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MERLOT II

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Peer Review


Transgenic Crops

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Dec 17, 2012 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: Students, teachers, nutritionists, journalists, extension agents, and other users will learn about the history of transgenic crops as well as topics such as how to make transgenic crops, evaluation of these crops, current products, and future products from transgenic research. This site is informative and provides a wealth of information about how transgenic crops can be used to promote agricultural quality and productivity. Last updated in 2004.
Learning Goals: Specific information about transgenic crops, their history, use, evaluation, risks, and other areas will help users better understand the utility of this technology.
Target Student Population: Target populations include high school and undergraduate students as well as teachers, nutritionists, journalists, extension agents, and others.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Genetics and botany.
Type of Material: Collection of learning materials and links.
Recommended Uses: The material can be used at home or in a computer lab environment to learn more about transgenic crops.
Technical Requirements: The majority of material is provided in HTML format, although there were some Shockwave / Flash applications that lead to dead links at the time of this review.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • The information is accurate and complete, although some areas may need to be undated
  • Material is clearly laid out and easy to follow
  • HTML content is mixed well with pictures
  • The site is straightforward
  • A nice online text on plant breeding and genetics.
Concerns:
  • Some of the material is out-dated, not revised since 2004.
  • Some pictures are a little out of focus or semi-good quality
  • Information about the process of making transgenic crops is incomplete or hard to follow

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • A logical progression of material is presented
  • Material builds knowledge and some conceptual understanding
  • It is possible to make assignments to accompany this site
  • Unique topic may peak interest for many users
Concerns:
  • Learning objectives are not clearly stated
  • Material is not every engaging or enticing in the way it is presented

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • Navigation through site is intuitive
  • Moving from one link to the next is fairly fast
  • Mix of pictures and text is good, but could be more enticing
  • Navigation bar on the left makes it easy to skip around to different topics
Concerns:
  • The "how to make transgenic plants" animation / simulation leads to dead links
  • It is not always completely clear how topics relate to each other
  • Search engine is nice, but it is not clear what part of the site is being searched

Other Issues and Comments: This is an interesting site about transgenic crops and a great resource for both students and teachers.