MERLOT Award Winners - 2006
MERLOT is pleased to present the 2006 winners of its Editors' Choice and Classics awards, who will be honored at the 2006 MERLOT International Conference held August 8-11 in Ottawa, Canada.
Biology - Classic
Anne Zeiser, Jason J. Hunke & Karen Cariani, WGBH – Boston
“Evolution” is the companion site to the eight-part PBS documentary on Evolution. The site contains multimedia previews of each of the shows in the series as well as interactive tutorials/exercises related to the theme of each show. The eight themes are Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Great Transformations, Extinction!, The Evolutionary Arms Race, Why Sex, The Mind’s Big Bang, and What About God? In addition, the site contains an “Evolution Library” containing many different types of web-based materials that support the exploration of this topic. Three different paths can be followed: one on the scientific process, one on evolutionary theory and one on human evolution. This site was also reviewed by the Teacher Education Editorial Board and received the highest ratings possible.
Business - Classic
David Annand, Athabasca University
“Cash Flow Statement” provides a very thorough and interactive, multimedia-rich approach for teaching individuals how to prepare and interpret a Statement of Cash Flows using the Indirect Method. The content is current, relevant, accurate, and includes an adequate amount of material given the complexity of the topic. The module is completely self-contained. Correct and incorrect response feedback has been incorporated into the interactive activities. The module can be very useful in helping students understand one of the critical documents used in Accounting.
Chemistry - Classic
Animated Chemistry Tutorials and Models
Patrick Wegner and Andrew Montana Cal State – Fullerton
This site provides users with comprehensive and interactive tutorials (containing shockwave animations) on molecule representation and modeling including Lewis Dot representation of organic and inorganic compounds, atomic orbital and hybridization, VSEPR and molecular orbital theory. The animations cover fundamental concepts and are done in a way that the students can use them to learn at their level of understanding in general, organic, and/or physical chemistry. The site is extremely versatile in that it can be used as reinforcement for lecture and laboratory for a variety of classes. It also offers unique pedagogy support in that it is possible for instructors to use a course management system to organize, assign, and grade the tutorials and assignments.
Engineering - Classic
Timothy Philpott - University of Missouri-Rolla
This learning tool, with impressive graphics and animations, provides extensive examples, some theory, and engaging activities, such as games to assist instructors and learners in “Mechanics of Materials,” a basic course in civil and mechanical engineering. Its major strengths are the impressive visualizations and animations included in the examples. Students can improve their skills by engaging in interactive exercises and games. Whether it is used in the classroom or on a student's personal computer, this "courseware" package introduces difficult concepts with excellent graphics and thorough explanations. MecMovies also received the 2004 Premier Award from NEEDS, the National Engineering Education Delivery System, an honor bestowed upon only one or two software packages each year.
Health Sciences - Classic
Neuroscience for Kids
Eric Chudler - University of Washington
Neuroscience for Kids is a collection of information, learning activities, and web links about the nervous system. Basic anatomical and physiological concepts are covered. While some of the information is instructional in nature and directed toward the learner, other areas within the site are targeted more to the teacher, providing examples of “hands-on” learning activities that can be carried out in the classroom. The learning activities are clearly described and would be easy for the teacher to implement.
Learners are identified as “kids” however all age groups can learn from the material presented. Most notable, the site is found in 40 personal collections.
History - Classic
Seventeen Moments in Soviet History
James von Geldern & Lewis Siegelbaum - Macalester College
“Seventeen Moments in Soviet History” selects seventeen years during the reign of Communism in the Soviet Union, from 1917 to 1991, to provide users with primary sources that are print, image, and video offerings in recreating the spirit and mentality of a nation emerging as a future threat, ally, and superpower to the western world. One of the great strengths of this site is the array of learning materials provided. When a year is selected, an introduction to the year comes on the screen. To the right are a list of additional resources for the selected year that include Texts, Contexts, Video, Images, and Websites. It is clear that a great deal of thought was put into the materials selected and in designing the site. The site offers a rich array of diverse materials that a creative instructor could easily adapt for instructional purposes.
Information Technology - Classic
David Adams - Macon State College
Mathematics - Classic
Larry Green's Applet Page
Larry Green - Lake Tahoe Community College
This site contains links to dozens of applets that deal with topics in Basic Math, Beginning Algebra, Intermediate and College Algebra, Statistics, and other areas. The applets combine accurate, carefully-presented mathematics with immediate feedback (often graphical). Many feature a step-by-step tutorial approach, with feedback on correctness and hints being provided at each step in the guided solution of a problem. Many current college students need remediation and/or help with developmental math, algebra, statistics and calculus; Larry’s applets and related instructional materials address these areas admirably. His experience as a veteran math instructor has guided his choices and his goal is to help students overcome the learning obstacles along their paths through the use of interactivity and immediate feedback.
Music - Classic
José Rodríguez Alvira -
Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico
This site is a broad collection of music theory and analysis using Flash learning objects. The learning objects on the site are divided into three categories: Tutorials, Exercises and Reference. The Tutorials include Reading Music, Intervals, Scales, Chords and Harmonic Functions. The Exercises include Rhythmic Dictation, Clef Reading, Intervals, Scales, Key Signatures, Chords, Harmonic Functions and Jazz. Reference includes Reading Music, Intervals, Scales, Chords and Articles (the Articles sub-category includes several analysis objects.) The information is broken up into short sections that are easy to retain. The animations are clear and often do not need the accompanying text to understand. The site has great potential for reusability as individual parts of the site could be inserted in a number of ways into an instructor’s teaching sequence.
Physics - Classic
PhET – Physics Education Technology
Carl Wiemann, Noah Finkelstein, Kathy Perkins, Ron Le Master - University of Colorado
This site provides excellent illustrations of the physical models that are so important for an expert view of physics and physical systems. The simulations provide a number of different ways to study and learn, including through movement of virtual objects, graphs, and manipulating numbers and equations. More importantly, the learning styles that the simulations encourage are those most often lacking in physics classes, which are often over burdened by paper and pencil manipulation of equations and numbers. The entire development process of these simulations is grounded in research on the ways in which students learn physics. Once created, extensive work is done to understand the impact and results of these simulations have on student learning. One of the most fascinating studies involves the virtual circuit simulator. The research work on this simulation indicates that students who use just the simulation have a better conceptual understanding of currents, voltages, and circuits.
Psychology - Classic
The Brain from Top to Bottom!
Bruno Dubuc - Canadian Institutes of Health Research
This site is very useful for students in physiological psychology which is an extremely challenging course for undergraduate students. The material is very flexible with five levels of organization (molecular, cellular, neurological, psychological, and social) and three levels of explanation (beginning, intermediate, and advanced). There are diagrams as well as text and several specific information modules that provide for different ways of looking at the material and different formats. The quality of the material is excellent while the site is attractive, accurate, and well-organized. An additional plus of the site is that it is available in two languages: English and French.
Statistics - Classic
Sampling Distribution of the Mean Tutorial
Dale Berger - Claremont Graduate University
This tutorial allows introductory statistics students see the relationship between sample size and the variability of the sampling distribution of the mean. This site not only provides applets that simulate the sampling distributions of the sample mean, but it also includes detailed exercise sheets. These allow students to not only work with an online simulation but to report their findings in detail to the instructor and serve as a basis for discussion. The applet shows sample means of various sample sizes and from various populations in a graphical format, along with a graph of the (theoretical) sampling distribution. Of particular interest is the fact that the author is a Psychologist, not a Statistician.
Teacher Education - Classic
Mike Fetters - Cyber Newseum
This media-rich website provides access to current news that covers a broad range of interest. The front pages of dozens of newspapers from around the world are posted. The content is powerful, historical, and valuable for all educators, but especially for students from middle school through college, as well as their instructors. The rich resources provide concrete anchors for a wide range of curriculum development by teachers and professors. The potential for using this site as a teaching and learning tool is limited only by the instructor’s imagination. It could certainly be used for studying current events, history, and civics. Furthermore students can conduct independent study, reviews, research, and investigations due to the many choices and range in presentations.
Teaching and Technology - Classic
FAST - Free Assessment Summary Tool
Bruce Ravelli - Mount Royal College
FAST is an anonymous online survey tool that automatically summarizes students’ impressions of a course and/or instructor and supplies the data directly to the instructor. The assessment tool allows a faculty member to create easily an online survey to provide feedback from students on a teaching activity, a section of a course, a clinical experience, a laboratory experiment, etc. The user can create his own questions, or choose from a pool of 374 questions. The assessment or survey tool is web-based, password-protected, anonymous, and instantaneously updated. The FAST initiative provides professional, technical and academic advice to faculty who wish to become more informed about the teaching and learning process through the application of faculty-administered, anonymous online student feedback.
World Languages - Classic
Páginas de ayuda para estudiantes de español
Enrique Yepes - Bowdoin College
Enrique Yepes’ “Páginas de ayuda para estudiantes de español,” provides a rich resource for Spanish instruction for students and language educators. The “Herramientas de español” has been designed as an extensive outline of essential Spanish structures based on John Turner’s “All the Spanish Grammar You Really
Need to Know.” The site also links to other outstanding websites for grammar-tutorial drills. In addition, the user will find a complete grammar guide for most of the grammatical concepts of the Spanish language, a guide for use in writing, and a writing style manual. There is evidence throughout of excellent web design features, and application of modern technology to the site.