript which may be disabled in some browsers.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Covers only one concept, but does so in a very clear and concise manner. No prerequisite knowledge is required except basic computer skills, therefore none is provided on this site. The tool is very efficient (it is possible to perform a lot of number conversions in a short period of time) Can be used as a tool in class or outside of class Can be used in many different academic disciplines that use the computer number system.
Concerns: Students would need to be thoroughly introduced to the computer number system before being able to use the tool. No learning objectives are provided; however, it is not felt they are needed since only one concept -- number conversion--is covered. No information is provided on prerequisite knowledge, but none really is needed.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Easy to use Clear instructions are provided The tool is interactive Wonderful site. Easy to use. Easy to move around. When a mistake is made an alert prompts you with more information to let the individual know how to correct the error.
Concerns: The author should include an "alt" attribute for the "Instructions" graphic. Also, the form controls should include labels using the XHTML