The web resource that I found on MERLOT that I could use in my classroom is a neat website on the Reformation. It can be found HERE. This site has a lot of information that would be very useful to my students. It is also a good example of a STAIR.
I will now evaluate the site using the same evaluation criteria as MERLOT uses.
Quality of Content:
Does the software present valid (correct) concepts, models, and skills?
Yes, the software (website) gives correct information to teach students about the Reformation.
Does the software present educationally significant concepts, models, and skills for the discipline?
Yes, the website is geared to teaching students about the importance of the Renaissance.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool:
What stage(s) in the learning process/cycle could the materials be used?
This resource could be used for an introduction, review or webquest. Students could use this in the Explanation phase, to learn the information. They could also use this in the Practice phase to test their knowledge, or in the Applying phase - and use the information to formulate an essay.
What is(are) the learning objective(s)? What should students be able to do after successfully learning with the materials?
Students will be able to understand the power of the Catholic Church, and the struggle between the church and Martin Luther during the Reformation. Students will be able to explain how the power and scope of the church changed during and after the Reformation.
What are the characteristics of the target learner(s)
The characteristics of the target learners can differ depending on which page being used. While students in middle school classes can find the information written at an appropriate level, there is also more in depth information that could be used in high school or college.
Does the interactive/media-rich presentation of material improve faculty and students' abilities to teach and learn the materials?
The interactive-ness of the material allows students to make choices as to what they'd like to learn more about. It isn't fully interactive, but students are given a list of in depth information that the can learn more about. This allows the learner to tailor the site to their needs.
Can the use of the software be readily integrated into current curriculum and pedagogy within the discipline?
This site would be very easy to use into my current curriculum and teaching methods. I could have the students go on a web quest, or I could use this as an additional link on my web site that would help them get additional information.
Can the software be used in a variety of ways to achieve teaching and learning goals?
This resource is limited in the ways that it can be used. It is mainly text. While it can be used reach some teaching and learning goals, it cannot reach all.
Are the teaching-learning goals easy to identify?
Yes, it is very apparent the goal of the resource is to teach the Reformation.
Can good learning assignments for using the software application be written easily?
Yes, there is so much information on the website, and it is organized in such a good way, it would be easy to create good assignments using this resource.
Ease of Use:
Are the labels, buttons, menus, text, and general layout of the computer interface consistent and visually distinct?
Yes, the site is visually appealing and easy to navigate. It may not be eye catching, but it is not hideous.
Does the user get trapped in the material, Can the user get lost easily in the material?
The site is easy to navigate and the user should find it easy to return to the most basic menu if they find that in their explanation for more knowledge they've dived too deep.
Does the module provide feedback about the system status and the user's responses?
The site does have a quiz, and provides a correct, or incorrect label, but it does not provide extensive feedback.
Does the learning material require a lot of documentation, technical support, and/or instruction for most students to successfully use the software?
The website does have a contact us, and help feature, but I would stop short of calling it tech support.
Does the material present information in ways that are familiar for students?
Yes, the site provides information in text and in pictures - both ways that are easy for students to understand.
Does the material present information in ways that would be attractive to students?
It may not be as interactive and as exciting as some students would like, but it is more interesting and interactive than learning from a book.