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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Algebra2go: An Online Supplemental Instruction Tool Array

by Larry Perez , Patrick Quigley
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 01, 2009 by Mathematics
Overview: This site visually presents lectures on pre-algebra and algebra usually between 10 and 20 minutes in length. In each movie, a teacher is interacting with a student as the lesson is presented and discussed. The notes for each class are also made available to print so that a student watching the video can easily follow along. Every lecture provides a set of homework exercises for students to practice and reinforce their understanding of the material. Each learning session also culminates in an online quiz that helps the student assess his/her learning of the material.
Learning Goals: To teach and assess student learning of pre-algebra.
Target Student Population: Students in middle school and possibly high school who are in the process of learning pre-algebra or algebra concepts. The site also recommends being used by college students taking college pre-algebra or other students in business or science who just want to brush up on their math.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Prerequisites would be similar to those for regular pre-algebra or algebra classes. That would include some type of basic math skills.
Type of Material: Online course, Lecture/Presentation with Notes & Worksheets, Quizzes
Recommended Uses: These lessons can be used as online modules or used simply as supplemental material to reinforce concepts a student needs help with. Good tool for assessment of student learning.
Technical Requirements: Any web browser. Fast Internet connection for video. Windows Media Player, QuickTime or Flash Player

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The lessons are nicely sequenced in a logical order. Each lesson describes the concepts in detail in an interactive lecture format. There are also notes included (in both English and Spanish) that are well organized and can be printed for the student to use while listening to the lesson. Content appears to be in an ongoing process of making improvements. One of these improvements is using frames to have the lecture and the notes and tools all visible on the screen simultaneously. The information in the video aligns with the assessment. Content is accurate and complete for pre-algebra concepts. The learner, or instructor, can select a learning path by choosing a specific unit. The units build on previous concepts as would be common in a math course. The format of the lecture is a cross between a reality show and a sit-com. It is engaging with humor, drama. Good presentation design minimizes visual search. Text is legible. Images are labeled and free of clutter. Color and use of symbols are aesthetically pleasing. No obvious split-attention or redundancy effects that distract from learning.
Concerns: While the pre-algebra course is complete, the algebra class lessons are still being developed. The scope and sequence has been defined and the list is on display, but not all of the sections have the lessons with them yet. It is not very interactive; a student just watches the video. Interaction is just press start or pause button. Feedback on quiz gives correct answer, but not how to get it. The feedback does not inform learners of their level of competence relative to learning goals Students may get bored watching and not doing.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Units have quizzes that can be taken to assess the student’s learning. There are usually 3 different versions of the quiz, so if students do poorly on a quiz, they can review the material and come back and take a different version of the quiz for that unit. Exam reviews are also helpful in preparing the student to take exams. Learning objectives are well laid out and the material progresses at a decent pace for the average student.
Concerns: Students would not know what they did wrong on a quiz, just given the correct answer. Would like to see feedback specific for the error the student had.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The course is nicely laid out in sequence so students can start at the beginning and complete the whole course, or pick and choose units or sections they want to use as refreshers to review particular concepts they need extra help with. This module is easy to use and navigate through. The instructions are clear and the videos are appealing and engaging. The bilingual feature is also very nice, making it available to Spanish speaking students, who may have difficulty in the regular class if the instructor is speaking English.
Concerns: None