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Peer Review

MIT OpenCourseWare-Introductory Biology, Spring 2005

by Julia Khodor , Graham Walker , Julia , Penny Chisholm , Michelle Mischke


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 29, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: The MIT Biology Department core courses, 7.012, 7.013, and 7.014, all cover the same core material, which includes the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology. Biological function at the molecular level is particularly emphasized and covers the structure and regulation of genes, as well as, the structure and synthesis of proteins, how these molecules are integrated into cells, and how these cells are integrated into multicellular systems and organisms. In addition, each version of the subject has its own distinctive material.
Type of Material: Video lectures of an MIT biolgy course.
Recommended Uses: This resource can function: a. as an instructional aid for faculty b. as an educational aid for students c. as an educational platform for the general public seeking to enhance their knowledge.
Technical Requirements: Flash and Java
Identify Major Learning Goals: The goals of this project are to: a. provide a high-quality open source curriculum in general biology. b. provide ancillary materials required for completion of an open source course. c. provide continued interaction of participants even after posting of the course (in 2005).
Target Student Population: This project would be beneficial to students in a college-level biology course seeking supplemental problems and videos on various topics.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A basic biology and chemistry background (high school level).

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • All materials presented in a traditional on campus course are provided to the user.
  • All information is accurate and delivered in a clear, concise manner.
  • Homework questions and quizzes are higher Bloom's level content.
  • Concerns:
  • The content is from 2005, so in terms of presenting information on current advances in the field this site is lacking.

  • Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

    Rating: 4.25 stars
  • All of the information a student needs to successfully meet the learning goals of the course are provided if the student is motivated to utilize them properly.
  • The lectures are ADA compliant.
  • As effective as any lecture. Not interactive, but lectures tend not to be.
  • Concerns:
  • So much information and so many learning tools are presented that it may easily overwhelm many users, prohibiting their success in the open source course.

  • Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

    Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Objectives for the course are clearly laid out, and all content is easily navigated from the main course page.
  • All videos load easily and quickly from the platform; Adobe is only needed to open PDF files for homework and quizzes.
  • Concerns:
  • The "Open Study" platform used for participants to interact leads to advertisements. I'm not sure how useful or efficient this portion of the course is to participants.

  • Other Issues and Comments: This course represents an early MOOC, and is still applicable to users today.