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Peer Review

How Everyday Things Are Made

by Mark Martin


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 18, 2008 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: Hosted by Stanford University's Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing, this site contains tutorials and videos narrated by Dr. Mark Martin that show how common items are manufactured. Production processes for products including chocolate, glass, clothing, airplanes, cars, jellybeans are shown from start to finish. Site also provides descriptions of various product development and manufacturing processes including rapid prototyping, die casting, and blow molding. It also includes some self tests, career information, bibliographic information, and online tours.
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: Supplementary homework or self directed tutorial, possibly could be used as an in-class resource.
Technical Requirements: Optimized for DSL/Cable speeds or greater. Macromedia FlashPlayer plugin (6.029 or greater) required.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Basic understanding of various manufacturing processes and how they are used in making familiar products. The site contains tutorials and videos that describe how 40 common items are made. Some of the items included are candy, cars, and airplanes. Several manufacturing processes are also described.
Target Student Population: High school, college, technical school. Could be used for an introductory or non-majors course in industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, or a course in operations management or with a unit on operations management.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some background in manufacturing terminology would be useful. The site is designed for a beginning level user.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Well integrated set of units on a wide variety of manufacturing settings and concepts. Concepts are demonstrated visually through the videos. Highly self-contained tutorial for an interested user.
Concerns: Underlying scholarship is not overt (nor should it be given the goals of the site.)

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very well structured development of concepts, effective use of student activities for engagement. Highly efficient as a tutorial on manufacturing processes in a highly engaging format. The site is interesting and does a good job of describing manufacturing processes in a way that is appropriate for a wide audience.
Concerns: For some of the videos not a lot of explanation of concepts is provided. In those cases, the presentation is far more visual than expository.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very easy to use, self guided site. Very visually appealing and interactive. Exhibits and videos are of high quality. The narration is interesting and holds the learner's attention.
Concerns: None.

Other Issues and Comments: This is really an outstanding resource and a lot of fun to go through.