Publication Details

This article was originally published as Robinson, SA, Russell, W and Netherwood, A, Photosynthesis in Silico: A multimedia CD-ROM combining animations, simulations and self-paced modules for photosynthesis education at all tertiary levels, CAL-laborate, 10, June 2003. Original article available here.


Photosynthesis is a vital component of any undergraduate biology course. Despite its central importance in providing biochemical energy, fixed carbon and oxygen for all life on Earth, it remains an area which students find uninteresting and difficult to comprehend. This difficulty is compounded by problems with laboratory equipment for practical classes, which tends to be either expensive and complex, or simple and unreliable, making it extremely difficult to provide effective, hands-on teaching of photosynthesis to the large class sizes in undergraduate biology courses. A set of interactive, multimedia modules have been combined on a CD-ROM, which provides a new approach to university teaching of photosynthesis. Features include animations of the photosynthetic electron transport process, serving both as an introduction to experimental exercises and as stand-alone material for use in undergraduate lectures or tutorials, and simulated experimental models of photosynthetic gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence which can be used either as stand-alone packages or, where equipment is available, to supplement and enrich a laboratory demonstration/experiment. These provide students with access to the latest experimental techniques and theory, providing an experience and knowledge base that facilitates understanding of the subject in greater depth.