In a report from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, several authors present scientific information related to how the brain functions relative to seeing, hearing, and smelling. The information is displayed in a series of concise articles, including graphics, which elaborate on how the brain performs "sensing" activities.
The articles on the web site serve as very good reference sources for the study of sensation and perception. A thorough reading of all material available on this web site would provide an excellent overview of the current state of knowledge in the basic physiological and biological processes involved in sensory processing.
Target Student Population:
The target population would be advanced high school biology and college level science or psychology students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some prior study of basic human biology and psychology would be beneficial.
Type of Material:
The site is comprised primarily of text and graphics. There are also a few java applets to demonstrate illusions.
The site is useful as an online reference for the study of the sensory functions of the human brain. It can also be used to introduce students to the topics covered or to reinforce their understanding.
Evaluation and Observation
The articles contain current findings in the subject areas and display that information in a clear and concise fashion. Often 'sidebar' links are provided to provide additional detail or related information. The site is well-organized and explanations are clear and thorough.
As with most hyperlink rich sites, it isn't hard to get sidetracked. The use of spawned browsers for the sidebars helps the user get back on track.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
As a reference source these articles are an excellent supplement to the study of the biological or psychological aspects of brain function. An instructor could assign some or all of the content as supplemental reading, and facilitate a broad ranging discussion on course-relevant issues.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is simple to use. Each article contains text with graphical support, and there are numerous links to an online glossary of those scientific terms mentioned in the text.
Other Issues and Comments:
The articles on this web site are both fascinating and informative, and they represent some of the latest findings in scientific research. This is a really nice site.