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Peer Review

What is a Cable Modem



Overall Numeric Rating:

3.5 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 31, 2009 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: This website is designed to provide concise answers to frequently asked questions about two-way, standards-based cable modems and the related technology. Each section is stand-alone, from the view point of 1998. Content covers: definition of cable modem, where the cable modem technology fits in, CATV, types of cable modems, installation, users and vendors, architecture, down/up stream, MAC, standards and benefits. This site also contains articles related to the cable modem industry, related forum discussions, pictures, testing resources and a selection of related links.
Type of Material: Although billed as a tutorial by the author, this is a collection of reference materials.
Recommended Uses: This material could be used to develop the historical part of a PowerPoint presentation on the subject of cable modems.
Technical Requirements: Computer with javascript compliant browser, connection to the Internet. Printer and pdf reader optional.
Identify Major Learning Goals: After completing the content, the student will have knowledge of the related terminology, be able to explain a CATV network at a high level, be able to identify types and the internal layout of cable modems, understand the difference between upstream/downstream and the associated data layouts and have a high level understanding of MAC and standards.
Target Student Population: High school or undergraduate networking or computer science programs; introductory course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Knowledge of the OSI model, a basic understanding of protocols, standards and transmission.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The content is clearly explained and correct within the timeframe authored. The informal nature of the discourse makes the information palatable.
Concerns: The information was authored around 1998 and requires significant updating. May be too technical for some students.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Each page has a summary preceding the discussion. The summaries, with updating, lend themselves to a Power Point presentation. With updating, the content could be just-in-time information. As it stands, the information is interesting from an historical perspective. Very effective for proper group.
Concerns: The author did not intend to make the content into a comprehensive explanation of the technology. The content is dated. May be too technical for some students.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: The pages are consistent in design with minimal linkages and good navigational direction. Headers organize the subject matter. There is a linked menu into the content at the start of the site. The page design loads quickly and the pages are easy to read. Easy to use. Has many options
Concerns: May be difficult to get to lectures. Menu bar may cause confusion for those not wishing to use the ancilliary material. Terms are presented in one page but not linked to within the discourse. There is no alternative format for the information other than HTML.

Other Issues and Comments: No real issues. Good Job.