This material (CROW- “Course Resources on the Web”) is a tremendous repository of various resources and activities, diverse in scope, complexity, and application, that may be used in the classroom as well as for other assignments and projects pertaining to different topic commonly covered in general psychology courses (homework assignments; group projects; research written assignments). The collection includes links to individual psychology course Syllabi; links to professional publications, abstracts, and information sites, PowerPoint presentations and written course papers created by teaching faculty and students, descriptions of projects as conveyed to the author by colleagues in the field (some, with links to the original sources; others- without), as well as the author’s narrative commentary on personal experience implementing various projects and activities. Several links are provided to Web sites providing advertisement and educational resources for individual purchasing. Materials have been added periodically to the collection during the period of 2002 till present (January 2010).
The Collection in presented in an entirely text-based format with entries loosely organized by topics/ subjects typically present in an Introductory Psychology course (even though several links and activities are acknowledged as “not directly a social psychology activity”). The degree of activities and projects described in the Collection varies widely, making the resources applicable in a variety of learning settings: from K-12 to undergraduate and graduate level courses in Psychology.
Materials are organized according to the following subcategories: General/Introduction, Aggression, Helping (Altruism), Attitudes and Behavior, Methods, Attraction, Persuasion, Conformity, Prejudice, Conflict and Peacemaking, Psychology in the Courtroom, Genes, Gender, and Culture, Social Beliefs/Judgments, Group Influence, and The Self (several of these subcategories added in 2010). The number of sources under each subcategory varies (from 3-4 to more than 30); no other organizational tools/ sub rubrics are offered.
The Collection has been created and is updated by Jon Mueller, North Central College, IL and bears a strong evidence of the author’s personal preferences in inclusion of various materials as well as personal assessment of the relative merits of each contribution, as reflected in the author’s narration.
Type of Material:
The website contains a comprehensive collection of resources and links relevant to the teaching of social psychology.
The site is a valuable tool for enhancing face-to-face lectures, designing course assignments/activities, or providing links and ideas for online courses. The site is specifically designed to foster instruction of social psychology; although there are materials that are relevant to assist in teaching other related topics in psychology.
Teachers and other practitioners in the field of psychology can access the resources using the minimal computer-literacy skills as the Collection does not utilize any image- based graphics or animation. Basic Word-processing software (PowerPoint; Adobe Acrobat) is sufficient for site navigation and access to all Collection material. No use of computer audio or video capabilities is warranted. All links were tested using Mozilla Firefox browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The Collection encompasses a substantial amount of resources and suggestions for classroom application, potentially serving a variety of student learning goals. Activities encouraging student active engagement and learning as well as development of critical thinking seem to prevail among the Collection’s materials. The specific learning goals and objectives served by each material and activity would need to be determined by the individual user, however, as each resource may be used in a variety of project formats.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate student population is the primary target; materials may also be helpful for teaching high school AP courses or for generalized graduate coursework.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Prerequisite knowledge and required skills vary by the type of activity/ project and its intended use by each Instructor in facilitating student learning in an individual course.
Over the years, the amount and diversity of materials accumulated in this collection is impressive, varying from classical experiments and exercises used in Social Psychology courses to activities evidencing individual faculty efforts in creativity in the classroom. The resources are organized, easy to use and clearly labeled.
The site author's personal commentary and reflection on selected activities may be viewed as a potential strength of the site. However, they diminish the impression of the scholastic quality of the materials thus introduced. Subcategories used in content organization seem arbitrary, inconsistent, vague, overlapping, and unclear. Contents of individual materials vary- and are difficult to assess as many contain several diverse activities. Inclusion of materials that are text-book specific (and outdated) needs to be reconsidered as such materials are irrelevant for current Instructors. Inclusion of links directing users to advertisements and sales page is not warranted in an academic resource collection. Numerous duplicate materials are confusing in discerning the contents of each individual subcategory.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Provides a wide range of resources to assist social psychology faculty with most teaching issues... from course design to assignments to lectures, there are many options for faculty to utilize resources to enhance the effectiveness of their instruction.
As a "teaching tool", the site is of limited effectiveness. It lacks in organization, consistency, and clarity in material selection and presentation. It shares the same limitations with other similar collections that, over the years, have outgrown its usefulness as an effective source of teaching tools. The site is simply overloaded with materials; visually unappealing; and requires an amount of time (browsing through; sorting out; selection) that is not justified in a current teaching environment.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is well organized and accessible by either resource type or by topic; in addition, there is a search feature that allows key word search.
The site is cumbersome and difficult to use if one is looking for a teaching tool. Other than "back to top", no further navigation tools are provided. The site lacks logic in organization of individual materials into "Subcategories" as well as logic in material organization within each Subcategory. Excessive amount of text accompanying some activities- and lack of any description in others make the site even more difficult to use. The user either has to read through a (poorly presented/ visually unappealing) author's narration- or has to click each individual link to actually see what the activity involves. Numerous links are not working; quite a few necessitate further URL cutting and pasting to actually gain access to the material. What, potentially, could have been a wonderful source of shared teaching tools, in essence, is too disorganized and time consuming to be even considered.
Other Issues and Comments:
To be an effective source of teaching tools, the site is in dire need of reorganization and cleaning out of outdated material; nonworking links; duplication; and text-overload. Breaking the material into more subcategories is warranted. Different organization of material within each Subcategory needs to be considered to achieve some degree of systematic/ logical presentation and consistency.
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