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Twentieth Anniversary of the OLCC


Robert E. Belford, University of Arkansas Little Rock

11/21/16 to 11/24/16

2016 is the 20th anniversary of OLCCs (OnLine Chemistry Courses), which are run by the CHED Committee on Computers in Chemical Education.  OLCCs predate MOOCs and are a form of DOCC (Distributed Online Collaborative Course) involving online guest lecturers and residential faculty from multiple institutions.  This presentation will go over the Cheminformatics OLCC that was offered at UNF, WVU, UALR and Centre College during the Fall of 2015, and introduce an upcoming OLCC that any school can participate in.  As such, this presentation will cover the past of OLCCs, present OLCCs, and visions of future OLCCs, which any school can participate in.  



OLCCs are OnLine Chemistry Courses that have been organized by the Committee on Computers in Chemical Education (CCCE) of the ACS Division of Chemical Education Committee(CHED). The CCCE is a standing committee of CHED, which in addition to hosting OLCCs runs the Online ConfChem conferences, an online Newsletter, and whose volunteer members organize regional and national symposia and workshops related to the use of computers in chemical education.  Through OLCCs the CCCE enables faculty in schools to offer their students courses they may not normally be able to offer, and this is done by bringing into the classroom online experts from both academic and non-academic institutions.  The first OLCC was run in 1996 and this paper will describe the history of OLCCs over the past twenty years, the current Cheminformatics OLCC and their potential role in future education.

The acronym OLCC is actually a misnomer dating to the early days of the World Wide Web, and today we would classify OLCCs as a form of hybrid class involving collaborative teaching and learning where online guest lecturers interact with students and resident faculty facilitators distributed over multiple schools. The OLCC curriculum model represents an extension of the online ConfChem conference model to include students in the discussion of material posted online.  The first ConfChem was offered in the summer of 1993[1,2], where papers were posted online and discussed over an email list, and a review of ConfChem can be found in the 2013 CCCE Newsletter article, “The Twentieth Anniversary of ConfChem Online Donferences: Past, Present and Future [3].  That is, in a ConfChem conference a paper is posted online and discussed with faculty through an email list, while in an OLCC there were two lists[4], one for faculty and one for students, and through the student list students from multiple campuses could interact with experts who had posted material online.  

OLCC Terminology

As multiple schools can offer a class in an OLCC course which involves both residential and online faculty we need to define some terminology in the context of an OLCC.

Lecturer:  Subject Domain Expert who functions as an online guest lecturer and interacts with students from multiple campuses. This person does not “lecture” to a given class, but posts material online and interacts with students from multiple classes.  The lecturer also interacts with faculty from multiple schools as they collaboratively develop curriculum material, which often results in faculty gaining new skills and competencies. Lecturers do not grade any student assignments and may be from both academic and nonacademic institutions.

Facilitator: The instructor of record, is a teaching faculty member in a school offering the OLCC. The facilitator meets with students in a normal classroom, is responsible for all assignments and student grades.  The facilitator interacts with both lecturers and facilitators from other schools.  The facilitator need not be an expert in the course subject matter and many facilitators use the OLCC as an opportunity to develop new skills.  The OLCC class may be part of a facilitators normal teaching load, or overload, if only one or two students take the course as an independent study or undergraduate research class.

Course: The OLCC course is the core course material being presented online to all schools.  The OLCC course defines the core curriculum content of the material presented, and the schedule the online guest lectures are available to interact with students from multiple schools.

Class:  Each school has a unique class of students who are taking the course for credit at a specific school.  Typical classes range from 1 to 3 credit hours and each school has a unique syllabus that is created by the facilitator of that school, and the class syllabus follows the course schedule with regards to availability of online guest lecturers.

Web 1.0: The Early OLCCs 

All of the early OLCCs (web 1.0; 1996-2004) involved authors posting papers online and students discussing the papers and related assignments with authors through email lists.  The material for the first 4 OLCCs is no longer available online, but the sites for OLCC 1-3 were archived by the WayBack Machine of the Internet Archive[5].  All the material for OLCC 4 was behind a log-in page, and so not captured by the WayBack Machine. The material for OLCC 5 from the Fall of 2004 is still available at the original course site{SCOTT VB]. Of notable interest is that as you read through the early OLCCs you can see how the growth of the WEB was influencing the nature of the courses.

OLCC 1: Spring 1996 - Environmental and Industrial Chemistry

Work on the first OLCC started in January of 1995[6], with a trial run occurring in the fall of 95[7], which was concurrent with the second ConfChem (ChemConf 95),[8] which was pre-HTML and had text-file papers posted online.  The first OLCC was HTML based and this actually occurred before the first ConfChem to use HTML.  In fact the third ConfChem, which occurred after OLCC 1, had instructions on the use of Netscape Navigator(ChemConf 96)[9].  The course was offered to 104 students at 22 schools[10], many of which did not have graphics capable internet browser and only around half the students had experience with email listservs[11].

In the first ConfChem 2 weeks were devoted to each paper and figure 1 is a screen capture of the site which was archived in the WayBack machine of the internet archive.  During the class a total of 5 papers were discussed, three presented by guest lecturers and two of which were selected from student submissions. After the course an information and evaluation form was sent to the students and the results from 49 of 98 students from 17 of 21 schools were published in the Spring 1997 CCCE Newsletter.[10] Of interest is that the majority of survey Reponses to “What liked Best About the Course” dealt with the papers themselves and only 4 of 47 gave reference to the World Wide Web as an information resource.  Even the web link to “WWW sites referenced on this page” was not a page of resources, but a link to Yahoo (which itself was incorporated in March of 1995). None-the-less, an analysis of several of the student paper’s citations did show that they were using the web for a resource.

Fig. 1 OLCC 1 Screen Capture from the Way Back Machine of the Internet Archive

OLCC 2: Spring 1998 OLCC – Environmental and Industrial Chemistry

In the two years between the first two OLCCs the internet had sufficiently matured so that all students had access to graphics capable browsers by the time the second OLCC took far place, and the website showed far more use of the World Wide Web.  In addition, WebBoard conferencing software was used to thread email comments[11], and assignments included extensive web-searching with “chemistry behind pollution prevention” being chosen as an underlying theme for the course[12].  One of the challenges of contemporary OLCCs became very clear during the second OLCC, in that too much material was attempted to be covered in a single semester, with the result that students started “losing focus” near the end of the semester [11].

Fig. 2 Screen Capture from Way Back Machine

OLCC 3:  Fall 1998 – Pharmaceuticals, Their Discovery, Regulation and Manufacture

A third OLCC was run in the Fall of 1998 and offered to 156 students at 16 schools. Once again lists and Weboard were used to facilitate discussions.  This course included online tutorials and required less writing than the others, with the results that students appeared to rely more on local instructors than anticipated[8-D]. Topics covered included computer assisted drug discovery, case studies and a coverage of the FDA approval and testing process[13].

Fig. 3 Screen Capture from the WayBack Machine of the Internet Archive

OLCC 4: Spring 2000 – Environmental and Industrial Chemistry

Nine schools and 65 students participated[14] and the entire course site was run on WebBoard, which means the WayBack Machine of the Internet Archive could not capture the content the way it captured the content for OLCCs 1-3.

OLCC 5: Fall 2004 - OnLine Chemistry Course (OLCC) Chemical Safety: Protecting Ourselves and Our Environment[15]

OLCC V is the only one of the early OLCCs for which the actual website is still active. The Fall 2002 ConfChem[16] was on “Teaching Safety in High Schools, Colleges and Universities”, and at the end a discussion ensued with respects to organizing an online course for undergraduates[17]. An organizing committee was formed to create the OLCC and both the ACS Divisions of Chemical Education (CHED) and Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) agreed to sponsor this OLCC, making it the first ACS interdivisional OLCC. This course was run like a Confchem conference where each week a new author presented material that was discussed over an email list.

Figure 4. Screen capture of OLCC 5 showing assignments for three weeks.

The course material is available online in the course content section of the website and in addition to weekly presentations authored by experts there were assignments from the National Academy of Sciences 1995 Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals[18] (which has been superseded by the 2011 edition)[19] and the 2003 edition of “Safety in the Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 7th Edition, Vol 1[20], both of which were freely available to students. The course was offered in 8 schools, including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), where the author of this paper was a facilitator. At that time UALR did not have a chemical hygiene plan (CHP) or officer (CHO), and students used this as an opportunity to create SOPs (Safe Operating Procedures) for activities in their research labs, and to create CHPs that were vetted by expert lecturers.

Web 2.0: Current OLCCs

OLCCs were effectively the extension of the ConfChem online conference to include students in discussions, and current OLCCs use a modification of the current Confchem system.  Two major problems plagued the old web 1.0 Confchems and OLCCs.  First, the CCCE did not host the papers, many of which were posted by the actual authors and have now become lost, (like OLCCs 1-4).  Second, was the threading of the discussions, which was done in either a list archive, or in WebBoard.  With support from the Chemical Education Library a  decision was made to move ConfChem to the Drupal web 2.0 PhP/MySQL based content management system[21], which would allow the CCCE to archive the papers and thread the discussion below them as comments.  The first Confchem Web 2.0 conference was run in 2010 on a Drupal 6 site[22], and then in 2014 the site was upgraded to the current Drupal 7.[23]

A Drupal content type creates a web page with specific features, like a blog or a wiki, and two new content types were created for ConfChem, the “ConfChem Conference” (conference homepage) and “ConfChem Article”, (conference paper).  The “conference” homepage actually pulled material from the articles, like the title, authors, dates and abstracts, while the article showed the actual paper and allowed discussions by connecting comments to an email.  In an OLCC, we wanted to be able to discuss an article at multiple levels, and so introduced a third Drupal content type, the TLO (Teaching and Learning Object), which allowed discussion of an object within a predefined section of text within a page.  This is shown in figure 5, and in an OLCC the “conference” becomes the course, showing the chapters and learning objectives in contrast to titles and abstracts, while the article became the OLCC Module (or chapter).

Figure 5.  Outline of how the Drupal ConfChem content types were modified and extended to create the OLCC content types.

2:56 YouTube Video describing what a TLO is, and how ConfChem was adapted to enable multiple discussions within a paper.

The TLO was actually created so we could embed a learning object into a page, like a graph, java applet or video, and discuss the object. But it was quickly realized that you could embed a TLO without any object into a paper, and enable discussion of the paper at multiple levels This is demonstrated in figure 6., where instead of only being able to discuss the entire chapter on Public Compound Databases (like in a ConfChem article), you can discuss section 1.1 on PubChem independent of section 1.2 on ChemSpider.

Figure 6: The first part of module 6,  covers chemical databases and there are 10 embedded TLOs, one for each database. The image shows the sections for PubChem and ChemSpider, and this model allows multiple discussions to occur in a single chapter.

What is the TLO?  The TLO actually has 4 fields, with the title, caption and body being embedded into another page, but the body not being embedded, and only viewable if you click on the TLO title. A Youtube video describing the TLO content type can be found here,


If you look at section 2.5.1 of the Fall 2015 Cheminformatics OLCC course, Two-dimensional similarity methods of module 6, you will see the embedded fields as illustrated in figure 7.

Fig. 7 Showing a TLO embedded into a page, the “Title” of the TLO is linked to the TLO which shows the above 3 field, plus additional content within the body of the TLO and any comments made on the TLO.  If you click “make a comment”, you contribute to a discussion that is threaded below the body of the TLO (and trigger an email to anyone subscribed to the TLO).

The result of this work is that students can discuss a section of a paper, instead of the whole paper.

OLCC 6: Fall 2015 – Cheminformatics OLCC

Before giving a description of the 6th OLCC, a brief description of why an OLCC on cheminformatics is warranted, and this needs to be placed into the broader context of an NSF TUES grant that supported this work.  Microsoft Research’s book, “The Fourth Paradigm: Data Intensive Scientific Discovery,”[24] describes 4 paradigms of science:

  1. Experimental Science (Thousands of Years Old)
  2. Theoretical Science (Hundreds of Years Old)
  3. Computational Science (Decades Old)
  4. Data-Intensive Science (Its New!)

Cheminformatics is a very broad science covering a wide range of topics, and we sought to seek those skills that would be of most value to graduating undergraduates. The typical undergraduate curriculum does not mention modern IUPAC nomenclature like InChI, or how to handle online data from non-webpage interfaces.  In fact, research programs like Project Tomorrow, which have survey results on digital technolgoies from 4.5 million people since 2003, show a frustration of the youth with the use of technology in school, as indicated in this 2013 report:

Year after year, students in our focus groups remind us that their dissatisfaction with using technology at their school is not about the quantity or quality of the equipment or resources; it is about the unsophisticated use of those tools by their teachers, which they believe is holding back their learning potential. The comparison of the students’ perspectives on obstacles to technology use at school from 2003 to 2012 reflects this new reality which some are calling the second level digital divide.[25]

Cheminformatics is clearly on the cutting edge of the use of digital technology in the chemical sciences and yet few schools are prepared to offer a course in cheminformatics, which in the context of the Fourth Paradigm and the second level digital divide, make it an ideal topic for the CCCE to run an OLCC on. 

So, after over a decade of inactivity, the CCCE ran the 6th ConfChem in the Fall of 2015 on Cheminformatics.[26]  This was a joint effort between the ACS CHED CCCE, the ACS Division of Chemical Information (CINF) and a variety of other organizations, including the NIH NLM NCBI PubChem and the IUPAC affiliated InChI Trust. Four Universities with around 45 students were involved with this OLCC, which followed a schedule similar to the 2004 OLCC, in that each week a new online module presented material and the authors interacted with students, but discussions could occur at both the paper (module) or the TLO level.  

Figure 8: Fall 2015 Cheminformatics OLCC Homepage

During the summer of 2016 all the curriculum material from the Cheminformatics OLCC was archived within the LibreText (formerly ChemWiki) HyperLibrary, and all this material is now available to other classes that use the HyperLibrary,

Figure 9: Integration of Fall 2015 Cheminformatics OLCC material into the LibreText HyperLibrary

OLCC Projects – Another objective of the OLCC was to create student projects and web site features were developed to enable collaborative projects across multiple campuses. Figure 10 shows the website features created to enable online intercollegiate collaboration.

Figure 10: Features of web site that enabled online intercollegiate collaborative projects.

One of the facilitators (Stuart Chalk, UNF) received an interdivisional ACS CHED/CINF Innovative Projects Grant to support student travel to the spring 251st ACS National Meeting in San Diego where students presented projects developed during the Cheminformatics OLCC.  During the two sessions 18 oral papers were presented with 11 being by students.

Figure 11: Student and Faculty members got to meet in person during a special CHED symposium at the Spring 2016 ACS National Meeting in San Diego.

The Future

One of the ideas behind having an OLCC on Cheminformatics was that cheminformatics is changing the fundamental cognitive artifacts used to represent, manipulate and communicate chemical information, and expert’s ability to implement new artifacts in their work flow may be impeded by prior knowledge based on the existence of established artifacts[27].  This led to the idea of could we discover new ways to use cheminformatics resources during the course, and if so, could we embed them into the course text? This lead to the development of an extensible Course Management system, which can be viewed as an extensible educational ontological framework based on the concept of a partonomy created through the process of embedding Teaching and Learning Objects (TLOs) within TLOs. The beauty of this is that how the ontology grows is a direct consequence of student interaction with, and extension of, the course content.

Figure 12: Schema of partonomy based extensible educational ontological framework.  In OLCC 6 the articles were actually captions of embedded TLOs.  So in chapter 2, section 2.6 was the caption of an embedded TLO, and when you clicked on its title, you not only could comment on it, but you could see the captions of three additional TLOs that were embedded into it, and those were videos that were created after the class started, and two by students who were in the class.  This is explained in the following youtube.

2:35 YouTube describing how embedding TLOs after a course has started enables an Extensible Educational Ontological Framework based on the structure of a Partonomy. The nature of the extensions result from student interactivity.  Current work is being done to autogenerate a table of contents as new TLOs become embedded into old ones.

OLCC 7: Spring 2017 – Cheminformatics OLCC: An Introduction to the World of Chemical Data [28]

The second offering of the Cheminformatics OLCC is building on the experience of the first offering.  The course is designed to be offered as either a 1,2 or 3 credit hour class, and it is not too late to join if you have a student or two who would like to take it as undergraduate research or independent study. Programming is not a prerequisite, although there will be opportunities for programmatic access to online databases through familiar technologies like spread sheets.

The course will have 4 major facets to it.  The first series of 3 modules will be an introduction to how chemicals, and chemical data are represented on computer.  The second will involve 5 modules dealing with public compound databases, and there will be an emphasis on PubChem. Students and faciliators will have the opportunity to interact with NIH staff scientists during this module, and many of the activities will involve students making screen capture videos of their work, like these videos from the Fall 2015 course, .  Throughout the course the students will also have the opportunity to work with a suite of tools for programmatic access to online data, although there will be leeway for individual student aptitude with programming, who will have the opportunity to work with Python and R, but all students will be able to pull material from databases with programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.  The final part of the course will be devoted to student projects, and there are faculty mentors who are literally from around the world who are willing to collaborate with students on these projects.  For further information contact Bob Belford,

Social Annotation Technologies – The CCCE has also been exploring several social annotation technologies, specifically, Lacuna Stories[29,30] that was developed by the Poetic Media Laboratory at Stanford, and[31], both of which have extensive educational support.  Currently, discussions are made at the OLCC article, or TLO level, which is based on the comment feature of these Drupal content types.  With annotations, discussion can not only be extended to spontaneous topics, but the discussions can generate navigational pathways through the course material and engage students in manners appropriate to digital text. The advantage with Lacuna Stories is that it is built on Drupal, has many tested features, and we already have it installed and are testing around with it.   The advantage of, is that the annotation functionality is extensible to any page on the web, which opens huge opportunities.  Frankly, these are both really exciting options and over the next several weeks a decision will need to be made as to which one we should try, but there is a clear opportunity to pioneer the use social annotation technologies in the upcoming Cheminformatics OLCC.

Acknowledgements – The 2015 and 2017 OLCCs were run on a Drupal based website that was designed with the help of Jon Holmes of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who also maintains them, and the ConfChem website. This work was also supported by the 2012 ACS Innovative Projects Grant, “ConfChem Folksonomy Indexed Archive”, and NSF TUES grant #1150485, “Cheminformatics OLCC”.



Applications of Technology in Teaching Chemistry, An On-Line Computer Conference, original site,, last accessed 11/20/2016

Applications of Technology in Teaching Chemistry, An On-Line Computer Conference, CCCE Archive, last accessed 11/20/2016

[3] The Twentieth Anniversary of ConfChem Online Conferences: Past, Present and Future, 2013 Fall CCCE Newsletter,, last accessed 11/20/2016

[4] Rosenthal, D., Future On-Line Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Courses, Spring 1998 CCCE Newsletter,, last accessed 11/20/2016

[5] Internet Archive WayBack Machine,, last accessed 11/20/2016

[6] Beard, J., Some Reflections On the Intercollegitae On-Line Course: Industrial and Environmental Chemistry, Fall   1996 CCCE Newsletter,, last accessed 11/20/2016

[7] First OLCC Trial Run [WayBack Machine:, last accessed 11/20/2016

Russel, A (organizer), 1995 ConfChem: Faculty Rewards: Can We Implement the Scholarship of Teaching?,, last accessed 11/20/2016

ChemConf 96 – see technical stuff at bottom of page, last accessed 11/20/2016

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Harrison, A.M. & Archer, L.J., Challenges and Opportunities for On-Line Courses in Chemistry, Summer 1999 ConfChem,, last accessed 11/20/2016

Beard, J., Environmental and Industrial Chemistry, Fall 1997 CCCE Newsletter,, last accessed 11/20/2016

C.  Pharmaceuticals, Their Discovery, Regulation and Manufacture OLCC-3, Spring 1998 CCCE Newsletter., last accessed 11/20/2016

Esjornson, S.R., Computer Skills for Students:  Managing Technical Information with the Desktop Workstation, PowerPoint Presentation, 16th BCCCE, Ann Arbor MI, 2000

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Bob Belford's picture

Hi All,

I’d like to take a moment and share a few things I learned while writing this article. 

First, about 3 years ago the CCCE collected and digitized many of the old printed newsletters, which are now searchable, and provided a wealth of the information presented in this article,

In researching the early OLCCs I found dead-links, and then realized I could get the actual papers through the WayBack Machine of the Internet Archive, and that is when I realized the CCCE had run an OLCC using html before a single ConfChem (ChemConf) paper had ever been posted in html. That is, the members of this committee pioneered the use of html in front of students!  And they did this before running an online conference in html (there were two earlier ChemConfs, but they were text files, not html based).  I really think that says something about the members of this committee. I also have to confess that due to a lack of time and first-hand knowledge, I made a conscious decision not to attempt to state who-did-what in this article, but if you look at my references, you can identify the early pioneers, and my hat is off to them.

The second realization I had in going through the old Newsletters was that the original OLCCs were designed from the start to be offered as either one, two, or three credit-hour courses, class sizes ranged from 1 to 53 students, and there was great variance in the course expectations across the schools that offered them. By offering this as a one-credit hour independent study/undergraduate research class a faculty member can take on a student or two, and use this as a chance to learn new skills, without a huge workload increase.

Another thing I realized was that between the first OLCC (January 1996) and the second in 1998, there was a huge change in access to the internet, and this was actually captured in the CCCE Newsletter articles of that era.  But I would also argue that between the last two OLCCs, both of which I participated in, (the 2004 OLCC in chemical hygiene and the 2015 in cheminformatics), there was an equally great change in how students navigate online material. and tackling that change with social annotation technologies in the upcoming OLCC is one of my highest priorities.

Finally, I attempted to provide a past-present-future perspective of the OLCCs, and fear I may have attempted to cover too much material, but I hope you will enjoy this paper.  I think there is a role for collaboratively taught intercollegiate courses like the OLCC, and hope you will look into the Spring 2017 Cheminformatics OLCC, as it is going to be  real exciting course.



Thanks for sharing this exhaustive overview of OLCCs over the past 20 years.  The current variety of mechanisms to facilitate discussion of materials is overwhelming to me.  When I participated in the fall 2015 OLCC on cheminformatics, I probably missed some of the discussions that took place on individual TLOs (Teaching and Learning Objects) because I didn't remember to click on individual TLOs in search of additional content.  

I remember hearing about Lacuna Stories (maybe at BCCE?) and appreciating how it could be used in a way similar to Eric Mazur's Perusall (, which I heard about from Matt Stoltzfus.  Hypothesis was completely unfamiliar to me until I read this paper.  What mechanisms do you envision developing to facilitate student and faculty awareness of comments so that we can participate in discussions of course content?


Hi Jennifer,

There is clearly much to learn from both Lacuna Stories and H..  They both have their advantages and differences.  I think Lacuna stories is currently more geared and developed with respect to digital literacy issues in the classroom, but I think H. is a game changer, and has the potential to change both what we teach, and how we teach.

I just spent a few minutes making a few annotations to share with the list as exemplars of some of the things we can do.  What you need to realize, is that when completed, I could have autogenerated an email to everyone in my class when I made the annotation, and if they reply to the annotation, it autogenerates an email, with a link back to the discussion (and the paper), the exact same way we do with ConfChem.  What that means is we can have ConfChem style discussion on everything one of the annotations on the links below.

Here is one to my introduction in my LibreText, showing how I deviated from the standard text

Here is one to some videos in my LibreText

OK, now we are going to deviate from the traditional classroom textbook, Here is one from a public compound database

Here is one bringing a journal article into the classrooom discussion

OK, I am pasting an email from a student below.  If you click "View the Thread and Respond", it should (if the link gets carried), send you to our discussion.  Now realize this was me trying to figure out how things work, and not a real discussion. So right now, H. will send you an email when someone replies to one of your annotations, the email will have your annotation, their reply, and a link to the paper with the discussion.  We are working on expanding this to a group discussion and use that in the upcoming OLCC.  I expect this to be up and runnng by the end of the month.


trandacphuc has replied to your annotation on “4.2: Limiting & Excess Reagents”:

On 04 November at 16:22 rebelford commented:

You are half way through the mole-to-mole step, where you would place on the numerator the stioichiometric coefficient of the compound you want to solve for.

On 04 November at 16:32 trandacphuc replied:

That's make sense!

View the thread and respond.





Bob Belford's picture

Bridget Trogden's picture

Thanks for sharing!  This is an interesting resource, and it is good to see the history. Your specific explanation of the terms and acronmyms in context of the project are also helpful, as there are a lot of them!

Tanya Gupta's picture

Hello Bob,

You have very well captured the evolution of OLCC's in this paper and its current status. My first question is focussed on TLOs'  - I understand that students can discuss a specific section of paper but is it also possible to connect other sections of a paper or a topic to a TLO and dicsuss interconnected or closely related ideas. Also if a reader only wants to dicuss with a specific person is that a possibility or that discussion would be open to all. I believe that this is the future of teaching and you have well atriculated the second-level digital divide. How would you suggest training the faculty and students to use these technological advancements in their instruction. What would be a good starting point for such transformative tech-based teaching.



Bob Belford's picture

Hi Tanya,  

I just realized I had not replied to this and will do so now.  

OK, first, with respect to using annotations to bring together discussions, well,  there are several initiatives out there. In many ways, the most interesting I know of is Liquid Text, which unfortunately, is platform depending, but you can get the jist with this one minute and 20 second YouTube,  This allows you to use gestures to highlight, and swipe annotations to a work space, and then link them together, and then navigate back to the original source, it is really amazing stuff. Here is their site, ,  and Craig Tashman is an incredibly interesting person, but it is platform dependent.  About three minutes into this Youtube here,  they describe the sewing kit of Lacuna Stories which has some of this functionality, and this is all done in Drupal, like ConfChem, and they have made their modules available (through ChemEdX, the CCCE actually has a test site up with Lacuna Stories,, but you need to post all material to the site, just as we do in ConfChem.  For several reasons, I am thinking (H.) is the way to go forward now, and in a month or two should be able to provide more information on this, and I suspect it is now done with Tags.

In H. you can instantly create a “group” and only people you invite can join, so yes, you can choose who to discuss with. 

As for how to learn more, well, I think joining the Spring 2017 Cheminformatics OLCC will be a good way.  


I also realize we need to close the discussions and will unsubscribe the list from this paper, but will self-subscribe, and would be glad to communicate further if anyone has any other questions or thoughts.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!



rpendarvis's picture

Would someone be able to give us the login information for the Lacuna Stories CCCE test site.