Critical Evaluation of Learning Resources
The learning resource that will be examined will be the online learning supplementary material for the "Critical Thinking in Adult Education 41909" on WebCT. WebCT is the major provider of e-learning systems for higher education institutions such as university. WebCT provides a highly flexible e-learning environment that empowers institutions the ability to achieve their unique objectives. University of Western Sydney is one of the institutions which utilize the WebCT technology to provide information as a supplement to support students with their learning.
The supplement "Critical Thinking in Adult Education 41909" on WebCT provides a very good example for critical study as to whether such resource is effective or not. It is first essential to examine the content of the resource since that the information within the supplementary material is the most important. There are several criteria that must be analyzed:
The content must provide sufficient details and also aimed correctly at the intended audience, in the case of the Critical Thinking supplement, the format of the site quite simple and the language used is easy to understand. Because the course is aimed at academics, the language used is in a more formal and general terms instead of personal.
Content must be accurate, up-to-date and properly edited, in the case of this course, the course is constantly updated with notices being placed on the front page stating the latest news and instructions on the course, such notices includes the newest brief instructions about discussion group's tasks.
Course should provide links to further information about the course. In this area, this is where this WebCT course shines, the links "Resources" leads the user to the "Online discussion resources" where there are several supplementary materials for the student to read and discuss these in the online forum and in lectures. Other links includes the "library tips" which links to a word document which provides extra information about how to search for database search.
The Instructional Design
In order for a site to be effective, it must be easy to navigate and also provide instructions about how to use the features of the course materials. Without such instructions, however good the material, the online course becomes a burden or even a problem for the student. There are several aspects that should be dealt with:
Content must be well organized, in the case of the "Critical Thinking" course on WebCT, the content is neatly organized in a way which will allow students to have quick and direct access to the certain areas of the course such as "Unit outline", "Lecture notes and overheads" and also the online discussion. There is also an "Assignment drop box" for students to hand in their assessments.
Sound application of instructional design, although this course's set out in a way which is quite basic, the site is created...