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Peer Review

Microarray technique animation



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.2 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.7 stars
Reviewed: Mar 11, 2004 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site animates the microarray procedure using transcription from the Herpes
Simplex virus genome in HeLa cells as an example.
Type of Material: Flash animation
Recommended Uses: To help illustrate microarray procedure either in class or as out-of-class
Technical Requirements: Flash
Identify Major Learning Goals: To help students understand how microarrays are used to gain knowledge of gene
Target Student Population: Upper level undergraduates
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: basic understanding of DNA and gene expression

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars

  • High quality animation that illustrates the production of microarrays, sample preparation, and analysis of microarray data.
  • Animation does a good job of showing the actual steps, and also zooms in on what is occurring at a molecular level on the microarray.
  • The appropriate labels and writing are included in an uncluttered manner

  • The final microarray shows green spots for RNA expressed in uninfected cells.
  • How does HSV RNA get expressed there? Either the microarray is showing HeLa cellgenes not HSV or this was another experiment of HSV at different time points.
  • A clearer, or zoomed in, picture of the microarray would help the students see the subtle differences in color between spots.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Basic principles are clearly and effectively presented
  • Useful as an animation in lecture, where the instructor can explain what is
    happening at each step.
  • The animation is direct and to the point and only requires a short time to run
  • Could develop assignments based upon the animation.

  • There is no way to pause the animation
  • There is no interactivity or problem solving component to check for
    understanding. While assignments could be developed, there are no assignments or
    links to assignments on the site. It is not clear what the students should
    learn from the animation.
  • The interpretation of the results is incomplete. It would help if a few of the spots were identified, and the significance of the results explained (or better yet ask the students to explain the significance).
  • There is little explanation of why someone would want to do a microarray, i.e. why do we care which genes are expressed at different times?

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.7 stars

  • The animation loaded quickly and was very easy to use.
  • The replay button at the end allows for reviewing the process

  • It would be nice to be able to pause the animation for use in lecture, or to give students an opportunity to answer questions.

Comments from Author: This site was intended for a specific purpose for my own web site.