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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Anatomy and Function of the Brain

by Susan Heitman
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 25, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: “Anatomy and Function of the Brain” is a short tutorial. The site is composed of two pages. The first page is the tutorial site where the different anatomical lobes, or regions, of the brain are shown. Each lobe or region has a short paragraph about its function. The lobes of the brain included in the tutorial are the Frontal, Parietal, Occipital, and Temporal lobes. The regions of the brain included in the tutorial are: 1) Diencephalon, specifically the thalamus, hypothalamus, and epithalamus, 2) Limbic System, specifically the olfactory system, amygdala, and hippocampus, and 3) the Brainstem, specifically the midbrain, pons and medulla. The second page of the tutorial is a matching game where the student will match each lobe or region with its specific function. The target student population would be college general education students.
Learning Goals: Students will be able to:
  • identify the different lobes of the brain
  • describe the functions of each lobe of the brain
  • describe the function and location of the diencephalon, including the thalamus, hypothalamus, and epithalamus
  • describe the function of the limbic system, including the olfactory system, amygdala, and hippocampus
  • describe the function of the brainstem, including the midbrain, pons and medulla
Target Student Population: At least advanced high school biology knowledge - language is fairly sophisticated. Undergrad level seems appropriate.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: none.
Type of Material: Interactive tutorial - rollovers and click-and-drag matching (Flash)
Recommended Uses: This site could be assigned as a preview to the brain. Students could work through the site at their own pace. The site could also be used as a review of the anatomy and functions of the brain and brainstem.
Technical Requirements: Flash. Not tested on mobile, but Flash, in general may not work on mobile, especially Apple mobile products.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The content covers the foundational material of neuroanatomy or neuroscience.
  • The content is current and up to date.
  • The site is short and will not overwhelm the learner.
Concerns:
  • Some of the pointers on diagrams are imprecise in their locations

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • The site is effective and the learner can learn a lot in a short amount of time
  • Interactivity is a nice way to engage the user in active learning
  • The matching exercise is an effective way for the learner to review the tutorial material
  • The site engages multiple senses through the use of diagrams and text
Concerns:
  • Learning objectives are not provided
  • The matching site does not provide feedback on why an answer was wrong
  • The matching section does not enable the user to match a function to a particular location, but to a text label. If the learning goal is to know the location of the structure, it would be useful to have this.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • Easy to navigate the site.
  • Directions are clear and easy to follow.
  • The site is interactive - roll over object and there is a pointer to the object with a description
  • The site is of high quality design.
Concerns:
  • None.

Other Issues and Comments: No additional issues