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2019 CCCE Newsletter

  Each Spring the CCCE hosts online discussions of recent work of relevance to the use of computers in chemical education. The authors of each paper are available to discuss their work with the community on the days assigned to their papers, and both the papers and discussion are archived on our site. You do not need to be a member of ACS, CHED or the CCCE to participate in these discussion, but need to set up a free account by contacting the site moderator, Bob Belford at


Jason Telford, Maryville University

Newsletter Articles

Abstracts of Papers

Jennifer Muzyka, Department of Chemistry, Centre College, Danville, KY

The Spectral Zoo is a freely accessible browser-based application designed to provide spectroscopy practice problems (IR, 1H NMR, and 13C NMR) for organic chemistry students.  JSpecView is used to display the spectra interactively so that the user can zoom in to inspect splitting.  The website does not require the use of Java, Flash, or plug-ins, so it works well even on tablets.


Carl LeBlond, Department of Chemistry, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA

Ehren Bucholtz, Department of Basic Sciences, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, MO

Jennifer Muzyka, Department of Chemistry, Centre College, Danville, KY

OpenOChem is a freely available online homework system and interactive classroom tool under active development. Like most commercially available electronic homework systems, this program enables instructors to ask questions that students answer by drawing structures (2D/3D), reaction mechanisms and more.  Unlike commercially available systems, instructors can write their own questions/feedback and access a shared library of questions from other instructors. Furthermore, OpenOChem is Open-Access so it is cost effective for students. The OpenOChem system uses Learning Tools Integration (LTI), enabling faculty members and their students access through their learning management systems (e.g., Moodle and Canvas) used on their individual campuses.  We discuss the general functionality of OpenOChem and its use in organic chemistry instruction.


Brian J. Esselman,* Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Aubrey J. Ellison,* Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Jia Zhou, Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Advances in computational software and hardware have allowed computational chemistry to become a more integrated component of undergraduate organic chemistry curriculum.  With a few exceptions, most of this attention has been given to small lecture activities or individual laboratory exercises.  To allow students to fully utilize the insights of computational chemistry, it must become fully integrated into all aspects of instruction.  Here we present our on-going efforts in integrating computational chemistry into the entire lecture curriculum via carefully chosen examples on lecture slides, problem sets, and assessments.  Rather than having students perform these calculations themselves, as they do in our laboratory course, we have taken advantage of the HTML-export feature of WebMO to provide students with direct links to computational data.  As students work through our curriculum, their learning is supported by the ability to view relevant molecular geometries, charge distributions, orbitals, vibrational modes, etc.  We are confident that use of these tools leads to better learning outcomes.


Sarah Zingales, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

After attending the 2015 cCWCS workshop on Active Learning in Organic Chemistry, I starting flipping my Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 courses based on the Just In Time Teaching (JiTT) model. After the success of implementing this strategy, I wanted to further enhance my courses with making supplemental videos, but I was intimidated by making video lectures. Instead, I began creating video keys. First, for practice exams, then for the additional problems at the end of in class guided inquiry exercises, and, finally, chapter content videos that can replace one day of lecture, allowing for a truly flipped model, which allows for more formal active learning and problem solving to be done during class time. This paper discusses different methods used to create videos and reports on student data and feedback.


Robert Belford, Departmet of Chemistry, University of Arkansas, Little Rock.
Peter F. Rusch, Rusch Consulting Group.

Chemistry is an empirical science and the units of measurement that underlay the quantification, preservation and communication of chemical observations are typically one of the first concepts covered in the introductory chemistry classroom.  In November of 2018 new definitions for the SI base units were approved during the General Conference on Weights and Measures.  The new definitions will be based on physical constants that are considered as invariants of nature.  Please see Peter Rusch's 2017 CCCE Newsletter article for information leading up to this change; Textbook and the SI Base Units, A Challenge for Authors and Editors .

The new definitions go into effect on May 20, 2019. The purpose of this paper is to look into these changes from the perspective of chemical education, with the goal of initiating a discussion that will assist teaching faculty as they approach this topic in their future classrooms. To facilitate this, a section on the Units of Measurement in a LibreText was updated to reflect the new definitions, and that content should be discussed concurrently with this paper.

Sunghwan Kim+,1

Asta Gindulyte+,1

Jian Zhang1

Paul A. Thiessen1

Evan E. Bolton*,1

1National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

+ Contributed equally to this paper

PubChem ( is one of the top five most visited chemistry web sites in the world, with 3.5 million unique users per month at peak.  About half of them are between ages 18 and 24, suggesting that PubChem is heavily used by undergraduate or graduate students at academic institutions.  Therefore, PubChem has a great potential as an online resource for chemical education.  This paper describes the PubChem Periodic Table and Element pages, which were recently introduced to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the periodic table.  These new services help users navigate the abundant chemical element data available within PubChem, while providing a convenient entry point to explore additional information, such as bioactivities and health and safety data, available in PubChem Compound pages for specific elements and their isotopes.