This site contains eight animations in either Quicktime or Flash on topics including; five animations of various mechanisms of infectious disease: infection by E. coli and Salmonella, bacterial conjugation, viral infection and subunit reassortment in viruses, two physiology animations on the workings of the heart and ear and one cell biology animation of diffusion across a membrane. The quality and usefulness of the animations vary.
Type of Material:
HTML, Quicktime and Flash plugins
Target Student Population:
Varies with animation from high school biology student to microbiology undergraduate.
Quality of Content: (4.0) (4.0) = (4.0)
Visually appealing animations illustrating some key concepts in microbiology and physiology.
Some of the animations contain helpful labels and descriptions of what is occurring, some do not.
The Flash animations are the best in this regard because students can proceed at their own pace.
Nicely illustrated animations.
The heart animation is by far the best.
Need to add labels to E. coli and Salmonella animations in order to make following the animations easier.
Cochlear animation needs explanatory text - the dialog does not clarify the illustrations.
Generally accurate but reassortment animation using influenza virus shows virus with multiple components in a spherical capsid - each nucleic acid is helically encapsidated and within a single envelope.
More labels and explanatory text would help students follow the animations.
A lot of variation in Animation quality - heart animation is outstanding and would receive a better score alone.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool: (3.0) (4.0) = (3.5)
Good for illustrating concepts, especially the beating heart animation.
High quality animations of several important concepts.
Does not promote problem solving or critical thinking. Links to problem solving and critical thinking questions would be valuable.
It would be difficult to make assignments based upon these animations,
they would be most useful for in class demonstrations or for students to review concepts.
With the exception of the heart animation, none of the other animations provide user manipulation. The E. coli and Salmonella animations may work as demonstrations by the instructor in the appropriate courses. The reassortment animation needs to be corrected and then will be a good illustration of the process.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Usability: (4.0) (3.0) = (3.5)
Well designed and attractive animations.
The written information usually clearly describes the animation (exception for the cochlear animation).
Heart animation allows user to manipulate the process.
Students do not have much control over the direction of the animation.
The active transport animation moves too quickly to follow the objects comfortably.
Both the E. coli and Salmonella animations are of complex processes and are difficult to follow without repeated viewing - the written explanation is clearer than the animation.
Overall rating: (4.0) (3.6) = (3.8)
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