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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


An Overview of Business Online

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: May 31, 2010 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The material gives an excellent overview of the concepts, skills, techniques and issues involved in understanding and developing Web sites. There are 8 learning modules, including: 1. Explanation of the Internet and the WWW: How Does it work?; 2. Principles of Online Presence; 3. Development Lifecycle; 4. Domain Names and Hosting 5. How to create Web Pages; 6. Legal Obligations 7. Measuring Success; 8. Glossary of Terms. The module starts with a mind map to show the various dimensions of doing business online. A larger version of the mind map can be found at http://www.bized.co.uk/educators/16-19/business/marketing/lesson/onlinemap.gif
Learning Goals: To clearly present the uses of the Internet and the WWW, plus build skills necessary to find or create a web site, plus measure impact of a web presence. An Overview of Business Online is organized around seven major themes and a glossary of terms. Each theme conveys information about the type of learning that can be achieved through this module. Below is a summary of the seven themes: 1. Explanation of the Internet and the WWW 2. Principles of Online Presence 3. Development lifecycle of a simple business website. 4. Domain names and hosting issues 5. How to create web pages 6. Legal obligations 7. Measuring success Additionally, within each "theme" the authors allude to learning objectives via a statement they call "Aim".
Target Student Population: Non-technical business and marketing majors. The material could be applied to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. The material would be good for experienced students who need a technological refresher as well as non-technical students who need to learn the basics of conducting business in an online environment. Anyone who uses the internet would find this information useful, including students of all ages.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: Presentation.
Recommended Uses: The recommended use of this material is independent study outside of class or group work within class. Instructors could assign various “tasks” for completion of homework assignments. Additionally, instructors looking for an independent study project can assign all questions and tasks associated with this module. There are several uses of this material, including: 1. Gaining an overview of the general principles of the use of webpages 2. Learning to build a skill in creating a web page 3. Learn terms associated with the internet and WWW.
Technical Requirements: Although references are made to various types of software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Fireworks, GIMP, etc.) there are no technical requirements to complete the tasks in the module. A text editor (such as Notepad or WordPad) is required in order to complete HTML exercises in the “how to create web pages” section of the module.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Great overview of the entire concepts of "where,"why," and "how" of webpages. The Mindmap is very helpful, and the graphic really aids in understanding the concepts, but is an easy reference point for further reading. A major strength of this module is how the authors provide highly technical information in an easy-to-digest manner for non-technical students. There is an appropriate amount of hands-on activities associated with each module. These activities are presented in the form of tasks where there are anywhere from one to eleven tasks for each topic.
Concerns: The authors point out that the concepts covered in 'Business Online' are very large and no single resource can hope to cover all of these areas in sufficient detail for students to become experts in this area. It is important to remember that this module just provides an overview. Instructors should be sure to mention that there are additional factors associated with conducting business online that are not covered in this module (e.g., privacy, security, online advertising, social media, search engine marketing, etc.). Understanding the internet and webpages requires concentration to retain the exact information on how it all is interconnected.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Strong potential for effectiveness in both general understanding and a more extensive use of building skills. The module reinforces concepts progressively within each of the associated learning modules. For example, in the web design page, the progression of learning is from simple tasks (HTML) all the way up to more advanced tasks (CSS). The content is extremely conducive for self-directed learning as well as learning within group settings. The author provides additional readings and resources for students who want more information beyond the content provided.
Concerns: No major problems uncovered. However, students might need additional personal tutoring to master the actual webpage building skills.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The website is highly organized with a clear navigational structure. Content corresponds to the major branches of the mind map to help students see how the smaller parts (e.g., legal issues, domain names, creating pages, etc.) connect to the whole (e.g., online business).
Concerns: Some of the content is difficult to read due to very small font size. For example, on the “how to create web pages” page, the examples of list items (in HTML) and other examples of code are in very small font and may be extremely difficult to read. Given that the purpose of the sample code is to show students how to create HTML, a larger font size would be desirable.