Educational Technology & Society 1(1) 1998
ISSN 1436-4522

(Tutorial On) DNA Structure, Replication, Transcription, and Protein Synthesis

(Website review)

Reviewer: M. Sapiyan
Multimedia Development Centre, University of Malaya, Malaysia.
Email: pian@mdc.um.edu.my

1. Site URL:
  http://www.ncc.gmu.edu/Public/ypetty/
2. Site title:
  (Tutorial On) DNA Structure, Replication, Transcription, and Protein Synthesis
3. Objective of the site:
  To learn about DNA, RNA and how proteins are made.
4. Expected audience:
  Undergraduates
5. Main topics covered:
 
  • DNA
  • Chromosomes and Genes
  • The Structure of Nucleic Acid Chains
  • Base Pairing in DNA: The Watson-Crick Model
  • Nucleic Acids and Heredity
  • Replication of DNA
  • Structure and Function of RNA
  • RNA Synthesis: Transcription
  • The Genetic Code
  • Protein Synthesis: Translation
6. Comments on usefulness and richness of each topic:
  Definitely a useful site for students learning about the subject. Each topic is rich in content appropriately supported with graphics for easier understanding of information presented. RNA Translation topic specially contains an informative animation. The site would prove more useful if the details in the diagrams were labelled.
7. Extent, appropriateness and quality of external links:
  There are many good quality external links in each unit, but some links, especially in the introductions to the various topics, do not directly relate to the topic covered in the unit, and may distract from the learning process. For example, in the topic 'introduction to DNA' (labelled as 'Introduction to Nucleic Acids' in table of contents), the external links to brain and eye may not add much to the learning about cell structure.
8. Special remarks
  The icons used for each topic in table of contents are not self-explanatory. For example, similar icons can be very confusing. A simple table of contents where the main topics and their subtopics are obvious would be more advantageous. Providing a link to the objectives in the 'Introduction to DNA' should improve its instructional value.

Consistency and uniformity in layout and colour schemes would also enhance the site.

In summary, this site has technical depth and is dynamic in interactivity. It is useful for students with some knowledge of the subject but may not be intuitive for beginners.

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