History 615:

Group Evaluations

   
BRAINERD GROUP
Valley of Shadow-genre
Archives. We would have liked to search by word rather than subject. More comprehensive transcription of the newspapers sources would have been nice. However, site is easy to navigate, comprehensive.
Valley of Shadow-grade
A
Brainerd-genre
Cross between local/community history, travel narrative, and family geneology. Accessible narratorial voice. Easy to read in one sitting. Easy to navigate.
Brainerd-grade
A-
Do History-genre
Too commercial. Too many plug-ins required. Slow loading. Not easy to navigate. If no prior knowledge of the narrative, difficult to search and comprehend.
Do History-grade
C
History Channel-genre
Too commercial. All about buying history channel products, watching history channel programs. Little scholarship. Slow loading. More difficult to navigate.
History Channel-grade
D
your site
Brainerd, Kansas
Content (is the scholarship sound and current? What is the  interpretation or point of view?) Grade and Comment
The scholarship is consistent with a Master's level thesis project. Fairly recent and comprehensive secondary sources. Good use of primary source materials (newspapers, town plats, oral histories). As a project driven partially by autobiographical connections and partially by demands of American Studies scholarly project, attempt at scholarly interpretation ("The past is ever present in the place memories of Brainerd residents, past and present"). Grade: B
Form (Is it clear? Easy to navigate? Does it function effectively? Does it have a clear, effective, and original design? Does it have a coherent structure?) Grade and Comment
The site is fairly easy to navigate, with only a few minor glitches (one placeholder for a missing gallery photo; couple of misspelled words). A leisurely and engaging two-hour read. Grade: A
Audience/Use (Is it directed at a clear audience? Will it serve the needs of that audience) Grade and Comment
Audience: Both general and scholarly, primarily general Yes, would serve a general audience. Grade: A- for general audience B- for scholarly audience
New Media (Does it make effective use of new media and new technology? Does it do something that could not be done in other media—print, exhibition, film?) Grade and Comment
Networking and chat groups connecting past and present Brainerdites hard to do any other way. Most of the historical narrative could be done in other media. Grade: B+
Your group
Katja, Brad, Chuck, Cindy

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DO HISTORY GROUP
Valley of Shadow-genre
This site is an electronic exhibit which draws on variety of archival resources and has great potential as a teaching tool for students.
Valley of Shadow-grade
B+
Brainerd-genre
Again, we would classify this site as an electronic exhibit which draws on a variety of archival resources.
Brainerd-grade
C
Do History-genre
This site both an archival site and a very promising resource for teachers.
Do History-grade
A
History Channel-genre
Of the four sites we reviewed, this one is probably the broadest. It has components which make it a virtual community, an exhibit, a teaching resource, and a business tool, all at the same time.
History Channel-grade
B+
your site
Do History
Content (is the scholarship sound and current? What is the  interpretation or point of view?) Grade and Comment
The content is sound and current. This site deals with a very compelling topic--- the experiences of an "ordinary" (yet extraordinary) women in early American history. In that sense, it is a bottom-up history, which distinguishes it from many works which tend to focus mainly (or entirely) on the actions of more socially dominant segments of society. The site is also kept fresh and current with periodic updates.
Form (Is it clear? Easy to navigate? Does it function effectively? Does it have a clear, effective, and original design? Does it have a coherent structure?) Grade and Comment
The site is easy to navigate with a simple but attractive interface. The site map navigation bars make this site very easy to explore.
Audience/Use (Is it directed at a clear audience? Will it serve the needs of that audience) Grade and Comment
The target audience for this site is broad. This site has definite applications in the classroom (though some of the content may be inappropriate for younger students). Additionally, this site would be useful to others, who do history or genealogy as a hobby as it is very much a "how to" toolkit.
New Media (Does it make effective use of new media and new technology? Does it do something that could not be done in other media—print, exhibition, film?) Grade and Comment
The site makes very effective use of new media and new technology by giving visitors access to a rich resource (Martha Ballard's diary) which they would otherwise probably never have the opportunity to see. The medium also offers some particularly interesting features, such as the magic lense, which make the resources more accessible and, thus, more powerful. In short, this site is a nice marriage between historical resources and the advances of technology.
Your group
Donna, Lenny, Don, Tom, Mark

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HISTORY CHANNEL GROUP
Valley of Shadow-genre
archive
Valley of Shadow-grade
A+
Brainerd-genre
essay/exhibit
Brainerd-grade
B-
Do History-genre
archive-based teaching resource
Do History-grade
A
History Channel-genre
commercial
History Channel-grade
C
your site
the history channel
Content (is the scholarship sound and current? What is the  interpretation or point of view?) Grade and Comment
there isn't really scholarship here so much as salesmanship... it avoids interpretation or challenging the readers with any controversial points of view.... on content, this site begs the question of whether the history channel serves its audience..
Form (Is it clear? Easy to navigate? Does it function effectively? Does it have a clear, effective, and original design? Does it have a coherent structure?) Grade and Comment
the homepage was too cluttered...some of the links were not well established...and the proliferation of ads was cacophonous...
Audience/Use (Is it directed at a clear audience? Will it serve the needs of that audience) Grade and Comment
in some ways, this site is clearly designed to suit their audience -- a channel watched by mostly men has lots of material on wars, sports, cars...they do make a nod to broader history, with exhibits on women and the world, but the heart of the site is clearly Action! it's driven by the demographics they want watching their shows and buying their products...

New Media (Does it make effective use of new media and new technology? Does it do something that could not be done in other media—print, exhibition, film?) Grade and Comment
the access to speeches is a lovely touch, especially for students... for the rest, left a lot to be desired...
Your group
history channel
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VALLEY PEOPLE


Brainerd-genre
Local history.
Brainerd-grade
B+
Do History-genre
Archive, book and film companion, educational resource
Do History-grade
A
History Channel-genre
Promotional, store front, gated web site
History Channel-grade
C
your site
The Valley of the Shadow
Content (is the scholarship sound and current? What is the  interpretation or point of view?) Grade and Comment
Current and sound scholarship. Contrast and comparison of two communities. A-; Some regimental records are available, but not yet added.
Form (Is it clear? Easy to navigate? Does it function effectively? Does it have a clear, effective, and original design? Does it have a coherent structure?) Grade and Comment
Clear, clean and easy to navigate. Once you're deep in one of the sections there is no way to jump out or change sections without coming nearly all the way out. The design is original and unique to the site. It has a very clear and coherent structure. A
Audience/Use (Is it directed at a clear audience? Will it serve the needs of that audience) Grade and Comment
Early on they make it very clear the site is aimed at scholars, teachers, and students. I serves this target audience very well. A
New Media (Does it make effective use of new media and new technology? Does it do something that could not be done in other media—print, exhibition, film?) Grade and Comment
There is no other format capable of accommodating all of the material available at this web site. Integrated and 3-D maps. A
Your group
Valley People, whatever

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