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Peer Review

Classification of Living Things

by Dennis O'Neil


Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Mar 16, 2002 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This piece is designed as a tutorial about the Linnaean system of classification with an emphasis on how humans fit within this system. It is a chapter of a larger web text on Anthropology and human evolution. It provides a description of the history of classification, the logic behind it, a minimal discussion of the attitudes and views of early scientists, and the benefits derived from it. It also provides describes the kingdoms and the classes of vertebrates. Through it the author also hopes to help students " discover part of the great diversity of life forms and come to understand why some animals are considered to be close to us in their evolutionary history." It was clearly designed to investigate the position of humans and mammals, as there is little information about other major kingdoms given. However, recommended links to other sites have much information about other groups.
Learning Goals: A basic understanding of classification in Biology
Target Student Population: Freshman
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Tutorial
Technical Requirements: HTML

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars

Quality of Content: (2.8) (5.0) = 3.9

  • Artistically designed with very attractive picture, graphics and text enhancements.
  • Provides basic introduction to classification as a study and a tool
  • Introduces many basic terms used by biologists
  • Provides basic factual information clearly
  • Includes classification of humans and describes characteristics that humans
    share with other animals

  • Sketchy in its treatments
  • Uses unnecessary vocabulary and incorrectly defines some terms and but misses
    very few.
  • Provides little interaction beyond wave files for pronunciation and multiple-choice
    recall-level questions

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars

Potential Effectiveness: (4.0) (2.5) = 3.3

  • Covers a topic common to many introductory biology/zoology courses
  • Could replace textbook descriptions
  • Provides a web searching exercise

  • Does not promote application of concepts or problem solving

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars

Ease of Use: (4.1)( 4.0) = 4.1

  • Very easy to navigate - essentially page turning

  • A considerable amount of reading
  • Some links to glossary point to the end of the page rather than the appropriate