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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Evidence of Evolution Exploratour!

by Lisa Gardiner
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jan 05, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This resource is part of a larger website hosted by the National Earth Science Teachers Association. The material discusses the evidence for evolution in a series of web pages presented as a “tour.” Each page of the tour presents material and links to additional resources that define and describe the evidence for evolution. A discussion of what constitutes a “scientific theory” is also provided as well as examples of artificial and natural selection.
Learning Goals: No specific goals are provided. However, from looking through the site, the major learning goal for the student is to learn about the “scientific theory that explains how and why living things change over many generations.”
Target Student Population: Undergraduate, high school or the general public.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: Webpage series.
Recommended Uses: This material could be used as ancillary material for a class or as independent study material.
Technical Requirements: The website is written HTML 4.01 and uses javascripts. External links may require an mp3 or video player.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The depth and breadth of the material is excellent for an introductory treatment of evolutionary theory
  • Some excellent examples and historical material are presented
  • Includes a discussion on what constitutes a scientific theory
Concerns:
  • The information is primarily text-based, although it is well presented
  • Some of the links to external material were broken
  • it appears that a number of the pages have not been updated recently

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths:
  • This resource has a mix of text and graphics/images at an appropriate level for non-majors and is highly effective at explaining evolution to people who lack a strong biology background
  • The examples of evidence for evolution are detailed and well explained
Concerns:
  • The page is old (last modified in 2005) and lacks some of the sophistication web 2.0 users are used to--which may make the resource less attractive to some users
  • There are no problems, questions or exercises to promote critical thinking
  • While conceptual material is presented the format (10 separate web pages) does not lend itself to a treatment in which connections between evolution and other areas of biology are emphasized

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • The pages load quickly in Firefox, Safari and Chrome on both mac and pc
  • The navigation is straightforward and easy to use
Concerns:
  • The content is displayed on approximately half of the web page horizontally (in full screen mode), and the other half is taken up by advertisements, menus, login windows, etc.--these are distracting (Apparently, if you become a member, the ads will disappear)
  • There are moving banners at the top of the page, which are distracting
  • Little interactivity to engage the student

Other Issues and Comments: This is a solid resource and the larger website of which it is a part has a lot of good quality information. Some upgrades could greatly benefit the Evolution Exlporatour.