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Review of PatrickJMT.com

http://patrickjmt.com/

Patrickjmt.com is a website that has been designed by a math teacher and has hundreds of math tutorial videos. The math teacher’s name is Patrick and the jmt part of his domain address stands for “just math tutorials.” His purpose is to help students of all different math skill levels find success. His tutorials cover topics from basic math skills such as adding and subtracting all the way up to differential equations and upper level calculus. His tutorial videos are done with butcher paper and sharpie markers, no fancy recording equipment or software for him. Each video has good sound quality and there is not a lot of extra information being shown that could distract from the lesson being taught.

Rubric Evaluation

Patrick’s website does very well in some parts of the rubric and not so well at all in other places. His overall website design is consistent between the home page and the internal pages. The color scheme of this site is similar to the blue graph paper that math teachers are familiar with. He has used a template for each page and once you leave the homepage, all internal pages are identical. I was not able to determine if error prevention was accounted for, but when I hover on a link, I am provided no information. Should I accidentally click a link that I was not intending to visit, I need to use the back button on the browser. When I search for a topic that is tagged differently than what I searched, the result is null and I am presented with an empty page.

Patrick has made his site easy to navigate, the top of the homepage offers links that will jump to different sections. Once you click a video link the top of the page will provide a link back to the homepage. Under the videos on the internal pages are different tags for the particular math topic, you can click these to get similar videos relating to a particular concept. Below the tags are links to videos that are in the “series” of lessons for a particular concept.

The only error that would be possible while using this site, would be accidentally choosing a video. If the wrong video is chosen, it is the users responsibility to recognize this and click the back button. Each page of Patrick’s website has a search feature that can be used to find particular videos. The search feature is robust, but in math there are different terms that can be used to convey the same concept. If Patrick did not address the multiple ways to identify a concept, then a search will result in zero videos.

All internal pages are identical, the only difference being the type of ad that runs at the bottom of the page. Each internal page consists of a teaching video that is embedded, tags that identify the concept being taught, and the specific topic that the video applies to. Below this information are links to other videos in the series. For example if I am watching a video called “Factoring the Difference of Two Squares – Ex 1” links below the video would send me to “Factoring the Difference of Two Squares – Ex 2” and “Factoring the Difference of Two Squares – Ex 3.” There are also links to topics that would lead to this particular skill and links that would lead beyond this skill.

There is no such thing as limited scrolling on the homepage – Patrick’s home page scrolls forever. Once you click into a lesson, everything you need is right there on the screen, if your screen is the size of your monitor. Combined with the homepage scrolling issue is lack of trustworthiness. Since I am familiar with the math, I know that these videos present correct math and have excellent explanation on very challenging topics. To someone trying to do some research about this site, there is not much information, only background about Patrick and a link to by his book. He tells us that he is a college professor and is currently teaching in Austin, Texas. No user reviews are visible, no privacy policy (he may not need it), and no secure site information. He does provide a link to his book, but this link takes the user off of the website and into Amazon.

Evaluation of Site

Overall, I like how Patrick has his site set up. His goal is to provide free math videos for anyone who needs them. His videos are clear and to the point. There are no pop-ups or other distracting information in the videos. The videos are simple, Patrick talking and writing with his sharpie. This particular website is one that I have recommended to my math students because of the number of examples that have been worked out and the clarity of the teaching. I do caution that it can be difficult to find a specific video or video series.

I don’t like the fact that he doesn’t have his different sections broken down into different pages. He does have links on the top of his page that will take you to the designated space further down, but if you are in the wrong place – you have to click to back to the top and start over. There is also the issue of trying to identify key words when searching for a video. If my key search terms are different than his search terms, I will not find any videos to help. This doesn’t happen often and when it does, as a teacher I am equipped to find the alternative terms. A student using the website may not be as well prepared for this.

Final Summary

            Based on how the entire website is organized and how it looks, I think the patrickjmt.com is a good internet sight for getting math help. The videos are short and to the point. He provides several related links for each video, so if you need to see another example, it is right there. If you need to move on to the next topic, it is right there. I have shared this website with my high school students and the feedback from them was positive as well.

 

Characteristic of good web design 4 3 2 1
Consistency and Standards The website has a consistent look and feel that connects the home and internal pages.

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The website has a consistent template where minor differences between the pages are noticed. The website’s homepage and internal pages have limited connection.   Color themes may be the same or template evident but content is not consistent in layout. No consistency between home and internal pages.
Error Prevention Eliminates error prone conditions and consistently gives user option before they commit to an action. Attempts to eliminate error conditions where option to cancel for a user is not consistently present. Message to user about possible errors but no way for user to self-correct. No evidence of a way to eliminate user errors.

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Flexibility and efficiency of use The site allows for the user to bypass pages to get information in a more direct manner.

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The site has a suggested pathway but once past the homepage the user has freedom to investigate. The site has a prescribed pathway but after there’s sufficient evidence of use, the site allows free travel through the pages. The site restricts the user to a prescribed pathway.
Color design matches message conveyed Color choice and contrast match and are consistent for the message and theme of the site.

XXX

Color choice and contrast are pleasing to view, but may not necessarily match the message of the group that the website is promoting. Color choice or contrast is distracting on most but not all pages. Color choice and contrast are offensive to view and detract from the website viewing.
Recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors Error messages are expressed in plain language and provides users a way to self correct Error messages are expressed in plain language but does not provide users a way to self correct. Error messages are detailed but not necessarily user friendly. The site does not provide any error messages.

XXX

Help and documentation The site has a usable help function that uses key words to locate topics. (FAQ, search by keyword) The site contains either a FAQ or searchable by topic area.

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The site has an area for help that is neither searchable nor broken down. The user must read through the document to find what they need. The site has no evidence of help topics at all.
Internal consistency All pages have the same look and feel as the homepage.

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The pages have an obvious template but small elements are changed. The pages have an obvious template, but the site is inconsistent in its use with major elements. The pages have no obvious template to follow.
Usability elements are balanced All pages have an equal balance of interactive and static devices (i.e. flash and still images).

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Pages have balance for the most part but a few of the internal pages may be difficult to navigate due to the imbalance present. Pages are inconsistent overall throughout the site, but an attempt to include multiple usability elements is present. There is an overwhelming imbalance of usability elements at the site.
Access to important links are accessible in multiple locations Home, search, contact and responsible party links are located in the same areas on home and internal pages.

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Home, search, contact and responsible party links are located on home and internal pages but not necessarily in the same place. Home, search, contact and responsible party links are located on home and internal pages, but not on all of the pages. Home, search, contact and responsible party links are located on home page only.
Scrolling is limited All of the information on the page can be read without scrolling. 90% of the information on the page can be read without scrolling. 50% of the information on the page can be read without scrolling. More than 50% of the information on the page must be located through scrolling.

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Trustworthiness The site has 3 or more pieces of evidence to show trustworthiness (secure site, privacy policy, About page that clearly identifies the website creator, professional tone, good user reviews, etc.) The site has 2 pieces of evidence to show trustworthiness. The site has 1 piece of evidence to show trustworthiness.

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There is no piece of evidence to prove trustworthiness.

 

 

 

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