- Accuracy: The top three criteria for effective teaching are; accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy. If what you are saying isn't factually correct then nothing else matters. The citric acid cycle shown in the diagram is pretty good. It avoids the most important error (using FADH2 as the product of the succinate dehdrogenase reaction) but it commits the three other, less significant, common errors [Biochemistry on the Web: The Citric Acid Cycle].
However, when the song gets to the succinate dehydrogenase reaction (at 1:55) it points to QH2 and calls it FADH2. If you are going to teach about these reactions then get them right.
- The Evolutionary Approach: There are several ways of teaching biochemistry. The American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) recommends an emphasis on evolution [ASBMB Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Evolution]. This may seem obvious in the 21st century but very few biochemistry courses are taught this way. Most of them adopt some version of the "fuel metabolism"1 approach to teaching biochemistry. This approach focuses on human metabolism without putting it into the large context. The video is all about "popping carbs" as though converting carbohydrates (glucose) to energy was the only reason for having these pathways.
This approach caters to the biases of the students and to the pre-meds in the class. It does not take the opportunity to correct some of those biases.
- Basic Concepts: ASBMB has come out strongly in favor of teaching core concepts rather than memorize/regurgitate [ASBMB Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology]. While I don't always agree with their core concepts, I strongly support this way of teaching biochemistry. The emphasis in a course should be on understanding the basic principles and not on memorizing the details. When I was teaching this material, I allowed students to bring their notes to the exam so they could refer to the specific reactions of the various pathways. They did not have to memorize them.
The core concepts here are things like the importance of gluconeogenesis and why some species have evolved ways of "reversing" that pathway. It's also important to understand the thermodynamics of the reactions in a pathway and the fact that most reactions are at equilibrium. This leads to an emphasis on flux. With respect to the citric acid cycle, the core concepts are that all of the intermediates are involved in multiple reactions and in most species there's no simple "spinning" of the cycle spewing out CO2. Once they grasp that, you can teach teach them what happens in active mammalian muscle cells. It's harder to make a rap video about core concepts.
You should never, ever, ask students to memorize these reactions for exam questions. No only is that a waste of time but it detracts from the main goal, which should be learning fundamental principles and concepts.
1. Also known as "rat liver biochemistry" since most of the information comes from studies on rat livers.