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Peer Review

The Epigenome at a Glance



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a YouTube video from Learn Genetics at the University of Utah to introduce the topic of epigenetics and the epigenome. Epigenetics considers how heritable influences other than DNA sequence can affect the expression of genes. This is an important and emerging topic that should be included in courses covering genetics topics. Included on the webpage are links to additional materials related to the topic, including some suggested classroom activities.
Type of Material: YouTube video
Recommended Uses: This video would be useful to introduce the topic of epigenetics in a high school biology or college level general education biology course. In my opinion it would be important to follow this up with some of the activities in the links provided with the video.
Technical Requirements: Browser with flash or equivalent to view YouTube videos.
Identify Major Learning Goals: None specifically stated although it is clear that he primary purpose of the video is to introduce the topic of epigenetics.
Target Student Population: High school biology or college-level general education biology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: This topic should be introduced after a basic genetic principles, including DNA replication and gene expression, are discussed in the classroom.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Information is simplified but very accurate
  • Animation is clear and demonstrates complexity in a straightforward way
  • Narration is well-paced
  • The DNA supercoil may not be shown coiling in the correct direction
  • There are also some areas that lack detail in the video. For example, the video mentions chemical tags that shape the genome structure but does not include specific examples and how they function.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
  • The video presents large topic in a very concise way, and should pose many questions for viewers
  • A link to more information (at LearnGenetics) is attached to the metadata for the video and its use greatly enhances the effectiveness of the video
  • As with most videos, this video is not interactive--it presents high quality information but does not require thinking or participation

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
  • The video works fine on all computers that are capable of viewing YouTube videos (flash enabled)
  • The narration is well-written and well-presented
  • None

Other Issues and Comments: This is an important topic and rarely gets enough attention at the general biology level. This video can help present the material outside normal class time.