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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Educational Psychology Interactive

by William Huitt
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.5 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3.5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 30, 2013 by Psychology
Overview: This website contains a collection of psychology-related content resources divided into two main sections: a) Educational Psychology (called Directory of Ed Psych Links); b) personal development as it relates to self and mentorship (called Becoming a Brilliant Star). Each of these two (2) main divisions serves as a collection point for URLs to other websites. Overall, this site serves as a repository of links relevant to Educational Psychology, across disciplines in which Educational Psychology is taught (Education, Psychology, Human Development, etc.). It is particularly relevant for faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and others with the need for access to basic theories and useful learning materials from the psychology discipline.
Learning Goals: The user will learn about a variety of topics in educational psychology, including a proposed instructional framework advanced by the site's author.
Target Student Population: The materials appear most appropriate for students in undergraduate studies who are in an educational field of study (e.g., teacher education or educational psychology).
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: • Basic computer usage skills are needed for viewing this website. • To make optimal use of the site, users should have some basic familiarity with educational psychology to facilitate their exploration of topical areas.
Type of Material: This is a collection of links to a variety of informative resources (e.g., blogs, other websites, descriptive areas on specific topics). The collection is primarily self-directed and does not guide the user through explanations or exercises until the user begins exploring topics of interest.
Recommended Uses: The site provides a list of materials that could be useful for instructors to include in their curriculum planning as well as supplemental materials that students could review independently. For example, this website would be a useful addition to a class syllabus as it contains resources that students may consult for general psychology information.
Technical Requirements: A basic web browser is needed. The website was tested successfully with IE 9 and Google Chrome 23.0.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: • The site presents a large collection of informational resources and organizes them by topical areas. A table of contents aids the user in learning about areas of interest. • The information appears to be drawn from a wide collection of scholarly resources, and the site includes both literary and video sources. • This resource could easily be provided in a syllabus or in a LMS, with instructions noting various subtopics of interest.
Concerns: • The applicability of this site lies chiefly in basic information collection. While numerous links are provided, they are basic link-outs to other sites, with no explanations and thereby no intrinsic value except to serve as a repository of links related to Educational Psychology. • The abundance of information could be overwhelming at times, especially due to the manner of presentation (large blocks of text and embedded links). The landing page does not immediately present broad topics, but rather the user must select either the Directory of Ed Psych Links or one of the EdPsych Materials links. This makes the material somewhat less accessible to the average user. Users need to have familiarity with at least some of the more fundamental topics in educational psychology to make effective use of the site. • For teaching purposes, this particular resource would require the instructor to provide an explanation of how it might be used (e.g., to begin internet-based research on topics for assignments). Many areas of Educational Psychology are addressed, some in more depth than others; instructors would need to direct students in connecting and integrating the many concepts presented/ linked on the site.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: • The predominant value of this site is in the collection of links to other websites; to that end, it serves as a useful tool. It provides a wealth of materials that could be utilized by an instructor to supplement course content or to aid in student learning. The Directory page helps divide materials by topical areas and the Topics pages provide embedded links to related information; this helps guide a student from one topical area to another relevant area. • The site also has a link to a separate “blog” site, which could be useful and interesting to students if kept up to date. • The large collection of links across many areas of interest makes it useful as a resource across numerous classes and/or assignments.
Concerns: • The primary purpose of this website is to serve as a collection point and categorization tool for viewers to locate information specific to sub-disciplines in Educational Psychology. No learning objectives are identified by this site, and no formal prerequisite knowledge is identified. However, prerequisite understanding of the sub-disciplines of educational psychology would be useful for exploration of this site and location of appropriate website resources. Without prior knowledge of educational psychology, it may be difficult to discern which areas are relevant. • It is left open to the student to determine what he/she would like to learn about, and no suggestions are provided for where readers should first begin their studies. It may not be obvious to some users that they should select the Topics link (which appears small and inconspicuous on the front page) to begin exploring or learning about specific topics. • The amount of information presented may be overwhelming to some students due to its manner of presentation (e.g., the page on Piaget includes a wealth of information, but does not include hyperlinks for sections or clear divisions for major concepts).

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: • As a general resource directing users to other resources, this website is simple and easy to navigate. It contains clear labels indicating which of the two major areas to click when navigating on the main page. It also contains a link to a blog, which if maintained and populated with recent information would likely enhance the appearance and perception of timeliness of the website. • It includes a feature on the main page for browsing on a mobile device, which is a nice touch and makes the site more user-friendly and up-to-date. (As tested on an IPAD 2, the mobile version offers a gateway page with a vertical list of links.). • The site includes links for topical lists of specified materials (e.g., videos, readings, websites, and topics). Highlighted concepts within topical areas are often hyperlinks to additional information on those specific topics. • The format (text on white background) is simple and not distracting. • Figures are provided to help explain concepts. • Overall, the site is easy to use (simply click on areas of interest).
Concerns: • This site is static and does not include any interactive elements that might engage users to stay on the page longer. The design past the landing page appears outdated, relying on multiple text-link menus for navigation. • The site is very spartan, which is not distracting, but also may not provide the most attractive presentation. • Users may overlook the main links on the front page for topical lists of specified materials (e.g., videos, readings, websites, and topics). Instructions are not provided on how to best progress through materials.

Other Issues and Comments: Copyright restrictions may preclude the ability to easily share these materials. Among other requirements, a copyright statement on the homepage communicates the following: “Requests for permission to reproduce or distribute materials available on this website should be sent to: William G. Huitt, PhD email: whuitt (at) valdosta (dot) edu.” While it appears that the site is openly linkable, extensive restrictions may deter some users.