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Critique

posted Jul 16, 2009, 7:24 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 17, 2009, 12:28 AM by Eddie Woo ]
Write a constructive critique on a peer's multimedia system, assessing it & assigning an appropriate mark based on how competently it achieves the two stated purposes.
 
Portfolio: Junior HSIE
 
As Amy has chosen for her multimedia system to be a fieldwork excursion coverage (with elements of learning resource), this would include her year 10 coastal management excursion files...
 
Informatively communicates relevant information in a manner appropriate to its genre
 
The multimedia presentation was very informative (without being unnecessarily long), & covers the most important activities we went through during the day. The details & instructions were clear (clinometer could have used more of an explanation, though), & the photographs cover a lot of the interesting points of the beach. Videos also cover student opinions of the excursion, & those are useful in showing students have learnt from the excursion.
 
Even though the fieldwork was meant to be a practical experience of geography, which can only be done by actually going on the excursion, the way the information was presented was a good quite effective at explaining the processes without needing to do any fieldwork. Its separation from the rest of the site is good for students who just want to look through the presentation without having to go through everything else on the portfolio.
 
The explanation on the use of the clinometer could have been a little more detailed, as it is an instrument that students may not be familiar with, & its image does not seem to be very explanatory. The way the compass used was also slightly different to how 'everyday' compasses are used, so some instructions for that might have been good as well. Some of the other used terms (e.g. swash, berm) could have been explained. Also, even though the presentation was meant to be excursion coverage, it may have helped to include some of the relevant theoretical information.
 
Creatively & professionally showcases the unique strengths of a variety of media types
 
Text
Text is used for instructions (for using the presentation) & details about the field trip. It is also used to label information presented in other media, such as the images of the anemometer & clinometer, & the diagram of the dunal system. The text component of the hyperlinks tell the user what each page contains. The choice of this medium to display the information is effective because it is simple, easy to understand, & readers can review the information at their own pace.
 
Subtitles in the video were also good as the user can find out what the question is even if they cannot hear the audio properly, but then the answers probably could have been subtitled as well (although it might have been a long process). Alternatively, the key words could have been listed beside the interviewee.
 
Numerical
Numerical data were used for presenting data such as: date, who (year 10), cost, & the various quantitative results collected by the various instruments used (wind speed & direction, angle & size of slope). As numbers give some value that people can interpret accurately, it is probably the fastest medium for people to absorb for this sort of data.
 
Hypertext
Hypertext was mainly used for navigation, but also linked other relevant pages (e.g. the anemometer linked to the videos page. It may have been better if it linked directly to the video, but I am not sure if that could have been done).
 
If definitions were added for certain words (as mentioned above), in order to save space, they may have been added so that words could be hovered over or clicked to show the information in a separate space
 
Image
Images were used to show the anemometer, clinometer, dunal system, & also was used in the photo gallery. It was also a good idea to organise the tabulated numerical data into image data to be put into Flash. The small image (that can be hovered over to show a larger image) in the corner allowed people to view a sufficiently large image without having to sacrifice space on the screen. The photo gallery was probably the best way to show the beach to the users, as it is visual. Although this could also be shown on video (& it was), without a tripod, people do not get as good a view because the video shakes.
 
A wider view of the beach in one picture might have been an option (photo-stitching - idea from Blair after viewing his virtual tour of Cameron Block), although there probably was not enough time to take enough pictures for a good photo-stitch. Maybe the use of the clinometer could have been elaborated on with images. Also, a diagram was given for the dunal system, but it may be hard for people to equate that with the real dunal system (or at least not the ones at Long Reef & Collaroy), so labelled photographs might help clarify things. The compass was also mentioned, & maybe a picture of that can be added (because wind speed & direction were both being measured).
 
The photo gallery contained some rather similar photos (which may have shown different parts, but the users cannot tell), & without anything to clarify what the photos were meant to show, it could be interpreted as just general photos taken on the excursion. This would mean that, to the users, data would have been unnecessarily replicated. Another problem is that it can be slow to go through photos, as the photos slowly extend, slowly shrink
 
Audio
Narration was a good idea, providing an alternative to the text version of the same data. They were also used for some interviews. Although there are issues with it being audio only & not being able to see the person's body language (from a conversation this morning with Blair that touched on issues regarding speed & sincerity), this is not much of a problem as the interviews recorded with audio only had informative purposes. Personally, the actual 'opinion' section of that part was less important, & so body language is not all that necessary. However, not having something for the users to focus on while listening to the audio may cause them to lose interest.
 
Audio does not allow for users to review the information at their own speed. With the Flash presentation used, this is more of a problem as there are no options for pausing, fast forwarding, rewinding & such. Perhaps a transcript of the audio would have solved this problem.
 
Video (optional)
It was a good idea to use the video to show how to use the equipment (the anemometer). Some student interviews were also recorded on video. This was an effective way to keep the user interested in the video as there is something to watch as well as the audio. The body language of the interviewees can also come through, & it also makes the pauses less awkward than in a pure audio file.
 
The video with the anemometer could have been improved if the compass was also included, so that it showed the whole process of measuring wind speed & direction. A video made for the clinometer would probably be more useful though, because there is no clear explanation on its use, & the instrument is a lot less self-explanatory than the anemometer.
 
A video of the beach was also done, but it was quite shaky. It also did not move about significantly except for zooming in at the end, so maybe the photographs in the gallery would have been sufficient for the purpose. An improvement could have been to 'show' the user around the beach, although there may have been issues with getting other people on the footage & having to get permission for release off all the people.
 
Mark: 11/12
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