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Peer Review


by Francis Collins


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 03, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a one-page factsheet produced by the National Human Genome Research Institute that provides an overview of the structure and function of chromosomes. It is part of a larger website that provides a variety of resources for understanding basic genetic concepts through current advances in genomic research. It is an excellent reference for material on chromosomes, definitions, anatomy, and basic function.
Type of Material: This factsheet provides text-based information as well as PDF files and images.
Recommended Uses: This factsheet would be useful for a nonmajors genetics or biology course and to introduce the students to the concept of chromosome structure and function. It is a general overview with not too much detail. It would be good to use as a "pre-exercise" reading before lecture.
Technical Requirements: Adobe Reader is required to view some of the content at this site.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This factsheet aims to educate the reader on basic chromosome structure, composition, and function. The images allow the reader to identify key components of chromosome structure.
Target Student Population: This material is appropriate for middle school, high school and non-majors genetics or biology students at the college level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A basic understanding of cell structure and function would be helpful to fully understand materials at this site.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Using simple vocabulary makes this fact sheet suitable for learning the basic information about chromosomes
  • The information provided in this factsheet is accurate, albeit very basic
  • The images are effective, but it might be better to use actual micrograph images rather than an artistic rendering of a microscopic images (skews the reality of the image)

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Simplicity of the format is attractive and does not overwhelm
  • For those learners seeking deeper knowledge, links to related topics are provided on the same page
  • Because the information in this factsheet is very basic, it is an effective learning tool for students just entering into the topic of chromosome structure and function
  • If this is for a majors course, the images may not be as useful since they are graphically altered micrographic images

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
  • Providing a link to the talking glossary of genetic terms enhances the learning process and provides pronunciations of technical terms
  • Providing the "accessibility" link will allow users experiencing technical difficulties to email the webmaster for technical assistance
  • This factsheet is very simple, and laid out very clearly to the viewer
  • The hyperlinks allow the reader to drop down immediately to specific topics if they wish
  • There were no concerns about ease of use at the time of this review

Other Issues and Comments: The user would benefit from exploring the other areas of this website, as it contains a great deal of information that would advance their knowledge in genetics and current issues in this field. The additional tools are all very user friendly and effective as well. The simplicity of the presentation does not overwhelm the learner.