TITLE: Biz/ed

ACCESS: http://bized.ac.uk/

This well-organized site, created by a non-profit consortium working at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol, is designed for business and economics students and their teachers. The Internet Catalogue, the first major link on the site, is a Yahoo-style directory of more than 1500 Internet resources selected and described by subject experts. Top-level headings cover accounting, business, economics, financial economics, higher education, human resources, macroeconomics, management, marketing, mathematical economics, organizational management, production, the tourist industry, trade and commerce. Business students, business professionals, and the public at large will all be able to make good use of this directory.

The Virtual Worlds link on the site includes two resources: a Virtual Factory and a Virtual Economy. The factory is based on a bona fide business, Cameron Balloons Ltd. There are four main sections in the factory: the Factory Floor (which includes worksheets, photos, relevant business theories, and an explanation of each main business function), Cameron Balloons (background on the company, its history and product range), a Cost Breakdown of balloon components, and a Glossary of ballooning jargon.

The Virtual Economy is based on computer models that are similar to those used to keep the British economy on track. It includes case studies, a section on the economic variables in the model, a library of resource materials, and the interactive model itself. Users of the site may change the values of the variables and run the model repeatedly.

The site also includes major links to Learning Materials, Company Facts, and Data. These pages include many online worksheets, datasets, PowerPoint presentations, and other instructional resources. Some will be most useful to students in the UK.

Despite the breadth of Biz/ed, navigation is quite easy. The site includes a persistent navigation bar, a good site map, a search function, and several readily accessible help screens that explain the site section by section. Biz/ed will be useful both as a quality information resource and as an interactive teaching tool.

Tom Nichol
College of St. Benedict & St. John's University

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