The site offers an online human physiology lab guide, providing detailed background (including demonstrations, illustrations, and animations) on the material to be covered in lab. There is an in-depth review of a Physiology lab. Principles of the lab as well as actual exercises are discussed and demonstrated. The site contains labs covering the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, blood, and endocrine systems as well as demonstrating the interaction of various physiological systems during exercise.
To offer tutorial lab support for McGill University course: Introductory Physiology Laboratory PHGY 212D1 & 2.
Provides learning review and support for examining the physiological systems of the blood, immune, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory physiology course, pre-medical courses, or more advanced biology courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The site assumes quite a bit of prior knowledge about the topics covered. Students need to be familiar with basic biological concepts and terminology.
Type of Material:
Very supportive for student comprehension of physiology labs, if reviewed prior to students actually doing the lab exercises in class.
Must have Adobe Acrobat reader. Must have some type of media viewer (e.g. Microsoft Media Player) for the Mpeg files.
Evaluation and Observation
Very good material and very supportive for pre-lab review. Videos of select activities were very useful.
Students will find the site very useful for reviewing material before lab.
There are informative videos, animations, diagrams, and some interactive
exercises. Links are also provided to external sites with movie clips and other information.
Instructors at other institutions might find the site useful for student review.
Very good for McGill course. Other instructors in other Anatomy & Physiology labs would find some of the exercises very useful for their own courses OR as a pre-lab or post-lab review of various physiological principles.
Content includes diagrams, animations, and small movie clips. Provides links to other instructional web sites.
The text is sometimes very dense. Additional formatting might be helpful.
Although the other material in the Blood lab is very good, the image quality of the videos is poor. Only very limited self-testing is available to students outside the McGill physiology class (requires a WebCT login).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Good for review and tutorial.
The learning objectives were limited as this site focused on established
The site will be very effective for students enrolled in the McGill course.
Instructors at other institutions will find useful review material to assign to their students or provide as additional material. The Blood lab, for example, is outstanding, with an interactive animation that allows the student to simulate looking at white blood cells through a microscope.
This material would most likely be appropriate for any introductory physiology course.
Instructors must review the content to see if it will fit strongly or broadly to their own learning objectives.
Because the site is built around a particular course at McGill University, instructors at other institutions will have to do quite a bit of work to determine how the material will fit into their own course.
It would be helpful to have the self-testing capability in the Virtual Lab rather than limited to the WebCT site.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Animations of hemolysis and crenation very good.
Animation of electrocardiogram very helpful.
The instructions are generally concise, well written, and easy to follow.
Useful for student review of lab principles.
Navigation is awkward. Each page has a navigation bar at the top left that displays additional choices when moused over. It's easy to lose one's place in the lab. Some pages offer a "click here to continue" at the bottom of the page. However, some of these links don't work, as in A/D basics. Requires reading to the bottom of the page and then scrolling back up to the navigation bar. The "continue on" links also sometimes go back to a previously read page.
During some of the animations in Exercise Physiology, students must read the text that pops up at the same time that they are watching the movement of a
signal to its target organ. Not all of the text fits on the screen, requiring the student to scroll down to read the text while the animation is playing. As such, it's very hard to get a sense of continuity from the animation.
"Gain Settings" page of Biological Signals Acquisition is gone.
The interactive ECG exercise of the Cardiovascular lab is a great idea,
but after reading the directions and giving it several tries I am unable to get the applet to work (even though I click and drag, the arrow doesn't leave the "Start Here" box, so the shape of the ECG can't be traced).
Other Issues and Comments:
This site would be very helpful for general student review of physiological principles; but for some students, the depth of this material progresses into a more in-depth level biology or physiology course work.