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Ronald G. Ragsdale.

Toronto, OISE Press, c1982.
(Computers in Education).
119pp, paper, $10.95.
ISBN 0-7744-5065-7.

Reviewed by Jean Farquharson.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

Ron Ragsdale, instructor at OISE and author of Computers in the Schools, created this book as the result of a course he taught at the institute. Its intended use is as a textbook or reference book "for graduate students in education, school board personnel responsible for courseware evaluation and computer in-service providers." Ragsdale summarizes what has been written in the field of courseware development and evaluation: current practices, standards, issues, instructional design models, and models for courseware evaluation. Anyone using this book would want to refer to some of the many sources he has mentioned in his text; all are found in his six-page bibliography, and the references are accessible through the index.

With his summarization of the state of the art, Ragsdale draws a few conclusions of his own about the subject. He believes that with such a variety of types of courseware filling such a variety of needs, it is impossible to create one model, method, or form for evaluation. He feels there has to be a team to evaluate courseware because it is impossible for one evaluator to be unbiased or to evaluate from a broad enough base to judge properly and fairly the quality and uses of courseware. He feels that the further evolution of software to improved quality depends upon better evaluation techniques, both formative (while courseware is being developed) and summative (after it has been completed). He also stresses the need for "perceptive field observations and attention to unintended outcomes" because we are dealing with a relatively new type of media.

Although difficult to read because of the educational jargon and the small print, this book is recommended for purchase to people interested in beginning an in-depth study of courseware evaluation or courseware design. A list of addresses of sources would have been useful.

Jean Farquharson, Brantford C. I. & V. S., Brantford, ON.
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