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MERLOT II

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Peer Review


Action Potential Animation and Images

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4.7 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 04, 2004 by Psychology
Overview: This site provides an animation of the action potential, and simple graphic
images with a short explanation of each stage.
Learning Goals: This site provides a visualization of the movement of an action potential and
can aid students in understanding how ion movement produces a flow of current
down the axon.

Target Student Population: College students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: In order to fully benefit from viewing this animation, the student must have a
basic understanding of what an action potential is and how it is produced.

Type of Material: Animation.
Recommended Uses: Students could be directed to this site in order to see a visualization of the
movement of an action potential. Faculty could also use the site in in-class
discussions of the action potential.

Technical Requirements: In order to view the animation, the viewer's browser must be able to support
animated graphics. If one does not, however, images of each step of the process
(with explanations) are also provided.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The animation allows for an understanding that cannot be explained with text
alone. This is an elegant, yet simple, visualization of the action potential.

Concerns: There is very little text explaining the animation. Some textual explanation
would certainly enhance the value of the site.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.7 stars
Strengths: This animation offers a visualization of a process that is not easily explained
with words.
Concerns: The animation would work better if it could be slowed down a little. The actual
identification of the sodium-potassium pump as the sodium-potassium pump would
be beneficial. Its function is discussed, but it is not named.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This animation is simple and clear.

Concerns: None.

Other Issues and Comments: It would be great to have more information included on the working of the neuron
in such a model, such as the semi-permeability of the membrane, and the fact
that it actively maintains resting potential with sodium-potassium pumps. An
enhancement illustrating myelinated neurons would be great as well.