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Peer Review

Biomedia Cell Biology Image and Movie Database

by Dietz


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Aug 12, 2009 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: The Bio-Media database contains a large number of images of cell structure from a wide variety of cell types. The images have been generated using high quality light microscopes, transmission electron microscopes (TEM) and scanning electron microscopes (SEM). Images are tagged with detailed information concerning taxonomy, cell type, organelles, and microscopy techniques. The image database can be searched with keywords relating to any of these tags. There are no costs associated with this collection.
Type of Material: Collection
Recommended Uses: This would be best used as a demonstration on organisms, cell structure, and microscopy techniques.
Technical Requirements: To view the movies a download of VP3 is required, a link to this download is provided on the home page of this material.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The Bio-Media database is designed to provide Cell Biology students with a large number of images of cell structure from a wide variety of cell types. The learner will be able to visualize a large variety of organisms and explore various microscopy and staining techniques by examining these images.
Target Student Population: High school or undergraduate biology classroom.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic biology skills would be helpful in understanding the image descriptions.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars

  • High quality SEM and TEM images.
  • There are a number of model organisms that are frequently used in the biology classroom that have representative images.
  • Metatags are attached to each image (species, tissue, cell, and organelle)making searhes easy and accurate.
  • There are labelled images that would aid students understanding of basic cell structure. The images can be viewed at different resolutions, and at higher resolution, labels are included, identifying structures in the image. There are also excellent descriptions of each image available to understand techniques and orient the student to the image.

  • None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars

  • An excellent source of images for students and instructors.
  • A thourough and complete selection of cellular structures. The images are nicely cataloged and detailed descriptions are available.
  • The images in this collection would be most effective if incorporated into the lecture or lab setting by an instructor. It would be possible to design exercises that use these images.

  • While assignments could be developed, none are currently available, or linked to the site. As a result it is unclear what the authors wish the students to learn from the site. The materials are not engaging and require a bit of searching to find the desired type of image.
  • It may be difficult for students to determine specific structures if assigned to find images on their own. A glossary defining the organelles or their function would help. In addition, annotations on the images themselves would help students better understand what they are looking at.
  • A brief description of SEM and TEM would allow students to visually compare the products of the two techniques.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars

  • The search feature on the material lets users search a variety of ways. The search results show up as small thumbnail images for easy browsing.
  • Well organized and not cluttered. The material is clearly annotated and information about the image is readily available.
  • No broken links.

  • The link "labeled images" is not as descriptive as something like "browse database". Having the options "Browse" and "Search" next to each other would be clearer.