This site provides a summary animation video of how an infectious agent called a prion (proteinaceous infectious particle) arises and how the normal prion protein is changed to the altered prion protein.
Type of Material:
During class discussion or lecture, as part of a larger homework assignment. This material is copyrighted by McGraw-Hill and may not be usable online.
I viewed the website in Google Chrome Version 59.0.3071.115 and Safari. Requires Flash.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To differentiate between PrPC and PRPSC, to understand the replication process of prions
To present prions to biology non-majors.
Target Student Population:
High School, College General Ed, College Lower Division
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some biology background is useful. At a minimum, students should understand definitions for the following: protein, neuron, gene, scrapie, protein conformation
This animation presents a good overview of prions
The content is generally accurate
This video is short and to the point
The visuals accompanying the narration are decent
Summarizes well the most widely accepted mechanism for prion protein replication while still indicating that this mechanism is not 100% certain
The introduction to prions leaves out some key points
The alternative hypothesis given is not clear to me
Video is too brief to provide a complete demonstration of the topic (but is well-designed to be situated within a larger discussion or assignment)
Does not mention how the prion accumulation impacts brain structure or function
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The animation is a nice, stand-alone introduction to the topic that could be used in many contexts
The animation includes text and audio, which allows the animation to be read or listened to or both at the same time
Easy to use in class or in a homework assignment, introduces types of prion diseases as well as the most probable replication mechanism
Short (only 90 seconds, so short enough to keep student attention)
The animation cannot be expanded
There may be copyright issues with using this in various ways for instructors (it appears to be part of McGraw-Hill's online database for people using McGraw-Hill textbooks)
Does not identify learning objectives or prerequisite knowledge
Cannot be used to measure student learning outcomes unless it is part of a larger assignment
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Controls all work as intended and are easy
Easy to use (just push play)
The moving progress slider can be grabbed and moved forward or backward
The animation can be paused
No timer is included
Not particularly interactive
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