Module 8


Accessing and Evaluating Resources for Coastal and Marine Studies





Activity 1


Activity 2 Problems with Resource Selection Activity 3 The ERCME Matrix

Activity 4

Using the ERCME Matrix

Activity 5 The Purchasing Committee Activity 6 Accessing Coastal and Marine Resources on the WWW
Activity 7 Conclusion        


1. Introduction

    A. Icebreaker

  • Introduce this activity by talking about your own most useful resource/s for teaching coastal and marine studies. Maybe also ask a couple of participants to follow suit.

  • Divide participants into small groups and distribute a copy of Resource 1 to everyone.

  • Ask participants to tell other group members what their most useful coastal and marine resource is and to record this information on Resource 1.

  • Ask groups to spend 5-10 minutes discussing common factors in the reasons for finding their resources particularly useful.


  • Conclude this activity with a debriefing session in which you ask groups to:

    • identify the most interesting or unusual resource they discussed; and

    • identify the several different types of resources.

  • Show OHT 1 'An Unfinished Checklist of Resources' and draw participants' attention to the wide variety of resources that can be accessed.

    B. Workshop Outline

  • Use OHT 2 to review the objectives of the workshop.
  • Use the introductory statement at the beginning of the module to explain the importance of selecting and evaluating resources and the two related themes in the workshop: (i) improving access to resources and (ii) evaluating resources.

2. Problems with Resource Selection

  • Show OHT 3 (perhaps reading the statements in a dramatic way) to start participants thinking about the problems associated with resource selection.

  • Divide participants into groups of 4-5 and ask each group to take a few minutes to list four problems associated with resource selection.

  • Show OHT 4 and ask participants how this list compares with their group's list.

  • Ask if the groups identified any problems that are not on the list. These could be added to the list on OHT 4.

  • Briefly discuss each of the points drawing participants' attention to the issue of bias.

  • Use OHT 5 and Reading 1 to explain that bias is an issue that needs to be considered in resource selection and use.

3. The ERCME Matrix

This mini-lecture explains some criteria which could be used when selecting resources for coastal and marine studies.

  • Explain that there are different categories of criteria that need to be considered when evaluating coastal and marine resources (OHT 6). Emphasise the need torelate these criteria to the aims and objectives of coastal and marine studies as covered in Module 1. OHT 12 and OHT 13 from Module 1 may be used here for 'revision'.

    Note to facilitators: Reading 2 provides some helpful advice and background information on evaluating resources.

4. Using the ERCME Matrix

  • Divide participants into groups of 4-5 people.

  • Distribute Resource 2 and ask participants to work in groups to complete the table by identifying criteria that they think relate to each of the major sections in the table. Allow 10-15 minutes for the activity. (Alternatively, ask each group to identify 4-5 criteria for 1- 2 sections each.)

  • Display OHT 7 (a completed matrix) and ask participants if there are any points they did not include or if they included any points that are not on OHT 7.

  • Distribute copies of Resource 3 to all participants.

  • Participants work in their groups to use the ERCME Matrix (Resource 3) to evaluate the example of coastal and marine resources (Resource 4).
  • Note to facilitators: Facilitators should choose resources to evaluate that are relevant to the teachers in the workshop, taking into account the range of year levels and subjects they teach, local coastal and marine concerns, etc. It is possible to group participants by criteria such as these and have each group evaluate different resources.

Resource 4 is a sample resource for evaluation produced by the Gould League (and included with its permission) which could be used in this activity.

  • Conclude this activity with a discussion of the usefulness of the ERCME Matrix.

    • Explain that while the ERCME Matrix may be useful it may not always suit particular needs. If this is the case, then participants should feel very free to adapt it.

    • Hand out Resource 5 and briefly point out some of the points participants might need to consider in adapting the ERCME Matrix for their own circumstances.

5. The Purchasing Committee

This is a simulation activity in which participants play the role of a school committee that has funding available for the purchase of resources for coastal and marine studies. The aim of the activity is to select a range of resources from a 'catalogue' (Resource 6).

  • Divide participants into groups of 3 or 4.

  • Ask groups to describe some characteristics of their school using OHT 8 to help create a 'relevant' context for the activity. The committee should then discuss how the context of their school affects their criteria for selecting resources.

  • Explain that each group represents a school committee which is responsible for purchasing resources for coastal and marine studies. The committee has a limited budget which realistically allows them to send away for inspection copies only.

  • Distribute Resource 6 which is a catalogue of some coastal and marine books and other resources.

  • Ask groups to discuss the relative merits of each listed resource (from the information given) for their situation, and choose 5 resources (up to 10 depending on time available) to order for inspection.

  • Ask one person from each group to report back to the whole group on how and why their committee selected the resources it did.

  • Finally, the facilitator should reinforce that there is a breadth of available resources and several important criteria may be used to evaluate whether or not a resource should be selected.

6. Accessing Coastal and Marine Resources on the WWW

Note to Facilitators: This activity requires access to the World Wide Web (WWW) for all participants either singly or working in pairs or small groups. It might be necessary to adjourn the workshop to a venue where such access is available. If this access is not available then perhaps this activity should not be attempted. Under such circumstances, suggest to participants that they could take Resource 7 and Resource 8 with them and complete this activity on their own - perhaps via WWW access at home or school.

If participants are not familiar with accessing information on the WWW the facilitator could use the information in Resource 7 to run this activity.

  • A list of relevant coastal and marine WWW sites for perusal is included as Resource 8.

Note to facilitators: It is possible for this activity could be developed into a full workshop in its own right.

Useful WWW sites to use as starting points for such a workshop include:

7. Conclusion

  • Conclude the workshop by asking participants to return to the list of resources generated in Activity 1.
  • Ask participants to work in pairs or groups to discuss their preferred resources in light of the criteria developed during the workshop and then report back to the whole group.