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Peer Review

Cyclic and Noncyclic Photophosphorylation

by Peter Raven


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 08, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is an animation showing the light reactions of photosynthesis in bacteria and in plants.
Type of Material: Animation.
Recommended Uses: Can be used before class to introduce concepts or after class to reinforce concepts.
Technical Requirements: Browser with Adobe Flash Player.
Identify Major Learning Goals: No objectives are stated in the object.
Target Student Population: High school or undergraduate
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some knowledge of photosynthesis and the properties of light.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Visually appealing: animations are straightforward and colorful
  • Good introduction to the differences between cyclic and non-cyclic photosynthesis
  • Well balanced for enough detail to be helpful, but not so much detail that it overwhelms the student
  • Relatively in-depth depiction of photophosphylation, including both cyclic and noncyclic.
  • No visual that includes the membrane where the photosystems are located
  • Animations stop while dialogue continues. The animation part could use some further development
  • The proton gradient is mentioned in the narration but is not shown in the diagram, nor is ATP synthase. (These are covered in another animation.)

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • This animation is potentially a useful summary of the light reactions for students.
  • The explanation is clear and a summary loop at the end shows the entire process in action.
  • This is clearly a resource intended to accompany a text or lecture; terms are not defined and many details are elided for the sake of highlighting electron flow.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
  • The narration is available in audio and text formats, making this resource ADA compliant. In fact, both can be toggled independently, allowing the user to have either or both
  • An indicator button moves as the animation progresses and allows for manual scrolling
  • The animation can be paused at any point
  • The animation works on PC and Mac, as long as they have Flash installed
  • There is no full screen mode and the window where the animation plays cannot be resized

Other Issues and Comments: This is a very nice resource for one specific topic in photosynthesis. It is published by McGraw Hill to accompany one of the Raven texts, and there may be copyright issues for instructors who want to incorporate this material into a course.