UniServe Science News Volume 11 November 1998


Exploring Perception

Peter Delin
Department of Psychology, The University of Adelaide

This excellent introductory course, suitable for unsupervised use by students, or as supporting material in lectures, covers most of the major areas and issues in perception. It has five general-topic modules of eight units each, and each of these units has six interactive screens (actually called "interactions") associated with it; a total of 240. Each interactive screen has an excellent, usually active, visual, with a controllable introductory voice-over (available as a text window), and abundant text information attached to the visual itself. Each of the interactive screens has an associated window with a few test-questions.

There is also a neat glossary function which lets the user check up on unfamiliar terms, and a diary system which lets the user keep track, using their individual floppy disk, of which topics they have already visited - necessary, since the order in which the topics are traversed is completely flexible. For the teacher, this same system makes it possible to set up a sequence in which the screens should be accessed, which can then be run like a slide show.

The accompanying manual is clear and comprehensive.

The faults of the package are trivial compared to its virtues. A final editing run would have eliminated the occasional editing glitch, chiefly wrong commas and occasional usage errors (e.g. "begs the question" for "raises the question"). On the screen, some slider controls go in counter-intuitive directions, sometimes buttons have to be clicked two or three times before they do their thing, and it would have been better for secondary windows to have had their own close-boxes, instead of requiring the calling-button to be clicked again before they would depart. However, this is, overall, one of the best teaching CD-ROMs I have encountered.

Exploring Perception is available from:
Nelson ITP
102 Dodds Street
South Melbourne, Vic 3205
Tel: 1800 654 831

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UniServe Science News Volume 11 November 1998

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