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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 20, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is an institutional site from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute that features many educational materials. Such materials include access to real time and past campaigns on board of their research vessels, instructions on how to build a remote operated vehicle, lab activity packages that can be requested, featured ongoing research, narrated videos on multiple marine biology topics, among others. The site has a clear link to Education that should allow for easier navigation.
Learning Goals: There are no specific student learning outcomes on the site. However, the purpose is clearly to educate the community and students on science and technology with a strong focus on oceanography.
Target Student Population: Although the authors recommend the content for higher education, I think it can be used in high school classrooms. Some of the videos have the potential to be useful for middle school students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A basic understanding of biology would assist users in better understanding this resource.
Type of Material: This is an institutional website which contains many educational materials in the form of guided activities and educational resources, such as videos, collections and reference material. Information is in link based references.
Recommended Uses: The diversity of pages and activities the site offers suggest many different uses. The materials can be used for in class activities (both individual and team), homework as well as lectures. It could also be used for individual study.
Technical Requirements: The technical requirements for this site include a web browser and the ability to view images.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths:
  • The information is accurate and provides a good basic background about the material
  • Interactivity keeps users interested in the material
  • Most of the images are good quality
  • Images are appropriately categorized
  • The content is well organized for the human systems addressed
  • Material is also backed up by ongoing research that is engaging and diverse
Concerns:
  • The website is hard to navigate due to an enormous amount of information. However, it is well designed and once inside the Educational part it becomes a little easier to navigate.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths:
  • It identifies learning goals in general, although not in terms of each activity or resource
  • The videos and reference materials are engaging and efficient.
  • The pedagogy of providing information is a nice blend of learning and interactivity
  • The images shown are colorful and engaging
  • This is a good site for getting an idea of what might be seen in nature
Concerns:
  • Material is basically text and images, which may not be very exciting for users who prefer animations
  • It offers very few assessment tools

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:
  • The packaged activities have very clear instructions
  • Throughout the site there are a lot of very engaging materials
  • Great visuals, very high quality narrated videos ideal for lectures on specific topics (eg. Locomotion in the deep)
  • The information is well organized
  • Site is fast and intuitive
Concerns:
  • Suggested uses of the activities and videos in the classroom are missing

Other Issues and Comments: No additional issues found.