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Peer Review

Early Theories of Evolution

by Dennis O'Neil


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.33 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 23, 2002 by Biology Editorial Board

Early Theories of Evolution is part of a series entitled "Anthropology
Tutorials." This Lecture/Tutorial focuses on a history of evolutionary
theories with information about Pre-DarwinianTheories, Darwin and Natural
Selection, and Evidence of Evolution. Famous scientists such as James Ussher,
Carolus Linnaeus, Erasmus Darwin, Jean Baptiste, George Cuvier, Charles Lyell,
Charles Darwin, Thomas Malthus, Alfred Wallace, Gregor Mendel, and others are
discussed, along with their noteworthy achievements that contribute toward
current evolutionary concepts. The primary focus is on Darwin and evidence of
evolution. Each topic is explained through use of text, sound files,
illustrations, and links to a glossary. A tutorial is provided at the end of
each unit. Additional references are provided in a section entitled Historically
Influential Publications.

Type of Material:


Technical Requirements:

Windows Media Player or RealAudio for sound.

Target Student Population:

High School or Lower-Level College (Freshman/Sophomore)

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars

Quality of Content: 4.4, 4.0 = 4.2

Features of Excellence

  • Clearly laid out and organized; easy to navigate
  • Accurate with appropriate vocabulary
  • Good general coverage of material
  • Simple illustrations appropriate for basic understanding
  • Integrates concepts through interactive quizzes
  • Links to more advanced sites provide multi-level learning

  • Links to additional related web sites should be inserted, especially on
    each of the people discussed

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars

Potential Effectiveness: 4.5, 4.0 = 4.25

Features of Excellence

  • Great resource for general information
  • Good for students having trouble verbalizing terms
  • Quizzes immediately graded with reasons for each answer
  • Conceptual understanding is generally provided through additional links
  • Suggested questions for web exploration exercises

  • Inclusion of animations or links to animations would make the site more
    exciting and engaging to students

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars

Ease of Use: 4.6, 5.0, = 4.8

Features of Excellence

  • Well designed and intuitive
  • Easy to navigate and fast
  • Definitions are linked directly to term without need for scrolling;
    audio files for pronounciation
  • No bugs or defective links found
  • An on-line textbook, accompanied with .wav files helps students with
    proper pronunciation
  • Interactive quizzes provide immediate reasons for correct and incorrect
  • Suggested questions for web exploration exercises

  • Site is text heavy; more interactivity besides quizzes would be useful

Other Issues and Comments:

Overall: 4.5, 4.33, = 4.4