Rose Colored Glasses

Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Web Based Learning Modules: Biology

This page contains a number of biology, microbiology, ecology, geology, astronomy, and physics resources that can be utilized in courses — many free for adoption.

General Resources

  • – This site developed by McGraw-Hill provides a series of animations, interactives, and powerpoints for a variety of science topics.
  • Bio Logica – Site "offers interactive features that foster independent inquiry and scientific reasoning." Developed by the Concord Consortium and supported by NSF.
  • Biology in Motion – Entertaining biology animations and interactive activities developed and maintained by Leif Saul.
  • CancerQuest – "This site was created to teach the biology of cancer. No assumptions are made about previous knowledge of cancer or biology. The target audience for [the Emroy College] site includes cancer patients, their families and friends, medical workers and others interested in the subject."
  • Cell Biology Animation – The animations found on this site demonstrate the motions and interactions of moledules, atoms and cells. Site developed and maintained by John Kyrk
  • Genetics – Flash and Director based instructional media developed and maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta
  • HyperHeart Animations – HyperHeart is an interactive animation/movie developed for Dr. Blumenthal's pharmacology course detailing bloodflow, aortic/ventricular volumes and pressures present in a normal cardiac cycle. Also included are an electrocardiogram and heart sounds graph. Tutorials are provided for each phase of the cycle and interactive functions such as frame-by frame viewing, high/low quality toggle for faster playback, and a pop-up-menu to select the phase tutorials can all be utilized within the animation itself.
  • Immunology – Flash and Director based instructional media developed and maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta
  • Interactive Biochemistry – The site contains a number of interactive animations that present visual conceptualization of complex biochemical processes. Site developed and maintained by Wiley & Sons Publishers.
  • Life the Science of Biology – This site contains "106 in-depth tutorials are designed to illustrate and explain some of the many complex topics in biology. Each tutorial has four elements: an introduction that describes the topic to be illustrated and puts it into a broader context, a detailed animation that clearly illustrates the topic (there are a few tutorials that include simulations or other types of content, rather than animations), a conclusion that summarizes what you should have learned from the animation, and a quiz on the topic covered." Companion site to the textbook "Life: The Science of Biology" by William K. Purves, David Sadava, Gordon H. Orians, and H. Craig Heller (main site located at
  • Virtual Cell Animation Collection – "In addition to Virtual Cell's online game modules, animations have been developed to introduce students to new concepts. By walking through the still images and movies included for each topic, viewers can easily choose between either studying a specific step from one of the processes or taking a more immersive look at the process in it's entirety." Developed North Dakota State University, World Wide Web Instructional Committee (WWWIC).


  • Ecology – Flash and Director based instructional media developed and maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta

Photosynthesis & Plants

  • Calvin cycle: the light indipedent reactions (carbon fixation). Developed by June Steinberg at National – Louis University.
  • Harvesting Light – Flash MX demonstrating/explaining photosynthesis. Annimation is a companion to the "Essential Cell Biology" text.
  • Photosynthesis – Site developed by Mike Tyree in the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech for is Forest Biology and Dendrology course.
  • Photosynthesis Revealed – "These programs address the dynamic processes of photosynthesis that are found in the chloroplast: The light reactions (cyclic and non-cyclic of Photosystems I & II) and the non-light limited reaction of the Calvin Cycle. Structure of the chloroplast is included and the many images and flash movies are provided as downloadable files." Developed at Taylor University.


  • Becoming Human – interactive documentary about human evolution developed by the Institute of Human Origins (movie opens in a pop-up window).
  • Evolutionary links from PBS programs. Site contains a number of videos and interactives that can be used in online or classroom based courses.
  • Timeline of Discovery – interactive review of the last 150 years of archaeological, anthropological, and paleoanthropological discoveries — developed by the Leakey Foundation.



  • BioInteractive – Site contains a series of evolution, obesity, cancer, neuroscience, gnomic and chemical genetics, and infectious disease teaching animations (a number of the resources are designed for Mac computers only). Developed and maintained by Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
  • Cell Biology – Flash and Director based instructional media developed and maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta
  • Cell Biology and Cancer – "The unit consists of lesson plans, which are accessed through the Teacher’s Guide section of the Web site and the multimedia student activities, which are accessed through the Student Activities page. The Web-based activities for students are only one part of the curriculum unit. The Lesson Plans provide the framework for both the hands-on classroom activities and the Web-based multimedia activities that make up this curriculum supplement. " Developed by the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute.
  • Helicobacter pylori and Gastric Pathology – Developed by John Hopkins School of Medicine.
  • Microbiology – Flash and Director based instructional media developed and maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.
  • Microbiology & Cellular Animations – Site contains a series of interactive educational animations developed for immunology and microbiology textbooks. Developed by W. H. Freeman & Sumanas Inc.
  • Phagocytosis and Bacterial Pathogens – This interactive tutorial explores phagocytosis in macrophages. Developed by Thomas Terry at the University of Connecticut.

Transcription and Translation

  • eliRNA-based Mammalian Gene Silencing: A New Therapeutic Strategy – This animation compares and contrasts the therapeutic intervention approach of a conventional small molecule anti viral drug with an eliRNA anti-viral strategy.
  • mRNA Splicing – learning unit developed by Garland Science publishing.
  • Polyribosomes – learning unit developed by Garland Science publishing.
  • Protein Synthesis animation – developed by BioStudio Visual Communications
  • RNA Interference – site provides an animated tour through the process of RNA interference. The tool was created for Nature Reviews by Arkitek Studios.
  • RNAi – site provided a comprehensive learning unit produced by NOVA. View their RNAi explained flash video.
  • RNAi Mechanism Animation – Provides an animation of post-transcriptional gene silencing by double-stranded RNA. Tool housed on the Nature Review website.
  • Synthesis of Protein – This Flash based translation unit was developed by Nancy Hughes at Carnegie Mellon.
  • Translation Movie – developed by faculty at the the University of Colorado at Denver



  • Biology in Motion: Organize-it – this site provides a self-testing system designed to practice biology terms to describe complex structures and processes.
  • Cell Division Construction Kit – Developed by Jon Glase at Cornell University.
  • Life: A Study of Genetic and Molecular Biology – The site contains four Java based learning games: Bloody Madness (match blood donors with recipients), Punnet Squares & Pea Crosses ( cross pea plants Gregor Mendel style), Transcription Demonstration, and Linkage Maps.
  • Micromolecule Tutorial – This Authorware based tutorial provides the user with exercises on identifying carbohydrates, lypids, proteins, and necleic acids. The product was designed by Rose Marie Chute in the North Harris Montgomery Community College District.
  • Scientific Illustrations and Amimations Page contains multimedia interactives that demonstrate things like the biology of goats, replication of Herpes Simplex virus, and the DNA micro array process. Materials developed by Karin Christensen.
  • zeroBio – This is a website for high school science students. You'll find a variety of interactive quizzes, games and puzzles to practice what you're learning in Grade 9 Science, Grade 11 Biology and Grade 12 Biology. There are also some specific student resources for each course. All of the quizzes and games and stuff have grade flags or other symbols like the ones below to help you choose the right content for your course.
  • Activities developed by to demonstrate discoveries of Nobel Prize winners


  • BBC Science & Nature – Human Body and Mind – site provide high quality nervous system, organ, muscle, skeleton games.
  • DNA Workshop – this tutorial developed by PBS has the user replicate a strand of DNA and follow the genetic code to create a protein. (shockwave player required)
  • HHMI's BioInteractive – "The HHMI virtual labs were designed by Dennis Liu, program director of HHMI's public science education initiatives, and Satoshi Amagai, a member of Liu's staff, with support from the rest of the Institute's educational materials team. They are fully interactive biomedical laboratory simulations and include a bacterial identification lab, a cardiology lab, a neurophysiology lab and a virtual ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay), using human antibodies to diagnose disease."
  • Probe the Brain – tutorial developed by PBS has the user map the brain with a virtual electric probe.

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2008 by in Learning Units.

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