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Peer Review

Photosystem II

by Phil McClean , Alan White , Brian M. Slator , Roxanne Rogers , Christina Johnson


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 30, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site presents a video animation of the processes that comprise Photosystem II. Photosystem II is one of the major complexes in the photosynthetic electron transport chain. This video also includes the various components such as photons, water, oxygen, and P680 reaction center involved in Photosystem II. There is also a link that allows students to take an in-depth look at the elements and events that occur in Photosystem II. The site is one animation ffrom a larger archive of cellular processes from the Virtual Cell Animation Collection, Molecular & Cellular Biology Education (VCAC) Project at North Dakota State University. VCAC continues to provide high quality animations for critical science concepts. These animations are good for students at the high school and undergraduate level.
Type of Material: This learning object is provided as a Flash Animation Video
Recommended Uses: Can be used before class to introduce concepts or after class to reinforce concepts.
Technical Requirements: Technical requirements include a Web Browser with the Flash plugin.
Identify Major Learning Goals: There are no specific learning outcomes associated with the site.
Target Student Population: The target population includes advanced high school and lower level undergraduate students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Users will benefit from some knowledge of molecules and cellular biology. Understanding some of the basic properties of light would also be beneficial.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Animation is clear and easy to follow; high quality animation
  • Narration is appropriate for the information presented and matches the action in the animation
  • Well designed for introducing concepts without getting lost in detail
  • Level of complexity is good for intended audience
  • The release of oxygen is not as clear as it could be

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • The video delves deep enough into the details of the Photosystem II that the listener will increase their understanding of the concepts and components involved
  • Would work well as as an adjunct to classroom presentation
  • Could be used as an assignment prior to class
  • Focuses on the biophysics of the Photosystem II as much as chemistry; this is very important for an understanding of how photosystems and photosynthesis works
  • Will make a good review
  • Students can play animation multiple times until they are comfortable that they can explain the process
  • Student needs to know place of process in overall process of photosynthesis
  • If the student has not been introduced to some of the background concepts (molecules, photons, etc.), they could get overwhelmed quickly
  • Animation does not explain where electrons go from photosystem II--that is a separate animation >li>The globular molecules are beneficial for the sake of simplicity, but it would be nice to see actual molecular structures

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Very easy to access and use
  • Little or no navigation required
  • Transcript of narration provided
  • The size of the video (22MB) could be a challenge for students with poor internet bandwidth
  • Animation is short and would be better with explanation of what happens to electrons
  • Pictures that go with the animations could be improved or replaced with video

Other Issues and Comments: The purpose is to break the various process into small chunks of information and explain each with a short animation. There are advantages to that approach. The disadvantage is that the student may have difficulty seeing the process as a whole.