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Peer Review

Self-Instructional on Basic Biological Chemistry and Cells

by Gretchen Kirchner


Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 3.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Nov 03, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a text-based tutorial that describes the basic characteristics of four organic macromolecules. The resource will be useful as a reference material for students who may be struggling with the concept of organic molecules.
Learning Goals: None presented within the webpage.
Target Student Population: High school to lower division biology classes
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge of molecular formula and understanding of chemical arrangements of atoms in a chemical compound
Type of Material: Text-based reference material. Contains self-paced tutorial.
Recommended Uses: This material can be used in several ways
  • Before the material is presented in lecture/lab
  • After class as a review
  • In-class lecture supplement
  • Homework
Technical Requirements: The website can be accessed with any browser

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
  • This web page gives a good overview of the four macromolecules.
  • The authors does a good job of making it relevant by looking at a meal that most students will be familiar with.
  • There are links to a couple of key terms that bring up a definition or explanation in a new window.
    • Heavy on the text.
    • Need to use formatting more to emphasize certain aspects of the text that require the students focus.
    • It would be helpful to have more links to words and phrases that need definitions, especially in the first few paragraphs talking about chemistry concepts.

      Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

      Rating: 3.75 stars
      • This page would work well for a homework assignment or review.
      • A good set of questions will help students, especially if they work together to make sure the answers are correct or if they have time to confirm the answers through the instructor.
      • The information is presented in a manner that is easy to understand
      • Review questions at the end of each lesson enhances the usefulness of the material
        • Pages are static text
        • Text-based information may not help students that have difficulty getting the information out of the textbook

        Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

        Rating: 4 stars
        • The webpage is very easy to navigate and follow.
        • Text-based presentation gives access to the material to any student using any of the commonly used browsers.
        • It will be a good reference for students who may be struggling with the concept of organic molecules especially at the start of the semester.
          • The regular 12 point Times New Roman font against an orange background is difficult to look at for long time periods
          • For someone who may have some visual impairment, the site is not ADA compliant.

          Other Issues and Comments: The simplicity and the direct approach of this "lecture" material will be helpful especially for students who are getting ready to take a test.