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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Online Instructional Resources

by Deborah DeZure , Allyn R. Shaw , Lois Rosen , Eron Drake
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 19, 2014 by Faculty Development
Overview: Michigan State University’s Office of Faculty & Organizational Development staff and consultants have reviewed thousands of web resources to select “particularly useful” resources for this comprehensive site. The teaching and learning resources are annotated and organized into 23 major categories each containing subcategories for a total of 172 subcategories across the resource. Each subcategory includes an introduction which explains its structure and/or characterizes its content. Some of the resources are pertinent to multiple categories and thus appear in multiple places.
Learning Goals: This resource would be very useful for an instructor or TA wanting to know or solve a problem about something in particular. It would also be useful for faculty developers who want to assign readings before a training session. Finally, it’s a great site to use in a pedagogy course or for preparing future faculty.
Target Student Population: Faculty, TAs, Adjunct Faculty, Future Faculty, Professional Development Professionals
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Reference Material
Recommended Uses: Faculty Developers could refer instructors to resources on a specific teaching topic or a faculty member could browse or search information on a particular topic themselves.
Technical Requirements: Browser and Adobe Acrobat Reader

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The research required to identify the resources in this site is impressive. Even now, many authoritative resources in teaching and learning are in print monograph or article format available only via university library databases. The introductions for each subcategory and the annotations for each resource are very helpful. Knowing that these resources have been selected by professionals makes the site trustworthy. There are extra resources for STEM disciplines; however, the great majority of linked materials are relevant to all disciplines.
Concerns: A few quibbles: 1. While the learning styles subcategory is very well done, recent research concludes that there is no benefit to teaching either to or against learning styles. In other words, there is no evidence to date that learning styles matter in teaching and learning. 2. Similarly, there has been much written about the Millennials; however, recent discussion de-emphasizes this. 3. The section on Developing a Course Website using Microsoft FrontPage2000 for the audience of Michigan State. Many institutions are using LMS now and even beyond that there are other easier options such as Wordpress, Google Sites, Weebly, and Wiki tools. 4. Information on Accessibility is also found under Developing a Course Website. Given the importance of the topic, it would merit its own subcategory.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Teaching and Learning Resources makes up the largest part of the site, with Teaching Methods having 37 subcategories ranging from First Day of Class to Flipped Classroom. The comprehensiveness and cross-disciplinary relevance of this part of the site make it particularly useful. Teaching in the Disciplines is a new resource that is designed to complement the general and cross-disciplinary resources in the rest of the Online Instructional Resources website. Most of the subcategories are science disciplines; however, the humanities are also represented. Teaching to the Competencies is also a new resource that is designed to support MSU's Liberal Learning Goals and Outcomes as well as provide additional resources focused on competency-based education.
Concerns: Teaching with Technology is incredibly fast moving and challenging to keep up with. It would help if there were a couple of resources on teaching with social media and the use of mobile devices.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The website is clearly formatted and easy to navigate. The introductions for each subcategory help the user quickly ascertain whether s/he is likely to find needed resources there. The annotations for each resource help the user decide whether that resource will provide needed information.
Concerns: It is a huge challenge to keep the links current in a site like this. There are multiple broken links. Clicking the links under Teaching in the Disciplines and MSU’s Liberal Learning Goals accesses the appropriate pages, but not at the top. This requires the viewer to scroll up.