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Peer Review

Evolution Primer



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 07, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a YouTube video excerpt from a PBS documentary, presented as a "Primer".
Type of Material: You Tube video clip
Recommended Uses: As an assignment or an in-class presentation.
Technical Requirements: Web browser that can view YouTube videos.
Identify Major Learning Goals: None stated
Target Student Population: High school or early undergraduate
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
  • The video is well made (production qualities)
  • The information is accurate and experts are interviewed, adding more to the credibility of the information
  • The captioning is horribly incorrect, to the point where a deaf viewer would not be getting the same information as a hearing viewer (e.g. "Darwin's influence..." becomes in the captions "Darwin in France..."
  • A little basic and dry narrative, but that may be necessary for some students.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
  • The video is good for people not very familiar with science, as it is narrated in simple language and is very persuasive
  • The video addresses a common misconception among people not trained in science, so it potentially a very effective resource
  • The captions would render the information in the video unintelligible and therefore not very effective
  • Would probably not be very effective with a student who believes in intelligent design or creationism. No assignments or thought provoking questions to accompany the activity.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • The video is easily viewable with any web browser and an internet connection
  • Easy to load. No navigation necessary.
  • There may be some issues with viewing YouTube on iPads, iPods and iPhones, which do not support Flash

Other Issues and Comments: This "primer" addressing the issue: Isn't Evolution Just a Theory, is one of seven "primers" uploaded to YouTube by the user Gravitationalist. However, a bit of research revealed that these "primers" are actually excepts from a 2001 TV series produced by PBS and WGBH. While the excerpts are potentially useful for instructors, there may be copyright issues with the use of this material, and it is possible that if Gravitationalist did not receive permission to excerpt and post the segments, they will be removed from YouTube at the request of PBS.