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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Microbeworld: Journey Around the World of Microbes

by Chris Condayan
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 04, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: What a great website for learning about microbiology! The site is set up by the American Society of Microbiologists (ASM) as a learning resource for use by anybody with an interest in the topic. It contains many different avenues for learning: This week in Virology, This week in Microbiology, ASM Live, This week in Parasitology, Meet the Scientist, Featured Image, Featured Video, and Microbes After Dark. There are also video libraries.
Learning Goals: There are no specific learning goals (outcomes) provided. However, for those in education at any level, there are resources that will support an endless variety of topics that would be valuable in the classroom. In general, this site will help users learn and understand more about The Microbial World.
Target Student Population: The target student population includes middle school, high school and undergraduate students. Even professionals will benefit from this site.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: There are no prerequisites for this site, although some knowledge of biology will help in understanding what is presented. Most of the materials are aimed at general education as well as microbiology.
Type of Material: ASM calls it a social learning site. It contains reference material, videos, current information, and applications. It defies easy categorization. The site also includes animations and simulations about microbiology.
Recommended Uses: The material can be used in the classroom or at home. It can also be used for blended courses or as a supplemental resource.
Technical Requirements: This site can be viewed using a standard Internet browser with video capabilities. It can can also be accessed with iPod Touch and iPhone.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The information about microbes is accurate and provides a good basic background about the material
  • Large range of topics curated by a scientific society
  • Archives of past material as well as current events
  • The learning objects are interactive and engaging
  • Quality of graphics is good
Concerns:
  • Although there is some organization with sections, it is not clear if this approach follows traditional pedagogy for teaching this subject
  • Some user added information may reflect incorrect information

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths:
  • This site could support an endless variety of assignments and topics with the microbial realm
  • Material is engaging and interesting
  • Student career search information is available
  • Information within and between topics flows very well
  • Users can learn about professionals in microbiology
  • Focus in on virology or parasitism as well as microbiology in general
  • Would support student research into microbiological topics
  • Supports learning about applications of microbiology in both medicine and industry
  • Supports personal collections of materials you find to make it easy to access them in future
Concerns:
  • Most of the material is basically text and images, which may not be very exciting for users who prefer animations

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:
  • Home page is colorful and inviting; buttons make it easy to see categories of materials available
  • The information is organized and follows a logical order
  • All links functioned properly
  • Animations flow very easily
  • Navigation is intuitive
  • Contains a short video on how to use site
  • Membership encouraged but not required
  • Allows individuals to submit materials easily
Concerns:
  • The large range of topics may make it difficult to find specific information

Other Issues and Comments: One of the best professional society sites for non-members that I have seen. There are so many different materials that you could spend all day browsing the site. Will take some time to gain familiarity with the site and learn how to find what piques your personal interest. Great work!