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Peer Review

Oxford English Dictionary On-Line



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: May 13, 2008 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The OED site provides definitions of English words. Its entry structure is different from that of a dictionary of current English in which only present-day senses are covered, and in which the most common meanings or senses are described first. For each word in the OED, the various groupings of senses are dealt with in chronological order according to corpus evidence. The site also contains a word of the day feature, which gives the pronunciation, etymology, quotation, and date chart and learning resources for guiding teachers to incorporate OED Online into their teaching and introduce students techniques in exploring the OED. In addition, subscribers and users at subscribing institutions can access a full version of the OED online.
Type of Material: Materials available on the site are written information, lesson plans, student worksheets, quizzes, online dictionary, and RSS feeds.
Recommended Uses: Intermediate to advanced learners
Technical Requirements: None
Identify Major Learning Goals: The site provides useful information for users who want to find the meanings of English vocabulary, to find the way to incorporate the use of OED online in their teaching, or to know techniques to explore the riches of the dictionary.
Target Student Population: The site is directed towards teachers and learners in secondary schools to university levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: In order to fully learn English vocabularies, users need to know the English language and the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Users can search for the meaning of words from the homepage. In the “learning resources” link, teachers and learners can find suitable lesson plans and student worksheets for practice in using the online dictionary. The site also provides general news and information in the “OED News”. One can receive links to the Word of the Day by free RSS web feed.
Concerns: This site may not be useful for general users who are not subscribing as members.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The site provides suitable lesson plans for teachers to incorporate the use of the dictionary in their class and student worksheets for students to practice using the dictionary by themselves.
Concerns: The authors may provide other learning materials, lesson plans, and quizzes that do not directly relate to the use of OED.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: It is slightly difficult for new users to use the site. If they know the structure of the site, they can get useful information.
Concerns: Each page should have a link to the home page. Right now, users need to use a back arrow to go back to a previous or homepage.

Other Issues and Comments: None