Share the Future IV

Selecting and Evaluating Digital Learning Materials for Engineering Education
Joseph G. Tront, Virginia Tech
Brandon Muramatsu, University of California Berkeley
Jean-Pierre Bayard, California State University Sacramento
Flora McMartin, MERLOT/California State University

Slides and Handouts

Are you trying to integrate simulations, applets, case studies, courseware, or other Web-based materials into your classes? Where do you find these digital learning materials? How do you evaluate the quality of the materials you find?

This workshop introduces faculty members who are interested in integrating digital learning materials in their courses to a set of criteria and methods useful in selecting and evaluating the quality of these materials to help achieve course goals. The workshop focuses on the different resources (including educational digital libraries) and research on teaching and learning available for faculty members to use to locate and select helpful digital learning materials, as well as on how to evaluate those materials.

Participants will be introduced to a general intellectual framework for integrating digital learning materials that stresses identifying the particular learning objectives for the use of particular materials. Participants will be introduced to a number of educational digital libraries to find these resources, including NEEDS ( and MERLOT ( They will have a hands-on opportunity to use these educational digital libraries and become familiar with the features and services that each offers to help its users select and locate materials. Participants will be introduced to two sets of evaluation criteria: those used in the NEEDS Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware and the MERLOT peer review process. They will have an opportunity to apply these criteria to better understand the metrics for quality in digital learning materials and to learn how to apply these metrics to materials they are considering using to help achieve their course goals.

Learning Objectives
Workshop participants will

  • Be able to apply a general framework for integrating digital learning materials in their course activities that matches their learning objectives for a given activity.
  • Be able to use educational digital libraries to locate and select digital learning materials for use in their courses.
  • Understand the breadth and depth of resources available through educational digital libraries, as well as the features each uses to help its users select materials.
  • Be able to use a set of criteria to evaluate the quality and potential usefulness of a given digital learning resource to meet a particular learning objective.


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