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Peer Review

Viperlib: visual perception library

by Rob Stone , Peter Thompson


Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 15, 2013 by Psychology
Overview: Viperlib is a web-based collection of images and presentation materials (including entire tutorials) about many aspects of visual perception. As described on the website, "all materials are given freely by the vision research community and are available for educational or research, non-profit use only." Registration is required, but it is free of charge. Also noted on the website: "Viperlib is directed by Peter Thompson and Rob Stone at the Department of Psychology, University of York, YO10 5DD, UK and is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) under the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL4)."
Learning Goals: • OVERALL LEARNING GOAL: To learn about visual perception and its role in helping us to interpret and understand our surroundings. • The site is primarily aimed at academic staff, who can select particular items for use. However, students could use the tutorials, and would enjoy browsing the ‘illusions’ section. Also, the page of links provides an excellent overview of the world of vision science.
Target Student Population: Students from middle school through graduate students as well as professionals would benefit from this information. There are low level examples that are fun through rather advanced ones that will require in-depth study of additional materials.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisite knowledge is needed to use the site. More advanced areas will require additional knowledge or research to fully use the information on the site.
Type of Material: Collection
Recommended Uses: • The collection would be useful in any course or study of visual perception. Links to multiple examples across all areas of visual perception, including but not limited to anatomy & physiology, attention, color, depth, motion, and illusions are included. • The presented material could inform lectures, academic web pages, seminars, tutorials, students’ presentations and projects, class tests, and other coursework.
Technical Requirements: Internet access is required. The site was successfully tested using recent versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • This is an open collection that comprehensively covers all areas of visual perception. • The collection includes numerous PowerPoint tutorials. • The collection provides a multitude of useful web links uploaded by the team and members of the site to provide material on visual perception. The variety of materials can supplement course material on visual perception, but many sites/materials provide sufficient information for those interested in each area.
Concerns: • Some links to originating websites are broken. • The contributors sometimes do not suggest what we can learn from their material, or the explanation takes time to find on their originating website.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Multiple examples across a variety of areas provide a wide range of ways to explain the different aspects of visual perception. Most examples link to original websites. • Some tutorials are very interactive, engaging and user-friendly.
Concerns: • Several tutorials contain broken links; therefore, they cannot be accessed. • Because the tutorials are written by different authors, their quality varies significantly. • Some examples may require significant additional research depending on the level of explanation needed.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • The site is easy to use once one is registered. It incorporates user-friendly indexing and search facility. The menu on the homepage works easily from several browsers tested. • Every item can be rated by users. • Material can be reused without infringing copyright. (Sources must be acknowledged, however.)
Concerns: • Some links take one to a main page, rather than to the exact page of interest; thus some will require multiple clicks to find a particular example posted on Viperlib. • Some pages refer to an ‘extra information’ link, which does not exist. It appears to have been renamed ‘Websource’. • Some hyperlinks are broken.

Other Issues and Comments: Viperlib is an excellent collection of learning materials and a wonderful resource for both instructors and students.