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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips to Better Writing

by Mignon Fogarty
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 3.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 14, 2012 by English Editorial Board
Overview: The Grammar Girl is a website that offers assistance for several grammar questions and problems. This site would be a useful reference for anyone who writes and would be an excellent resource to include in an online course or offer as supplemental material in a ground or blended course. The site provides short tutorials regarding special grammar circumstances: active voice versus passive voice, who vs. whom, affect vs. effect. It offers podcasts on topics as well. Unfortunately, topics unrelated to the website name clutter the homepage and offer users social networking, job search opportunities, and readings on a variety of topics posted by people with handles like "Nutrition Guru".
Learning Goals: The student can use the collection to get grammar tips, find the correct way to use punctuation and commonly confused words, and more.
Target Student Population: Late middle school through adult users; seekers of information on proper usage can use the site as a supplement to grammar texts.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The user should have basic internet skills
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: This online collection would be a valuable resource for students who have writing assignments or simply want to brush up on their grammar skills. The site's podcasts and concise explanations could prove useful in a classroom setting as mini-lessons, or they might be recommended as a last-minute, quick resource for issues that may crop up during research projects.
Technical Requirements: Flash player, IE as a web browser offers better functionality over Mozilla or Chrome.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: This collection is easy to use without instructions or training. It offers grammar help for most common grammar problems. The materials offer answers to common issues students may have but "were afraid to ask" or could not find in their texts. The information is pulled from Fogarty's published work of the same name as her website. In addition to the Grammar Girl, the collection contains a public speaker collection that could prove very useful.
Concerns: The website is cluttered with content that deviates from its original purpose. There are social media links, links to random articles on assorted topics, a job search engine, links to Amazon.com (to purchase books), subscription options, and links to English-content topics, as well as links to other sites in a number of different categories in a heading named "Quick and Dirty Tips..." There are, not surprisingly, blatant advertisements for Fogarty's other published books.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: The site offers brief, clear answers to grammar questions.
Concerns: The site is too cluttered and may impede users' progress in locating information and concentrating on their intended task. Distracting options to read random articles, chat on Facebook, or buy something from Amazon.com are detrimental features; in addition, the color scheme of the site, mostly shades of red with touches of beige, contributes to the "urge to multitask and frantically click on link after link" instead of acquiring answers and getting back to work.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: The site is intuitive and does not require instructions for the user.
Concerns: The name could cause a problem for students who try to access the website on public Wi-Fi or company internet. One reviewer was denied access on institutional Wi-Fi because the name was considered offensive. In addition, ease of use may be hindered by the presence of a great deal of extraneous content.

Other Issues and Comments: There are other websites that offer succinct answers to grammar and usage questions. Such websites answer questions and provide links to relevant sites without the visual clutter and unrelated content.