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# Peer Review

## Ratings

### Overall Rating:

Content Quality:
Effectiveness:
Ease of Use:
 Reviewed: Jul 24, 2002 by Physics Overview: This is a Shockwave applet that simulates a student breadboard system for simple DC circuits. Available elements include switches, light bulbs, some standard resistances, wire segments, and a battery. A voltmeter and ammeter are also provided for making measurements. Learning Goals: To demonstrate the behavior of DC circuits in an manner that closely approximates a laboratory setting. Target Student Population: Secondary and lower level undergraduate. Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students need to know basic electrical units and be familiar with Ohm's law. Knowledge of the properties of series and parallel resistances is also helpful. Type of Material: Simulation, Shockwave applet Recommended Uses: Lecture demo or student activity (Tutorial or homework). Technical Requirements: Requires the Shockwave Plugin

### Content Quality

Rating:
 Strengths: The applet provides enough elements to build a decent variety of circuits. The behavior of real systems is emulated very accurately. Circuit elements are realistic in that they all have non-zero resistance. (The meters are ideal.) The short accompanying tutorials cover a wide range of material related to simple circuits. Concerns: None noted.

### Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating:
 Strengths: Overall, this is an excellent simulation of a bread boarding system. It mimics very closely the actual process of building a circuit. The non-zero resistance of the battery and wires provide additional challenge to students who take the time to calculate currents in the circuits. Sample resistances include standard resistances (with appropriate color banding) and light bulbs. The latter are especially useful when discussing circuits at the high school level or in a course for non-science majors. Concerns: The built-in tutorials require almost no activity on the students' part. To be effective as homework, the instructor would need to write assignments to accompany the applet. The flexibility of the applet should allow instructors to build a variety of assignments based on it.

### Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating:
 Strengths: The applet is so easy to use that almost no explanation is needed to understand its operation. However, extensive help is available. These include tutorials on the basic principles of DC circuits and pop-up balloons describing individual elements. The opening screen provides instructions on accessing them. Concerns: The pop-up help for switches says that they can be turned off and on by right clicking them. This did not work under Netscape or Internet Explorer under Windows 2000. However, [Ctrl} left clicking did work.
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