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Peer Review

Sickle Cell DNA

by Sherwin Singer , Julie Goodman , Roseanne Hetterscheidt , Liz Lucas , Veronica Mortier , Mark Pohlman , Gail Wheatley


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 08, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site is an interactive animation on sickle cell, its inheritance pattern, and the services that genetic counselors can provide to those who seek their services. Details about amino acids, DNA replication, proteins, and protein folding are explained with an age-appropriate vocabulary.
Type of Material: This is an interactive animation, that contains voice over readings for ADA compliance.
Recommended Uses: This animation would be best be used to integrate DNA replication, transcription, and translation to health and disease. In addition, it would provide a real-life link to a disease that impacts many in society today.
Technical Requirements: Browser with Adobe Flash Player.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The animation/tutorial uses a case study (sickle cell) to teach DNA, protein synthesis, expression of character trait, and what to do with the information. The animation has embedded assessments that help the learner track his/her progress throughout the learning process.
Target Student Population: Although very basic, this animation could be used for middle school, high school, and for nonscience majors at the college level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge of genetics and cell biology.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
  • The narrated animation is skillfully presented using vocabulary that is appropriate for beginning biology students
  • Content is accurate based on currently accepted information regarding DNA, sickle cell, and genetic counseling techniques
  • Learners can pause and rewind the learning object for better understanding
  • Assessment questions are embedded in the learning object
  • At first glance it appears to be be useful for elementary grades. However, the content is at a higher level than the animations reveals

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • The presentation of the topic is lively and interactive
  • Provides a true-to-life case scenario to which learners can relate
  • Information is presented in an engaging and active manner for students to assimilate
  • The glossary could be dictated, for ADA compliance and ease for students to learn vocabulary

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
  • Materials accessible through any search engine
  • There is a teacher’s guide and a “need help” link to maximize utility of the resource
  • There is a suggestion for which audience to use the learning object (grade 9 +)
  • he animation is very easy to use, and is easy for students to click and advance through each segment
  • The animation sometimes stops out if the student takes a break or delays advancing through pages

Other Issues and Comments: No additional comments.