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Initial Publication Date: November 26, 2007

The following criteria are being developed for use by peers to review submitted activities to screen potential contributions to the MERLOT pedagogic collections. Activity authors are welcome to revise materials until they are judged to meet these criteria.

  • Is the material accurate?
    • Does it promote sound practice in biology?
    • Are there any factual or conceptual errors?
    • Are the references appropriate?
  • Is the activity likely to lead to the desired learning?
    • Are the learning goals clearly stated?
    • Are the biological concepts used aligned with the goals?
    • Is there good alignment between the stated learning goals and the likely learning outcomes of the activity?
    • Will the assessment strategies allow the instructor to determine if the learning outcomes have been met?
  • Does the pedagogy promote learning? This question looks at whether the activity incorporates effective strategies based on learning theory and research. For example:
    • Does the activity motivate and engage students?
    • Does it build on what they know and address their initial beliefs?
    • Is it appropriate for the variety of students expected in the class?
    • Is there an appropriate balance of guidance and exploration?
    • Does it include opportunities for reflection, discussion, and synthesis?
    • Does it provide opportunities for students/faculty to assess learning and confirm that they are on the right track?
    • Are there opportunities for students to iterate and improve their understanding incrementally? (NRC, 1999; Edelson, 2001)
  • Are the materials provided complete and helpful? This question addresses nuts and bolts issues about whether the materials provided to students, either written, oral, or otherwise, are successful in providing the context, motivations and goals of the activity, and that instructions and questions are clear.
    • Could you quickly make a decision about whether you would like to look further at this activity?
    • Is their sufficient information about the prerequisite knowledge required by students?
    • Are the supporting materials sufficient for you to use the activity effectively? What other supporting materials do you need? What other supporting materials would you like to see?
    • Are the teaching tips appropriate and sufficient?
    • Is there enough detail provided for you to implement an assessment of the activity?
  • Is the activity a good example of the associated teaching method? Is it clear how the material in the teaching module applies to the activity?

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