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Peer Review

Sequence Manipulation Suite 2



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Aug 09, 2007 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: The Sequence Manipulation Suite is a collection of JavaScript programs for generating, formatting, and analyzing short DNA and protein sequences. It can be used by molecular biologists, for teaching, and for program and algorithm testing.
Type of Material: Interactive programs
Recommended Uses: To solve bioinformatics problems in or out of class
Technical Requirements: java 1.5
Identify Major Learning Goals: None stated
Target Student Population: Upper level undergraduates
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Advanced knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology or bioinformatics

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Excellent java-based programs for basic bioinformatics manipulations. Fast programs produce high quality graphical outputs. Contains most of the types of manipulations students would need in class.
Concerns: Restriction digestion program only allows students to select two enzymes, however, they can do a restriction map which uses all enzymes. Selecting for say 6-base cutters only would be a nice option.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: High quality, free, bioinformatics programs that could easily be incorporated into any course, or inserted directly into a course webpage. Compatible with inquiry-based learning approaches in molecular biology and genetics lab courses. Would be possible to develop assignments using these tools.
Concerns: Very little instruction on what the tools do and what the results mean. No existing tutorials or lessons attached to the tools. No suggestions for teachers on how to incorporate the tools into their classrooms.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Simple straightforward page design. No dead links, operates quickly. Very consistent layout, easy to find appropriate tools. Contains sample data so that students can see how to input their data, and what a sample output will look like.
Concerns: Lots of copying and pasting to move sequences from one tool to the next. Would need to have a text page open to store inputs and outputs. Very brief instructions for students who may be first time users.