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New Methods for Transmitting Information Between Teacher and Student in Organic Chemistry


Sue Barrows and Thomas Eberlein
Penn State Schuylkill, The Capital College
200 University Drive, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972-2208

10/06/01 to 10/12/01

Penn State Schuylkill offers a pair of companion courses to accompany the normal, two-semester organic lecture course sequence. In these companion courses students are taught-by means of guided inquiry worksheets, or similar exercises-to use the various pieces of software we have for learning organic chemistry (e.g., Beaker, ChemTV, WE_LEARN). Once they know how to use the software it is expected that they will be able to apply it in various productive ways: helping with homework problems, studying for tests, and so on. To ensure the students continue using the software, additional assignments are given that tie in with material being covered in class. Much of this software is distributed freely by the Chemistry Department to any Penn State student who wishes to download it. As such, students can access the materials with their own computers at any time or place, so no formal computer lab session is necessary, beyond the training session. Additionally, we have begun to use a wireless LAN for some of the training sessions. Thus, we are able to use our normal classroom as a computer laboratory. Using this system, we are able to broadcast a lesson from a master computer to the students' computers, and then relinquish control to the students so that they can use the software (which truly exists only on the master computer) to solve the day's problems. This system is also entirely mobile. For example, if we want to bring the computers into the lab, we just pick them up and take them to the new location. This paper will discuss the various ways in which students at Penn State Schuylkill use computer-based instructional technologies to enhance learning organic chemistry.


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