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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


What's the Buzz?

by Connie Young , Connie Young
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Dec 13, 2012 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The site provides 2 short online videos focusing on the disappearance of the bees as a vital pollinator for the environment especially the reproduction of plants in China and the United States. It highlights the problem and the manmade solution adopted by both countries. The site also provides teaching tips, a transcript of the video and lesson plans on how to use this site as teaching resource. First time users can view up to 7 resources without registering. Registration is free, however, and allows the user to create and save folders, groups with their own profile. It’s an authoritative site reaching out to teachers with digital media content for the classroom and for professional development.
Learning Goals: • Students will be able to garner a quick overview about the pollination concern and how it can relate to the Principles of Microeconomics on ‘Market Failure and Externalities’ chapter, in particular the concept of ‘Positive Externality’
Target Student Population: • Beginner/Introductory/Survey Economics, Introduction to Microeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics • Non-economics students taking an Microeconomics as a minor
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computer skills and foundational knowledge of the concepts of economics. Access to the Internet
Type of Material: Web-based presentation with interactive video with audio explanation that the learner can use to respond to economic based questions. Length is 6 minutes.
Recommended Uses: • The presentations can be used as an opening OR a summary/closure to the chapter on ‘Market Failure and Externalities’ both in class and online. • It can also be used to facilitate in-class and/or online discussion to connect to the related concepts covered. • The online videos can also be used as a team project or report to relate the content to their immediate surroundings and how issues are being death with in the current times. • The instructor can take advantage of the lesson plans provided in its entirety or modify it based on its intended audience.
Technical Requirements: Browsers: Internet Explorer & Firefox, Flash

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • The video is very focused on the impact of bees on the pollination process and the environmental effect • Provides easy to understand explanation of bees • Identifies a clear and succinct set of learning objectives based • Provides lesson plans, rubrics and question handouts for faculty application in the classroom. • The illustrations are of a high quality and provide a succinct view of the impact of dwindling pollination on world food supply with the departure of bees.
Concerns: • Had very little introduction to presentation • The author provided little background on the topic, no real explanation of economic impact • Very specific course content, difficult to use outside of the effect of bees on the economy of a village in China • Website needs to direct/drive the faculty to the materials provided for classroom use • This is not a concern but an observation that the website does not reach out to the ‘economics’ discipline and thus the instructor will need to make the connection of the economic concepts – market failure and positive externalities – to the videos.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: • Video demonstrates economic concepts and principles effect the Chinese marketplace(social and environmental issues) • Learners are able to learn about environmental, social issues, and consumerism in one presentation • The instructor can take advantage of the ‘Teaching Tips’ and the lesson plans provided at the website both in class and online. It can also be used to facilitate in-class and/or online discussion to connect to the related concepts covered.
Concerns: • Did not find an indication of what perquisite knowledge would be required for this presentation • Learners need to understand the web site presentations are designed around economic impact of loss of bees • Single focus presentation, did not define learning to be accomplished • Although it’s indicated in the Teaching Tips directions that it’s ‘best suited for middle school students’, it can easily be used to quickly introduce or review the concepts on ‘market failure and positive externalities’ beyond middle school. Perhaps if that language is edited on the website to reach out to a larger audience.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Website was easy to connect to and easy to maneuver on the page • Webpage had a link to other optional websites that discuss “Colony Collapse Disorder” for example • The main strength of both these videos is the lively and captivating animation that condenses so much information into short 6 and 3 minutes presentations respectively. Although the video was done in 2009, the content is still very relevant today as the disappearance of bees is still on the rise. • There are additional web and print resources provided from the Nature/PBS source website.
Concerns: • Needed to be more explanation as to how the presentations would or could be applied to an academic setting • Introduction to the video needs to be better explained and defined. • The Learner needs to be able to understand not only impact in China but potentially to the world farming economy

Other Issues and Comments: Disappearance of the Bees - What's the Impact? --A concise and comprehensive documentary that provides a history of when Chinese farmers in South Sichuan Province, the largest producers of pears in that region of China, alerted the government to the absence of bees and that the year's crop was endangered, the government's unprecedented response was to insist on hand-pollination. Meanwhile, farmers in the United States, faced with the same dilemma, wonder if this method will someday, too, be their fate. This video segment adapted from Nature: Silence of the Bees discusses the impact of the bees’ disappearance, as well as the effects Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has on pollination and the world food supply. Presentation has video with audio explanation that the learner can use to respond to questions. Would work well with faculty teaching Learners in the 4-12 grades.