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Peer Review


by Mark Holah , Jamie Davies


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 3.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 22, 2014 by Psychology
Overview: This collection of resources provides the opportunity for psychology instructors to share course materials (handouts, activities, videos, quizzes, presentations, etc). The site is geared at the UK, so while most materials are in English, there are other languages represented in the resource collection as well. At present, there are 10,000 various resources available. Most resources have been uploaded to the website and are available to download; videos are embedded from other hosting sites (primarily YouTube).
Type of Material: Collection
Recommended Uses: The materials in this collection would be beneficial to assist a faculty member in preparing for class. As a faculty exchange site, faculty would have the opportunity to search for materials to supplement a specific class; materials can be searched by key word, tags or resource type.
Technical Requirements: • A basic web browser is required. • The collection contains a host of resources; viewing each specific resource file type will require the relevant program (primarily, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint). • One reviewer successfully viewed and accessed materials on a PC (Windows 7) with IE and Microsoft Office 2010 with no problems. A second reviewer accessed the site in Google Chrome 31.0 and did not experience any difficulties in viewing any content on this site. • Note: The site requires registration and login to view, download, or upload any content. [Paid subscriptions are available, but this review covers only the free account.]
Identify Major Learning Goals: As a collection, the site is geared toward faculty rather than students. So, the goals are not learning goals, per se. The objectives of this site are to provide resources to assist faculty in their classroom teaching endeavors, so use of this site should broadly enhance the classroom experience while increasing the range of materials available to faculty.
Target Student Population: This resource would work well with both an undergraduate and graduate population, as the materials range considerably in both subject matter and level of detail. However, the materials are primarily aimed at faculty teaching undergraduate courses. As most materials are downloadable, faculty would have the option of modifying them to meet their specific instructional needs.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • There is a wide range of content available (at the time of the review, approximately 10,000 artifacts). Materials available for view and download include videos, worksheets, and other items.
Concerns: • Of the content sampled as part of the review, there was considerable variability in quality. Materials ranged from very effective lecture or classroom activities to poor quality videos with limited utility. If an instructor had the time to search through each material, they would likely to be able to locate quality materials. • A review of topics (via browsing and in the tag cloud) suggests that the site does not incorporate reach-out efforts to broaden the collection or to broaden participation in the site; rather, materials in a particular content area may gravitate towards posts by one individual. • Evaluation of usefulness of content is not built into this site, though comments from users may be used to gauge the usefulness of content.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • There are a wide range of materials available. As such, if someone was seeking a resource, this is a good place to explore for classroom supplements. Not only is a wide range of topics available, but there are a number of different resource types.
Concerns: • The effectiveness is directly related to the quality of the materials located. As mentioned previously, there is not a system for gauging the quality of the resources without directly exploring each one.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: • There are a variety of ways to locate materials. One can search by key word, tag or item type. In addition, there are opportunities to exchange ideas (that are not linked to a resource) and systems for connecting to those in a similar region (reminder: this is in the United Kingdom). Once registered for the system, it is easy to comment and interact in relation to each resource. • In addition to the repository aspect, this site also includes a blog divided by subject of interest (including psychology), a link out to recent psychology news in the UK, and trendy features such as tag clouds, a Twitter feed, FB and Google + share options, and a filtered “hot topics” area on the PsychExchange homepage that updates on refresh (and which is divided by individuals’ names with most resources posted, individuals’ names with the most comments, most likes, most video uploads by person, hot resources, most liked comments, and most recent resources and comments). This area appears highly social and even somewhat competitive. Each of these latter elements help in making the page appear modern and fresh. The search feature is interesting—searching by tag is a nice twist.
Concerns: • The site requires registration and login to view, download, or upload any content. This may decrease the number of individuals interested in participating with this site. The manner for navigating is somewhat convoluted and no instructions are provided anywhere on the site for how to locate resources. • Due to the layout and navigation challenges, researching particular topics may not yield easily viewable information. • The sheer range of materials and resources is a bit overwhelming. Without a system to filter quality, one could spend a significant amount of time searching and exploring without finding good quality materials. • Considerable advertising appears on the space... this is distracting and challenging to the academic nature of the site.

Other Issues and Comments: • The PsychExchange serves as a resource for faculty and others needing psychology resources to locate, review, download, and even upload resources. A review of the content as well as member comments suggests it can be very useful for faculty new to prepping in particular content areas, or looking to enliven current areas of content that they teach. • The concept behind the faculty exchange is a good one. However, efficient use of the site may be a challenge. With no system of peer or editorial review, it is up to the viewer to find, evaluate and organize the materials into a meaningful fashion. Thus, while there are very good resources available, it can take significant time to find artifacts of value.