Type of Material:
On-line reference and textbook supplement.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The site is encyclopedic in nature, providing explanations and references.
Target Student Population:
High school and undergraduate.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should have knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. Calculus is used in the discussion of some topics.
Evaluation and Observation
It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive collection of interlinked items for covering Optics and Vision. The tree structure in which the topics are arranged, the details with which the branch topics have been dealt with, and the high degree of detail that is available by clicking on virtually every technical term, makes this site a unique resource.
There is extensive coverage of topics at both introductory and more advanced levels. This includes discussions of both thin and thick lenses, lens aberrations, and applications in optical instruments. In addition, there is a fair amount of material on the perception of color and systems for quantifying color measurement. Finally, there is some material on the visual mechanisms in the eye as well as vision defects and methods of correction.
A couple of topics are somewhat unclear. These are:
Discussion on hue is not clear in spite of a definition being included when hue is introduced.
It is difficult to follow the exposition of halo phenomena using the diagrams provided.
There are other topics that need some expansion - e.g., the part on optical instruments. There is little in this section other than some diagrams and definitions of a few key words. Also, in the discussion of vision defects,there is no discussion of the causes, and the explanation of the methods for correcting them is somewhat brief.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The ability to explore topics through hyperlinks is this site is its greatest asset. Students can easily navigate to those topics where they need additional help while skipping things they have already mastered. Links to this resource can provide students tips and hints in online readings and homework.
This site will be a useful resource for Science Literacy projects world wide,
where there is a desperate need for freeware like this.
The lack of details in some modules curtails their usefulness.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The layout of this site is very well thought out, and an important strength of this resource. The use of maps and connections to link students to topics is a powerful approach to helping them learn.