General Collection Criteria
Teachers' Domain is a collection of rich-media resources appropriate for use in K-12 classroom settings. More specifically, each resource selected for Teachers' Domain should align to most, if not all of these criteria:
- the content should be scientifically accurate and up-to-date (or if historical, should be clearly identified as such)
- the resource must meet the approval, for both content and educational appropriateness, of at least two (and ideally more) expert reviewers, who are paid a stipend to review the material.
- the content should address standards-based, commonly taught topics in the subject area, and fit into one or more topics and subtopics at one or more grade bands, as outlined by the project team with input of project reviewers.
- the resource should fit into one of five standard media types:
- interactive (involves some kind of user control)
- document (primary source or richly illustrated, unless the content is otherwise needed to support a lesson plan or complement other resources)
- the resource should address a specific, standards-based educational goal, rather than provide broad coverage of a subject
- the resource should be appropriate for student use (with teacher mediation if necessary) at particular grade levels
- the contact time for the resource should ideally be 2-5 minutes, but definitely no more than 10 minutes, since resources are supposed to integrate into or supplement, not supplant, classroom instruction
- the resource should meet production-quality and format standards (see below)
- access to the resource should be reliable (rights are available to serve it directly from the TD server, and not for a prohibitive cost, or if on another server, the URL is stable and connection speed is consistently fast)
- rights are available to adapt the resource to a smaller size (2-5 minutes as noted above) if the resource is too long for TD; the original URL is provided in addition to serving the adapted version
- if the resource is served externally to TD, there should ideally be no advertising or commercial links from the page; if there are, any advertising or sales information or links should be scrutinized to make sure they are not inappropriate for a K-12 audience
- good quality source tape that we can digitize and encode to our standards (if being edited, avoid quick pans and flash frames)
- otherwise QuickTime FastStart (http-served and locally cached, rather than streaming) file format, using efficient file compression with minimal quality degradation
- screen size approximately 320x240 pixels
- text on screen should be readable
- audio should be clear and synched to video
- good quality source tape that we can digitize and encode to our standards
- otherwise encoded using efficient file compression with minimal quality degradation and in file format playable across common clients (including QuickTime plug-in)
- should have transcript available
- good navigation and design
- no technical errors
- gif or jpeg formats, good quality compression
- html or PDF format; PDF preferable if print-out is desired
- Embedded graphics should help explain the content, rather than be merely decorative, or worse, distracting.
- Font should be large enough to read comfortably and have enough contrast with the background.
- Color should intentionally draw attention to important elements, and not seem arbitrary.
- Design should feel age-appropriate.
- Typography (font size and face range and layout) should clarify the content by creating an understandable hierarchy of information.
- The title of the resource and its most important elements should be obvious at a glance
- Typographic devices (bold, italic, type size, dingbats, rules, etc.) should create appropriate levels of emphasis, and not be used excessively simply for decoration. (If you try to emphasize everything, you end up emphasizing nothing.)
- Navigation elements should be differentiated from content elements.
- It should be clear what will take you out of the current experience and into a different place.
- There should be a digestible number of options, not so many that you feel overwhelmed.
- It should be clear where to start and easy to know when you have completed the experience.
- The length or extent of the resource should be clear from the start, rather than having to go through the whole thing to find out how big it is.
- It should be clear what's clickable, and what kind of behavior you'll get from the various controls.
- Design should be consistent across similar pages or sections. Common controls should appear in the same place on the screen as you navigate through the experience.
- Elements should be grouped logically, so that related controls appear together.
- You should not have to scroll excessively to see all the content, and especially the essential controls or design elements.
- Text copy should be well written.
- Copy should have been copyedited, following standard guidelines for good Web publication, and free of typos and grammatical errors.