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Peer Review

Women War and Peace

by , Abigail Disney


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 31, 2014 by History Editorial Board
Overview: Women, War & Peace is a five-part PBS series that examines war from a woman's perspective. Episodes address topics such as women's rights and related social issues through the lens of war and peace, women's roles in wartime (both as civilians and as warriors), and the influences war has had on women and vice versa.
Type of Material: A series of videos accompanied by interactive Flash-based content. Videos may be downloaded or payed directly from teh hosting web site. The content is offered on DVD.
Recommended Uses: As a learning object and/or teaching tool for topics and classes in women's history, social history, world history, and war and peace studies come to mind immediately as areas where this could be a useful site.
Technical Requirements: Adobe Flash Player, I-Tunes/I-Pod (as an optional downloadable format for audio and video)
Identify Major Learning Goals: The individual lesson plans under the "For Educators" tab include detailed learning goals oriented around both individual episodes and larger historical forces.
Target Student Population: Grades 9 through 12 seem to be the target student audience based upon lesson plans included in the "For Educators" section of the web site. However, other lessons include target audiences as young as 5th grade. Looking through the material, however, it would also be appropriate for many college-level classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Content pre-requisites would certainly include world geography and current events. A basic background in modern world history would similarly be needed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The strengths of this Web site are certainly that students have access to clips from the episodes. This review focuses on the lesson plans themselves, and I think the discussion questions are excellent. The video clips are well chosen for the lesson plans. It allows students to actively watch the documentary.
Concerns: There seems to be a large number of ancillary links to political action groups, which gives an agenda-driven flavor to this site rather than a simple informative direction that many other PBS sites have.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Lesson plans are potentially very effective.
Concerns: Judging by some of the Hollywood actors and actresses chosen to narrate it, and their own political leanings, one has to question how much "drama" and political agenda may have been interjected into the series.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Very easy to use and to navigate...almost intuitive in its navigation. As an educator, I like the ready-to-use lesson plans included with each video/episode of the series.
Concerns: There's a map on the home page titled "Stories by Location." It has a pop-out window that gives the name of the location selected and asks the user to click a link inside for content relative to the chosen location; this window slides out from the side of the screen and effectively prevents the user from accessing six of the eleven possible targeted choices.

Other Issues and Comments: All in all, a good site that could be used for a large number of classes/content (world history, women's studies, war and peace studies, localized international studies, etc...) as well as an equally wide variety of student audiences.