This resource is the website for the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory. The site includes information on the systematics of fungi from technical keys to news and events (mostly in the Washington D.C. area).
Type of Material:
The main webpage provides links to a variety of learning materials: from videos, to animations, to podcasts, and on to interactive dichotomous keys for classifying specimens. The content and presentation of the material varies greatly to reach all different levels of education.
Because the content is so varied, this website could be used in countless ways. Upper level science students at the college level will find the information beneficial for research and career exploration purposes; lower level college science students will find the information relates microbiology and science to everyday life; high school level science students and even elementary students will find activities that will help them implement the scientific method.
Adobe Flash in some cases is required to view some areas on the site.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
None are stated, but the mission of the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, for which this site is the home page, is to "increase the knowledge and application of the systematics of fungi essential to solving problems in sustainable and conventional agriculture."
Target Student Population:
Mostly graduate students or upper division students with a strong background in mycology or plant pathology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A knowledge of fungi and microscopy, to use the keys. Taxonomic literacy to use the databases.
Evaluation and Observation
Some material included here would be hard to find elsewhere
Keys are high quality and interactive
News and events would be useful to people in the D.C. area
Articles might be of general interest to people interested in mycology or systematics
Literature database and nomenclature fact sheets are very high quality
The information on the webpage is accurate, visually appealing and the content is varied to reach all levels and backgrounds of readers; it provides valuable resources not only for college-level students, but K-12 students and faculty alike
All images and videos are good quality and the numerous links are all maintained and functional
Only a few taxa are included, so the value is limited for most people
Database of fungi is not user friendly for non-taxonomists
There is not a lot of material on this site
Key article on the value of sytematics is dated and does not reflect recent advances in systematics
Some of the text in areas is a bit small; there are no ADA compliant videos
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The content on this webpage will significantly increase the knowledge of the user in an engaging, interactive, and fun manner-- for all levels of education. The designers have kept in mind the importance to link the topics for K-career learning, which is very important today
Keys could be useful as examples of online interactive keys
Mycology students or practicing mycologists might find the keys and the databases useful
General articles could be useful in mycology or systematics classes.
Instructors could design assignments using keys or databases
Database of nomenclature has useful search features, but requires understanding of taxonomic concepts to use
Keys and database use a lot of technical jargon
For some, the content may be too rich-- too many choices on the webpage may confuse some users
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Database and keys are easily searchable in a variety of ways
Site is well organized and all links work as intended
The webpage is very easy to navigate with the click of a button.
All material loaded very easily and was accessible
Some of the material information is highly technical and presented in a format that only mycologists would find accessible
For some users, there may be too many links and too much information-- it is possible to drill down too far in tabs and get lost
Other Issues and Comments:
This is an excellent site for mycologists, instructors teaching mycological systematics. The databases on species of quarantine significance, nomenclatural fact sheets (which review the history of taxa), and the interactive keys are all wonderful. This resource is very specialized but for the appropriate users would be of high value.