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1999 Spring Newsletter

Submissions: General articles should be sent to editor Brian Pankuch at the above address. We would appreciate both 1) printed copy ( hardcopy ) and 2) a readable file on a Macintosh or IBM compatible 31/2 .. diskette. We have fewer problems with 31/2 .. diskettes. Email submissions are frequently lost, and formatting and special characters are changed. If attachments are used please send a description of what your using-such as Microsoft Word 6 with Netscape 4, separately. This gives me a chance to decode it.
Submission deadlines: Fall issue - Sept. 25; Spring issue - March 15.
Donald Rosenthal, OCENEWSLETTER, Department of Chemistry, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699-5810. ROSEN@ CLVM.CLARKSON.EDU.
RATES: USA 1 year $2.50, two years $4.50: Other countries 1 yr $5, two yr $9. Please make a check or money order payabte in US funds to Computers in Chemical Education Newsletter. Two issues are published per vear.
Consulting Editor Donald Rosenthal, CCE NEWSLETTER Department of Chemistry, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699-5810. Send meeting notices, etc., to Don., ROSEN@CLVM.CLARKSON.EDU.
Managing Editor Henry A. Derr, Laramie County Cornmunity College, Cheyenne, WY 82007
Message from the Chair
Harry E. Pence, Chair CCCE
Chemistry Department
SUNY Oneonta
Oneonta, NY 13820


Several years ago, I gave a presentation entitled, "A Report ¬∑from the Barricades of the Multimedia Revolution." At the close of my remarks, someone in the audience objected that the term revolution was inappropriate, since technology would not cause enough change in the way that we teach to justify this description. He predicted that in a decade we would still be teaching the same things in chemistry classes, with the only change being the possible addition of a few technological bells and whistles. If I remember correctly, I replied that we would have to wait to see if I were right or not.
I was reminded of this conversation during the on-line CONFCHEM sessions early this year, especially the one concerned with what we teach in general chemistry. For me the significance was not just the challenge to the status quo, but the fact that 800 chemical educators from all over the world were involved in the discussion. In the past, a proposal of this type could attract the attention of a relatively small number of college teachers for a very short time at a conference or in a journal. I was impressed with how much technology is changing the way we communicate. This role of technology as a facilitator of change may be far more important than any specific new teaching technologies introduced into our classrooms.
This impression was further heightened a short time later when I read an article entitled, "The Future That is Already Here" by Philip Clark in the April1999 issue of The Technology Source ( Without electronic communications, it is unlikely that I ever would have seen this article, and it even possible that it would not have been written. Clark argues that, to a large extent, we can now identify the factors that will shape the future of higher education and the rough shape of that new world is already visible. One of the most important of these factors is surely computer-facilitated communications, and as noted earlier, we are already beginning to see the effects of this. Clark argues that the future of higher education is already in place and we should focus on trying to harness the driving forces behind this change.
The coming decade may present a special challenge for all of us in higher education and especially for the Committee on Computers in Chemical Education. Whether it will truly be revolutionary remains to be seen, but it will certainly involve many challenges to our normal way of doing things. This Committee will increasingly be called upon to provide the technology needed to facilitate changes in both how we teach as well as what we teach. Our most important task is to remember that technology must always be the servant of pedagogy. As long as the main goal is to improve the educational process for our students, we are on solid ground, whether we call it a revolution or not.

Brian Pankuch
Department of Chemistry, Union County College
Cranford, NJ 07016

Newsletter Articles

Abstracts of Papers

Brian Pankuch, Editor

Harry E. Pence
SUNY Oneonta
Oneonta, NY

James Spain
Electronic Homework Systems, Inc
129 Leslie Lane
Pendleton, SC 2967

Professor Paul B. Kelter
Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588

Harry E. Pence, Richard. Bachelder, Michael Branciforti, Susan Donadio, Brian John, Joo M Jung, Matthew Glidden, Melanie Krom, Kelly Modoo, and Todd Morris,
SUNY Oneonta
Oneonta, NV