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About This Step

The following activities will guide you in the completion of NASA’s product review process. These activities include project evaluation, partnerships, and federal requirements and regulations. The outcomes of these activities are not your required deliverables for the Virtual Design Center, but you may ask your facilitator for guidance in the completion of these activities.

Activity 1: Evaluations, Dissemination, and Partnerships

Even with a well-developed design document, it is still very important that you plan how you will implement, evaluate, and improve your design.  All NASA-funded educational materials must go through a comprehensive external review process before publication. Designers should review the material in house before submitting it to NASA for the formal review process:

In-house/Internal Comprehensive Review

  1. Review your curricular materials as the product is being developed and when complete before sending to the formal NASA external comprehensive review process.

  2. The internal comprehensive review process involves evaluation of the quality of the product and adherence to NASA regulations.

    1. Use the NASA Exemplary Criteria Checklist as a guide for adherence to NASA quality standards and some of the NASA regulations.

    2. Read NASA Federal Regulations to make sure that your product conforms to regulations, such as Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). 

    3. Print materials must go through internal communications materials review. Read the article, NASA Communications Material Review Process. Use the guide, An Interim Guide for Producing Printed Communications Material.

External Comprehensive Review

  1. Submit material to the communications material review process using the link

  2. Submit material to the NASA Office of Education formal review cycle.  There are two formal review cycles per year.

    In addition to the NASA criteria, the National Science Foundation has a publication that would help you plan your project evaluation:

    The 2002 User-friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

    If your design is more focused on development of a learning technology, the following tools will help you in planning your evaluation:

    Interactive Learning Systems Evaluation (Download Tools)

    • How will you disseminate your project?

    • How will you evaluate your project using valid evaluation methods?

    • What models and techniques will you use?

    • How will you incorporate the results into the design?

    • In addition to your partnerships established for the design and testing, how will you establish your distribution, implementation, and/or funding partnerships?

    • What are your plans for sustaining your project implementations and updating contents?

It is good to decide early on whom you would like to partner with for your project and get them involved in the brainstorming and planning.

Activity 2: Technical Requirements and Other Federal Regulations

Technical Requirements

One of the essential activities for NASA designers is to help teachers and learners discover new learning technologies that can support inquiry-based learning. A consideration for introducing new learning technologies is providing a clear understanding of the technical requirements as well as training on the use of the technology. Software should be tested on various operating systems, such as MAC versus PC, Windows 2000 and 98. Using testbed classrooms can provide great insight as to the district’s technological literacy and capacity and should be considered in conjunction with the learning technologies.

Designers may also incorporate new learning technologies that focus on special needs audiences. The intention of federal regulation 508 is to provide disabled people with new learning opportunities and to foster the development of technologies that will support a learning environment. The National Center for Technology Innovation, funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, advances learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities by fostering technology innovation. A tech matrix is available on the center's web site. It lists current assistive technologies and support requirements for using them.    

Activity: Complete a thorough inventory of your testbed district’s current technology, including operating systems, available software, and 508 compliances. List the district’s current use of learning technologies, such as 3-D animations, simulations, online instruction, and assistive technologies.  Then create a comprehensive inventory of new learning technologies that will be introduced into the curriculum as well as any new hardware and software requirements needed.         

Federal Regulations

Four key federal regulations that designers must comply with are 1) COPPA 2) 508-c compliance 3) metatagging, and 4) distribution of e-products. Read the NASA Federal Regulations article for a comprehensive overview of NASA required compliance issues. Any designer that collects information on an educational web site from children ages 13 or younger must comply with COPPA regulations. Section 508 requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. For the latest information on 508 compliance issues, visit the NASA web site.   

Metatagging is the process of embedding labels or tags about the content within the content to theoretically improve and refine the relevance and precision of a search. The term e-product describes developed curricular or educational material that can be accessed over the Internet and includes educational web sites, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, Flash animations, and movie files. Refer to the NASA Federal Regulations article for complying with NASA regulations for disseminating e-products. 

Activity: Review your designed curricular product and create a checklist for compliance with each of the four main federal regulations: COPPA, 508-c, metatagging, and distribution of e-products.


Review all Virtual Design Center deliverables you created to identify ways to improve and enhance your design. Whether you are designing an educational product for NASA and other federal agencies or looking for funding from one of them, you have solid documentation to move forward with your development or to incorporate into a good proposal. If you would like to get feedback from your facilitator, submit your plan for dissemination, evaluation, and partnerships. Good luck with your design project and keep us posted on your progress!

The Virtual Design Center Team


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