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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success

by Curt Bonk
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jan 06, 2013 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site offers teachers the tools and resources for the instructor to teach online effectively. It is offered as an online open course that was originally presented in spring of 2012 and is now available for teachers, especially at the university and college level. Offered through a platform entitled CourseSites, which is a free resource that allows teachers to add a web-based component to their courses. A variety of resources are presented to the teachers and it allows teachers and students to be connected through various mobile resources such as Twitter and Facebook.
Learning Goals: • The student will learn to develop an open online course to increase student success in an online blended learning environment
Target Student Population: • This resource is geared towards college-level instructors seeking to have interactive blended learning environments in their own coursework • The course may be beneficial to instructors in business and industry to reach an online audience Students from middle, high school and college levels could prepare their own online courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Users of this resource would need to have some preliminary knowledge of online course development, developing wikis and blogs, discussion boards. The content in this site does provide adequate background and how-to steps to aid in the development of these items. Videos support the student along the way.
Type of Material: This is an online course, open for teacher and student access. It does include as part of the course excellent tutorials and training material on establishing an open course and instructions on how to maneuver and establish requirements and content in the CourseSites platform.
Recommended Uses: • Beneficial for college instructors moving to open online instruction platform • Useful for instructors in business and industry to reach a wider audience • Useful for secondary instructors who teach in online learning environment This platform could be used by learning communities to design online courses
Technical Requirements: Users would need to have access to these resources: internet, flash player, audio, video They can access this course and participate using a variety of devices, including iOS™, Android™, Palm® webOS™ and BlackBerry®.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • This open course was significantly designed for college-level instructors seeking to offer courses in an open platform. Topics were covered in-depth and supplemented with articles, web-linked resources, and numerous/relevant videos. • It is up-to-date with current movements in the field of online learning • Information is accurate and supported with quality resources • The learning material is sequential, easy to access • Supporting videos provide solid resources for application and explanations
Concerns: • It takes a few minutes to maneuver. Watching the introductory video establishes the background to proceed but is more than ten minutes in length • Many of the resources are limited to one author, the creator of the course

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • The course is set up sequentially, covering topics instructors do encounter in building an online courses: motivation and retention, addressing learning styles, engaging teaching/instructional ideas, and sharing of experiences in online course development • The segments of the course and sequence are strongly connected • Students who proceed through the course will definitely be able to cover the material in the allotted time (five weeks) or sooner
Concerns: • Learning objectives are embedded in the descriptions and not specifically apparent to the reviewer • Prerequisite knowledge is not identified – learners/students need background knowledge and experience with online delivery • Since the course is not interactive, learners do not have an opportunity to interact with the an integration of curriculum/course building although they do have access to email and appropriate support system • The online open course is not designed to measure student learning outcomes

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Instructions (procedures and steps) very well designed and explained • Accessible on mobile devices • Engaging for the instructor/student seeking to build open online courses • Design quality should be noted – much thought and effort – based on prior online open course work – has led to the development of a solid designed structure that instructors will benefit from • Easy to maneuver, review, move around
Concerns: • It takes a few minutes to begin processing the material – watching the introductory video helpful, but 12 minutes in length and somewhat casual • Not interactive as presented in May of 2012 so instructors/students move through the course segments and view comments already in place; yet, online support and email connections, plus a blog, allows for opportunity to connect • Would definitely need internet connection to use; however, that is the intent of the program

Other Issues and Comments: • This app is updated regularly and the blog keeps the information up-to-date • Resources are up-dated periodically • Research oriented, makes direct use of open online courses already developed