Educational Technology & Society 2(1) 1999
ISSN 1436-4522

The World Lecture Hall

(Website review)

Reviewer: Anna-Lena Johansson
Dept of Information Science, Uppsala University
P O Box 311, S-751 05 Uppsala, Sweden
Email: Anna-Lena.Johansson@dis.uu.se

1. Site URL:
  http://www.utexas.edu/world/lecture/

2. Site title:
  The World Lecture Hall

(The site is produced and maintained by ACITS Publications, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA. ACITS stands for Academic Computing and Instructional Technology Services.)

3. Objective of the site:
  The site provides links to academic course materials present on the Web. The course material should be at university level, non-commercial, and freely browsable.

It is possible to:
  • search for educational material (search facility included)
  • add educational material, update material and send comments to others
  • see what links to educational material is newly added (each link is provided with a short abstract of two - three lines)
  • look at comments on the site (generally no specific educational material is men-tioned in the comments)
The objective of the site is not explicitly stated.

4. Expected audience:
  The expected audience could be twofold - faculty delivering courses and students looking for courses to attend to.

An academic could use the site to make contacts with other academics teaching the same or similar courses, to be inspired by the way others have given the course, to make contacts with faculty at other universities, and to get comments on their own courses and course designs.

The courses have no specific form of presentation for the Lecture Hall. The links take you to course site as it is presented to the student's taking it. There is no way to con-tact the teacher through the Lecture Hall site; the teacher could be contacted through the course site.

5. Main topics covered:
  The site provides links to university level web-presented courses in a great variety of academic subjects.

6. Comments on usefulness and richness of each topic:
  There are links to educational material for 80 subjects. For example, under the subject Computer Science, there were 159 links to courses and under the subject Art and Art History there were 26 course links.

There is no language restriction on the courses that can be added to the Lecture Hall, which is very positive and gives the site a potential for the non-English speaking community. The site however is presented in English. (Links to translation services are provided at the start page.)

The search facility provided is not very helpful. When searching for a concept the rele-vant subject is returned and not the relevant courses which would have been more helpful.

7. Extent, appropriateness and quality of external links:
  The links on the site go to the course material. It is required that the courses should not be poorly presented or under construction.

The links that I have followed all connected me to complete well-presented courses that had been given to students. Some of the links went to courses that hadn't been given recently, given in for example 1995. Although, a course is still interesting several years after it has been given, it makes me wonder why it has not been given again. Could it be that it has been given in another form or are there no interested students?

Links could go to different courses with the same title, which reflects the situation in the academic world.

Links could be added to the site by filling in a form describing the course and giv-ing information about the course instructor. It is not explicitly stated if the links are in-spected before inclusion on the site or not.


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