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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Institute of Gerontology (IOG) Wayne State University

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Dec 18, 2013 by Psychology
Overview: This website is an outreach and promotional site for Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology. It provides four (4) predominant sections of information: Research, Education, Outreach, and Partnerships. Content focuses on gerontology and topics related to this field of study, such as caregiver support and healthy aging. While some of the information is most useful to those in Detroit (including local research and events), the Resources link, particularly Senior & Caregiver Resources, should be useful to anyone interested in aging. The website communicates that the materials are designed for “promoting successful aging in Detroit and beyond.”
Learning Goals: The site serves as a repository of resources for individuals interested in learning more about the overall field of gerontology, and visitors will learn about aging individuals as well as issues for their families, caregivers, and professionals in gerontology.
Target Student Population: Any students interested in aging would benefit from the materials on this site, and learners from junior high through advanced degrees would find useful information. The site is particularly applicable to students new to the concepts of aging and gerontology, as the content provided is generally brief. Further, caregivers, families, and health care professionals may benefit from the resources here. The site also includes information about continuing education opportunities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisite knowledge is needed.
Type of Material: Reference Material (a university-linked website that serves as a collection of information related to the field of gerontology)
Recommended Uses: • Since this site is a collection of educational resources, it is challenging to assign a particular type of activity to it. However, faculty members may wish to include the site as a resource or reference in class syllabi and/or course websites. •Individuals in the Detroit area have one place to search for resources and research opportunities. Outside Detroit, the Helping Handbooks will assist caregivers, health care professionals, and families of those in long term care. (See Resources, then Handbooks & Publications).
Technical Requirements: • The website was successfully viewed using current versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer (IE 9). • Some Adobe Flash appears on this site, so the user will need to have this plug-in enabled in order to view all content.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • The website incorporates very useful, well organized information for those in and around Detroit – also for those needing continuing education in gerontology. • The content provided is easily understood and includes relevant and recent citations. • Reference material that is provided is of good value and provides basic and useful link-outs to other websites. A major contribution of this website is its collection of links to other sites.
Concerns: • The site is a little difficult for those outside the Detroit area. At first glance, visitors who are not based in Detroit may notice the useful information under Resources but then leave the page before they find it. • The site does not provide comprehensive content across the field of gerontology, and it may benefit from further sub-dividing the resources it offers.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: • Overall, the site contains a great deal of information for professionals, students, families, and aging individuals. • It is particularly strong in serving as a resource for students at Wayne State University and for individuals in the Detroit area.
Concerns: • The site is not in and of itself an educational tool; therefore, there are no learning objectives, and information is not presented in such a way as to make connections with prior knowledge or previous learning. However, it is noteworthy that some very good content is several layers deep and could be better presented to a more general population via further highlighting. Perhaps a special topic or site of the month?

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • For someone with even minimal Internet experience, this is a very easy site to maneuver. • The text only and site map features are great additions to this site; these features make it far more accessible and navigable for all users. • The layout and design are fresh and appear very contemporary. The four (4) separate sections (Research, Education, Outreach, and Partnerships) are clearly labeled, and each sub-section is also clearly labeled and easy to understand.
Concerns: • One concern that seriously limits the general utility of this site is that the presented studies appear to be limited to populations only in the local area or perhaps at the local university. If this site is aimed for more general usage, it would be beneficial to add studies that are available to the general public. In addition, it would be useful to add a subcategory that divides local and general research projects.