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Peer Review

Biology Tutorials

by Dennis Anderson


Overall Rating:

3.3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jan 17, 2003 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site is a tutorial developed for a specific introductory Zoology or Introductory Biology course, probably taught by the author. Many topics covered in a typical zoology course can be supplemented using this web tutorial, including: mitosis, basic tissue types, characteristics of phyla, detailed characteristics of phyla containing worms, and identification of blood cells. The images are high quality and the author provides a basic quiz for self-assessment at the end of each unit, which gives feedback as selections are made. The author provides no overall objectives or information other than the characteristics for each specific topic.
Target Student Population: Introductory College
Type of Material: Tutorial
Technical Requirements: HTML

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars

Quality of Content: (3)(3) = 3

  • While the general content is of average quality, the images and animations
    are of extremely high quality.

  • The type of material and the descriptions match that of the typical zoology

  • Quiz offers immediate feedback.


  • There are a few errors, e.g. the Cell Cycle is actually mitosis.

  • Limited in scope.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool: (3)(3) = 3

  • Basic resource - materials easily found in a textbook but perhaps more interesting
    as a web page.

  • Could be integrated into most Introductory Zoology courses


  • Lacks problem solving or inquiry of any kind. Approach is very content oriented
    with identification being the goal of any page or quiz.

  • Interactivity is limited to page turning and a basic quiz

  • The quizzes are fairly straightforward but not rigorous. Quizzes can be
    answered by looking at the name of the answer pages - correct answers are
    always identified in the titles.

  • Should help students review basic identifications of structures or organisms

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars

Usability: (3)(5) = 4

  • The tutorial is generally simple and straightforward to use — it requires
    no special directions.


  • The user can get lost and cannot easily return to other pages without resorting
    to the back button.

  • There is no way out of quizzes till the end (other than back button)

  • Some screens are too dark to read

  • Downloads an 8Mb Quicktime movie without warning

Features of Excellence:

  • Quality images a nd animation

  • Author's approach and information is very generic so others could adopt the site without a lot of effort for any lower level biology/zoology courses covering the same topics.


  • Could benefit from the ability to hide labels or quiz mode to help students
    identify structures.

  • Needs to improve navigation and quizzes

  • Author should continue to expand the site.

Overall rating: (3.0) (3.6) = 3.3