“Understanding Prejudice” is a web-based collection of learning materials developed by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan University and established in 2002 with funding from the National Science Foundation and McGraw-Hill Higher Education. The collection includes extensive resources related to prejudice including web links, reading recommendations, interactive exercises and demonstrations, multimedia, and searchable databases. This website is intended to supplement a McGraw-Hill anthology entitled Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination; however, all pages and activities are freely available and can be used with other texts or on their own. Through a comprehensive set of tools and resources, learners can use the collection to gain a better understanding of the prejudice and discrimination. Although the site was originally designed for college students, there are materials that would be appropriate for use by elementary and secondary school teachers.
Type of Material:
This website is a collection of materials related to prejudice.
• This site is an excellent resource for a course in which prejudice, discrimination, multiculturalism, and/or diversity are covered, in whole or in part. Readings, videos, exercises, and demonstrations are available that can be used to illustrate concepts in class or as homework. Teachers will find the tips, sample syllabi, activities, assignments, bibliographies, and "springboards for discussion" highly useful in making lesson or course plans. The directory of experts can be used to provide answers to questions in their areas of research or to provide mentoring for students from underrepresented groups (e.g., racial or ethnic minority students, first-generation college students, or students with disabilities). Teachers and students can search for social justice organizations (as the basis for an assignment, especially ones related to service learning).
• The presented information is recommended for use in distant, hybrid, or flipped learning classrooms where students can reference this collection for independent research or learning. The comprehensive nature of the collection makes the uses relatively unlimited and makes the website valuable to anyone interested in learning more about this topic.
• Most aspects of this site do not require any technology beyond an Internet browser. The reviewers were able to successfully access the site using all of the following: Mozilla Firefox 31.3, Windows Internet Explorer 9, and Google Chrome 39.
• Some videos and interactive exercises will require Java and Flash. Adobe Flash can be downloaded for free at http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer.html. Java can be downloaded for free at https://www.java.com/en/download/windows_xpi.jsp?locale=en.
• Most learning objects on this site can be accessed without the need to create an account. However, some aspects of the site will require the user to enter demographic information or create a free account in order to access the information.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
• The learner will develop a deeper understanding of prejudice, discrimination, multiculturalism, and diversity, both within her- or himself and in society as a whole.
Target Student Population:
• The primary targeted student population consists of college students. The site seems to be particularly appropriate for undergraduate students in the social sciences, although there are elements of the site that can be used by college faculty, elementary and secondary teachers, and graduate students.
• The material is relevant for courses that cover the concept of prejudice (Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Cultural Studies, Social Science, etc.).
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Little to no prerequisite knowledge is required. No prior courses are needed to understand the material; however, using the site in conjunction with an ongoing course will help students organize and process the material in a more useful and meaningful way than they might if exploring the site on their own.
• This site is well-designed and up-to-date. Resources included are plentiful (over 2000 links to prejudice-related sources). Notably, the site is part of the Social Psychology Network (SPN), a suite of nonprofit web sites supported by the National Science Foundation, other organizations, and more than 14,000 members. SPN founder (and creator of Understanding Prejudice) Scott Plous is an APA/APS fellow and a member of the SPSSI council. He has received numerous awards for teaching and service to society.
• This collection is outstanding. It provides many different ways to learn about the topic using many different tools (e.g., media, interactive activities, reading resources, database searches). It also offers a very comprehensive view of the topic: race, gender, culture, and general concepts related to prejudice. The collection does an excellent job of listing and linking out to references.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• The wealth of materials on this site can be used to explain, describe, and illustrate aspects of prejudice, discrimination, multiculturalism, and diversity. Any student who uses the site, especially in an intentional and structured way, will come away with a deeper understanding of these concepts.
• The sheer number of resources on the site assures that any teacher searching for course material will find something s/he can use--whether it is a syllabus template, a student assignment, a class demonstration, or an out-of-class reading list. In fact, teachers may come back to the site repeatedly as they refine courses in which they use the materials. The ways in which the site can be used by teachers and students are limited only by their imaginations. In addition, the site can appeal to multiple learning styles--there are readings for the visual learner, videos for the auditory learner, and activities for the kinesthetic learner. Most of the exercises and demonstrations provide immediate feedback.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
• The website is well-organized and well-designed. Pages are easy to read and navigate. A menu bar on the left of the screen clearly identifies the major areas of the site and what will be found there. Each page contains a description of the content and instructions for its use. All links seem to be in good working order.
• The site is organized so that teachers and students can clearly determine the available types of learning materials and can easily access them; that is, the site makes it easy to find readings, exercises, demonstrations, and videos.
• Overall, the website is visually appealing and engaging. It is not simply a database of resources; it is a learning tool that is interactive, educational and of high design quality.
Other Issues and Comments:
This website is an outstanding collection for an instructor to use as a tool for teaching and learning. The site provides sample lessons, syllabi, discussion questions, teaching tips, activities and assignments. The collection covers a broad range of topics related to understanding prejudice and provides guidance designed to that support learners' growth. Classification of resources based on grade level helps instructors choose which resources would be best for their classroom.
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