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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Worm Classroom

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 3.5 stars
Reviewed: May 26, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: The Worm Classroom is a portal on "the worm" Caenorhabditis elegans. Information posted on the site include basic information about this model organism, the researchers and their areas of research using the worm, as well as instructional materials on various biology disciplines that were developed based on C. elegans research resources.
Learning Goals: There are no specific learning goals for the site as a whole. Some of the specific educational materials include learning outcomes and complete protocols for doing the labs.
Target Student Population: High school, lower level undergraduate, advanced undergraduate.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: General Zoology Basic Animal Physiology Anatomical terminology
Type of Material: The site is a listing of educational and research resources related to C. elegant. There are descriptions of how the organism is used in lab at all levels--high school to advanced undergraduate. Syllabi are available along with multimedia materials and suggestions for uses in the lab. Examples of research using the organism are discussed.
Recommended Uses: This site would be ideal for a program looking to introduce investigative labs into their curriculum using a model animal system with a rich research and educational literature.
Technical Requirements:
  • Browser
  • QuickTime Player

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • Most materials come from successful educational exercises at a variety of institutions. The procedures have been tested and work.
  • Some educational materials have detailed protocols for students.
  • Materials are based on active research results
  • Informatioin is accurate
  • Information is complete
  • There are a lot of links
  • There is a lot of information provided
  • Animations are good
  • Images are good
Concerns:
  • There does not appear to be an internal process to review quality of materials.
  • Difficult to determine how often materials are updated
  • It is not very intuitive
  • There is a lot of information

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • This is the strength of the site--many descriptions os successful uses from an educational viewpoint
  • Could be used at any level as demonstration, a segment of lab curriculum, or as an entire semester lab sequence
  • Brings a model animal system to the classroom
  • Does not take a great deal of space or resources
Concerns:
  • There are no learning objectives
  • There is little organization
  • Concepts do not build on each other

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths:
  • Educational resources organized into categories--Instructional Materials; Multimedia Resources; Teaching With C. elegant; Worm Educators; Survey of Curricula (1999)
  • List of questions that might be investigated is supplied
  • A glossary of terms is provided
  • Information on research uses of the organism provided
  • Easy to use
  • Pictures and animations explain the material well
Concerns:
  • The large number of materials would take time to review to determine which are applicable to a particular situation
  • Full use requires user to join site

Other Issues and Comments: I can understand how users would have mixed reactions to this site. Some of its strengths are also concerns. It provides a lot of information, but leaves the user to decide what to do with it. There was no clear guidance. I had to just play around with it to figure out its purpose. ... and it took me a few visits. I think this is for a more specific audience than the authors seem to have intended. I think they want it for the general public, but the user really needs to have a fair amount of background in biology.