Committee on Computers in Chemical Education Report, Fall 2011

Robert E. Belford, Chair 2010-2012 [rebelford@ualr.edu]

The Committee on Computers in Chemical Education is a standing committee of the Division of Chemical Education, which according to the bylaws “seeks to encourage, publicize and support the development, implementation and assessment of computing technologies in chemical education”. The CCCE runs an annual Fall online newsletter, and as a service to the general chemical education community the CCCE hosts the online ConfChem conferences. These conferences can be focused on any aspect of chemical education. The Committee developed a new ConfChem 2.0 system based on Drupal which we used for the Spring 2011 ConfChem: Case-Based studies in Chemical Education that was organized by Clyde Herreid. In the new system the discussion was appended as comments to the ConfChem pages as well as sent to participants over the ConfChem listserv. This allows for more effective archiving of the discussions. The actual papers were available as either html pages or as downloadable PDF files (for printing).

Upcoming ConfChems 

A description of the above conferences can be found in the ConfChem section of this newsletter and we are currently seeking conference organizers for 2014 & 2015. These conferences can be on any topic of interest to the chemical education community. Please contact Bob Belford (rebelford@ualr.edu) if you are interested in organizing a future ConfChem conference.

During the Spring 2011 ACS National meeting the committee sponsored the symposium Online Resources for Chemical Education at the 241st ACS National Meeting in Anaheim CA which was organized by Bob Belford, Bob Hanson and John Penn.

The committee is sponsoring the upcoming symposia:

  • Animations and Simulations: What are their pedagogic roles?, 242nd ACS National Meeting, Denver, organized by Jerry Suits; jerry.suits@unco.edu , accepting papers. This symposium focuses on the pedagogic similarities and differences between animations and simulations in chemistry instruction. Chemical educators may not have a clear grasp of how they should use these two visually-based technologies (VBT) in their classrooms. Speakers will address a variety of questions—for example: When is it more effective to use an animation than a simulation, and vice versa? What are the design features (e.g., segmentation, learner control, prompting, feedback, etc.) that make for an effective VBT? Other topics may include: teacher guidance, optimal instructional contexts, type of knowledge and skills learned, appropriate assessment, and relationship between simulated and real experiments. Any theory-based or research-based papers on these topics are welcomed.

The committee is seeking funds to develop an intercollegiate OLCC (Online Chemistry Course) in ChemInformatics. This work is being done collaboratively with David Wild, Director of the Cheminformatics Institute at Indiana University-Bloomington. If this project is funded we will be able to allow schools that lack faculty expertise in cheminformatics the opportunity to teach a course in cheminformatics using social-semantic web technologies. This project involves collaborations with ACS CINF, RSC Chemspider, GDCh-CIC (XCITR) and ChemEd DL. Please contact Bob Belford (rebelford@ualr.edu) if you would be interested in becoming involved with this project.

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