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.
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.
The material can be used in the classroom or at home. It can also be used for blended courses or as a supplemental resource.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!