The "Dynamics of Development" is an extensive multimedia tutorial composed of text, diagrams, QuickTime animations and movies, photos and electron micrographs of developmental processes during early amphibian and echinoderm embryology. This large site has two finished tutorials, one on amphibian embryology, the other on echinoderm embryology. A third tutorial covering zebrafish embryology is under construction. The amphibian tutorial is divided into five parts: why study amphibians, oogenesis/fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, and neurulation. The echinoderm tutorial is also divided into five parts: introduction, fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, and patterning. In both tutorials technical terms are hyperlinked to a common glossary. The tutorials frequently uses and cites the published literature and numerous important experiments, such as dye labeling, drug treatments, transplantations, Kellar sandwiches, etc., are described and illustrated. The extensive use of QuickTime videos, which range in size from 50 Kb to 5 Mb make this site most usable for students with a direct internet connection. Instructions for navigating through the site are provided and one can navigate through the site either from a subject menu, from an index page or by working progressively through the site.
Quicktime Player, good internet connection
Quality of content: (5) (4.5) = 4.8
This content is very complete, thorough and accurate, with particularly detailed descriptions of cleavage and gastrulation.
It is engaging and leads the viewer from step to step through early amphibian development.
The tutorial is also clearly laid out, easy to navigate, interactive and engaging.
Excellent and accurate text
Extensive and clear graphics and Quicktime movies and animations
Well written descriptions
Very extensive and complete coverage of the topic.
The only deficiency would be that, other than a short page at the beginning of each section, there is little attempt at integrating the large amount of content available on the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
(4.5) (4.5) = 4.5
Although learning objectives are not defined as such the instructional intent of the site is clear.
The extensive use of videos and animations to illustrate developmental processes promotes conceptual understanding and demonstrates relationships well.
Other instructors could easily develop learning assignments based on this tutorial. Learning objectives are not explicitly described are inherent in the material.
The inclusion of various experimental techniques will promote some problem solving skills but little is asked of the students other than to go from page to page.
A summary at the end of each section and more questions for the students would improve the usefulness of the site.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
(5) (5) = 5.0
The tutorial has clear instructions, is well written and designed, is easy to navigate and has no bugs or broken links.
Easy to use and navigate
Some of the Glossary entries appear to be incomplete and the glossary is clearly still under construction. It will make this site even better once this phase of development is complete.
Some of the QuickTime movies are too large for their educational value. Given the size of the some of the Quicktime movies they would be painfully slow to download through a dial up modem.
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