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Peer Review

New Deal Network



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 03, 2004 by History Editorial Board
Overview: New Deal Network is a portal to the world of the Great Depression and the New Deal. The site includes lesson plans, photo and document archives, links to web sites/libraries/museums. The site creators are the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Type of Material: Collection with photographs, movie stills, primary documents, and personal narratives related to the Depression and the New Deal.
Recommended Uses: To supplement a course on the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. There are a series of lesson plans for high school teachers on the site. The one about the films of the Depression era was excellent and could easily be converted to college use. The site works well for class assignments. The Depression era photographs certainly enhance any 20th century United States History course.
Technical Requirements: Some computer skills would be helpful.
Identify Major Learning Goals: To acquaint students with a deeper understanding of the United States during the Great Depression and its impact on indivuduals and communities by exploring how the New Deal legislation improved the lives of ordinary Americans affected by the Great Depression.
Target Student Population: Middle School, High School, and college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some knowledge about the causes of the Great Depression would be helpful.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site provides an extensive list of materials from the FDR presidency to explain the New Deal and its impact on the Depression during the 1930s. Lesson plans are provided to facilitate use of content directly into the classroom. The homepage is attractively set up dividing materials into two categories: Research and Study and Features. Links are provided to syllabi, archives/collections, Institutes/Non-profits, Government Agencies, Oral History projects, and Multimedia resources. The site offers a range of materials leaving faculty with discretionary power to select materials most helpful to them in the classroom. Even though the site is large, even encyclopedic, it is arranged in manageable sections that allow its use as a learning object or part of a classroom lecture.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The materials are to be used in junior and senior high school and the instructional materials are designed with that audience in mind. Lesson plans are helpful to directing teachers to methods of content implementation. The original docuoments are useful extensions to a standard text. The photographs should evoke much interest.
Concerns: There are links to college history survey courses. The site would be more useful if the lesson plans and educational materials were also designed for college courses.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: It is easy to navigate the site. The user can easily return to the home page by linking either at the top or bottom of the page. Linking to outside web sites does not get the user lost. All the links work and are clearly explained.
Concerns: Faculty will need to provide more detailed instructions on how to use the content provided. Students at the junior and senior high levels might be overwhelmed with the range of materials. Lesson plans are useful, but teachers will need to provide more input to shape and limit materials used.

Other Issues and Comments: A treasure trove of information on the Depression and the New Deal.