You are here

ChemEd X: An Interactive Hub for Chemistry Teachers


Deanna Cullen


The Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X, is an online presence serving mostly high school and community college chemistry instructors. The Journal of Chemical Education hosted some online resources for that group of teachers for many years. The resource was called JCE Online. In 2010, JCE entered into an agreement with American Chemical Society Publications, but JCE Online was left out of that agreement. JCE editors considered alternative housing for the well used resources. They also wanted to use a more interactive platform that would allow for a more dynamic resource hub. ChemEd X went live in 2012 and has been growing ever since.


ChemEd X: Online Chemistry Teacher Community

Many of the materials that high school teachers use daily originated from manuscripts published in the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE). JCE has served the chemistry education community for more than 90 years by offering print resources. JCE offered high school teachers other resources via JCE Online for many years. These resources included software collections, assessment resources, and other items of specifically for the high school teaching community.

In 2010, ACS Publications purchased the rights to the print version of JCE. That agreement did not include JCE Online resources. Given the popularity of the resources, stakeholders looked for a place to house the digital resources. The managing editor of JCE, Jon Holmes, created a website to called Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X). This interactive site provides a welcoming place for high school and college chemistry teachers to collaborate globally. The ACS Division of Chemical Education provides support for ChemEd X. Teachers can find chemistry related blogs, activities, videos and other resources. Registered users can enjoy the interactive features of the site by commenting, asking questions and sharing their own comments and ideas when they are logged in to the site. Potential authors are encouraged to contribute. Teachers interested in contributing may submit a “Request to contribute” form. There are guidelines for reference. Manuscripts are peer reviewed by a panel of high school and college level chemistry teachers.

By registering, users will enable the interactive features, including the ability to comment and bookmark. They will also receive monthly newsletters highlighting new content. Members may request a personal blog forum to informally share ideas. Blogs and comments are moderated and reviewed to ensure that the material is correct and meets the standards of the chemistry education community.

Many of the legacy resources require a paid subscription, but all of the newer resources are completely free. Subscribers have access to the “Chemistry Comes Alive!” collection, which has pictures, animations and videos of chemical interactions and lab techniques; “ChemEd X Video Collection”; Nomenclature software and other resources. ChemEd X is currently integrated with Facebook and Twitter.

Although ChemEd X was created to house legacy JCE Online digital resources, ChemEd X is a separate entity. The two venues share many of the same goals. Those goals include encouraging high school teachers to share and supporting them in writing their manuscripts.

ChemEd X is a powerful tool for high school and introductory college-level chemistry teachers to find curricular materials, technology suggestions, pedagogy tips and more.  Experienced teachers have contributed curriculum resources and ideas they have used in their own classrooms. The interactive aspects of ChemEd X provide a powerful platform for exciting collaborations between teachers around the globe. Chemistry teachers are encouraged to visit ChemEd X and become a member of the community.


The following Journal of Chemical Education articles provide more information about ChemEd X:

JCE Chemical Education Xchange

By Jon L. Holmes

DOI: 10.1021/ed3007617


JCE Chemical Education Xchange: X Marks the Spot for Finding Quality Chemistry Education Resources

By Deanna M. Cullen

DOI: 10.1021/ed300790q


The following ChemEd X pages provide more information about ChemEd X:

Where Do I Find My JCE Online Stuff?

Welcome to the Chemical Education Xchange



11/10/14 to 11/12/14


Bob Belford's picture

Hi Deanna,

Thanks for sharing your work with the JCE ChemEd Xchange. I have a question concerning the use of "Legacy materials". If I understand right there is a large collection of videos. If I buy a subscription, can I download them, integrate them into my lecture presentations, and then use them in future classes, even if I do not maintain my subscription. Is there also a way we can identify what is available? Like a list of video titles? And maybe short descriptions?

Thank you ever so much for sharing this resource with us.
Bob Belford

Deanna Cullen's picture

I am very glad that you asked about the legacy videos. The legacy videos are only available to subscribers at this point. They should not be downloaded and used in perpetuity without a subscription. That said, the admin of ChemEd X is interested in putting these videos into the context of lessons. If a subscriber submits a manuscript that uses a video as part of a lesson, we may publish the lesson as a new resource. This will open the access to that video for not only the author, but for all users of ChemEd X. 



At this point, we do not have a full listing available, but you can look at some sample videos to get a sense for what is there. Because you asked the question here, we have added a list with descriptions of the sample videos. Also, you might look at a blog post that I wrote which recommends how to put a specific video into the context of a lesson. When I posted that blog, the video became open to all users of the site.



This is partly in answer to Bob's question about finding the videos and partly in response to Deanna's response to Bob. Since I was the one who wrote the proposals, got the grants, and oversaw production of the videos, I think I am qualified to comment.
The ChemEd Digital Library ( has a search function that searches all of the JCE videos, plus a lot more content. If you go to the ChemEd DL home page and click the Search tab (top right) you will get the search page. If you then choose Advanced search you can narrow your search to video/audiovisual materials by checking a box. (You can check other boxes for other types of resources.) You can then enter 'carbohydrate' into the search box and you will come up with the video that Deanna mentioned. (A search for 'sulfuric' will also lead you to this video.) It will only play if you are a subscriber to JCE Videos (see ChemEd XChange for how to subscribe). Even though the video will only play for subscribers, there is information about it. There is a total of eight CD-ROMs worth of video that was made so have fun searching for things you would like to see.
On the early CDs we provided a lot of information about how to incorporate the videos into your curriculum. I think that information is still available to subscribers who use the Chemistry Comes Alive! Website.
You can also preview some of the CCA! videos at, which I believe is open to anyone. (I cannot tell because in my office I am a subscriber through the UW-Madison.)
By the way, I could not get the video in Deanna's blog to play, even though I am a subscriber. All I got was three hyphens flashing.

Roy Jensen's picture

Both the ChemEd Xchange and the ChemEd DL provide an opportunity for instructors to share resources and not be beholding to a publisher. I am impressed with the quality of these websites. I have a suggestion and a concern.

SUGGESTION: During the recent ICCE and BCCE conferences, I had found significant support for an exercise sharing website. A website for instructors to upload applied real-world exercises (in Moodle format, for example) for other instructors to download, adapt, and use. Again, this would free instructors from the clutches of publishers. Perhaps this can be integrated as an offshoot of the ChemEd Xchange. (I was thinking of something for all sciences to allow interdisciplinary examples.)

CONCERN: The first entry that caught my attention contains eggregious errors and should be deleted (it cannot be fixed). I opened "When the ideal gas law fails" and found the following errors:
1. Tom assumes all the nitrogen is in gaseous form when the bottle explodes. This erroneous assumption allows Tom to calculate the nonsensical temperature. In reality, the temperature stays at 77 K and only a fraction of the liquid evaporates. Assuming the ideal gas law applies, only 2 moles of liquid nitrogen evaporates. (I assume the volume occupied by the liquid does not change. A more accurate calculation is readily possible, but irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.)

2. Van der Waals equations are temperature dependent!!! A figure in most general chemistry textbooks illustrates this. See, for example, figure 10.63 (right) in the textbook at . This textbook on pages 532-533 shows how to calculate the van der Waals coefficients at varying temperatures. (I really should publish this some day, as the results are quite accurate across a broad range of temperatures.) It is a mere coincidence that the 298 K van der Waals coefficients lead to a temperature of 110 K.

3. Scientific syntax: variables are italicized; units are upright font. The default in equation editor is to italicize all text, so the units are g, mL, mol, etc. are incorrectly italicized in equations in this post. Secondly, there should be a space between a number and its units. This article sometimes has a space and sometimes not.

NOTE: Exploring Chemistry is my developing textbook. It is still in draft and I welcome suggestions to improve and correct the document. I have also published Communicating Science, which is available at

I have not posted these concerns to the blog post yet because I want to contact Tom first. I have not figured out how to do that yet.

Simply, there needs to be some way for posts to be peer reviewed before they are publicly available. A suggestion: requiring people to declare their areas of academic interest when they register. Then when they post a resource, they must review three - five other resources before theirs is released. This mimics the literature peer review process and (I believe) is a module in Drupal. While this is more work, it is necessary. Alternative, require posters to review three - five other resources, but release their resource immediately with an UNREVIEWED label. That label is removed when they receive three - five positive peer reviews.

Hi Roy and All,

Roy brings up a concern for us all, how do we use material from other resources, especially problem sets, and be ensured the material we use is valid. Even publishers have problems, and I doubt there is anyone on this list who has not seen a mistake in a textbook problem set or test-item file. It seems like by the time the problem sets have had a thorough going over and are cleaned up, it is time for a new edition!

Does anyone have any ideas on best ways to curate educational material in public collections like ChemEd-X or OrganicERs? Roy's idea is not unlike what they do for "crowd sourced data curation" in ChemSpider, although there "users" can trigger a "review" which is ultimately dealt with by an "expert", that is, they have different levels of curators. The thing is, good curation is labor intensive. But lets not forget that even publishers have problems here, and they pay for these services.

Maybe one idea, for a site like ChemEd-X, which has both open access and proprietary (fee-based) resources, curators could gain "credits" by reviewing open-access material that could "unlock" [read make free] some of the fee-based resources. That is not unlike publishers paying reviewers, but the "pay" is access to the entire site's resources, not just the open access ones. So by contributing to the sites resources, you get access to more of those resources.

Deanna Cullen's picture

We have been talking about adding a point/reward system to the site and your suggestion may be a good one. As I mentioned to Roy, this will make for a good discussion with the admin of the site. I hope others will weigh in with suggestions.

Deanna Cullen's picture

Hi Roy, We are continuing to build the site and add features, so this conversation is important to us. We have an informal review process for submitted articles and activities that will be evolving into a more organized workflow as we prepare to move to an updated version of the site. You are correct about the availability of peer review features in Drupal. I am looking forward to using them.

ChemEd X does grant blogging privileges to some registered users and lead contributors like Tom (you mentioned his post in your comment). At this time, we monitor the contributions and moderate comments to keep them on topic and ensure a friendly collaborative environment for sharing. We do not peer review blog posts. I will certainly discuss the issue in our next admin meeting. I cannot speak to what an end decision might be within that group, but my sense has been that blogs are an informal way to share and possibly collaborate with other teachers. Our lead contributors certainly would not knowingly post something that is inaccurate. I hope that if one of us does post something that is inaccurate, our fellow chemistry teachers will kindly point out the error. I hazard to guess that if one person has a misconception that there are others in our community that share that misconception. I have found in my high school chemistry class room (and in life) we often learn more from mistakes than anything else. It would be a service to our community if we can communicate and weed out some of the misconceptions causing the mistakes.

You can certainly contact Tom directly, but if you register as a user, you can post a comment that will be shared with everyone (once approved by the admin). I hope that a conversation would ensue and if a consensus is met, maybe the conversation and improved blog post might develop into a formal article.

That said, I do take your point to heart. I think that maybe a definition of what is appropriate for a blog post vs. a more formal demonstration/activity/article post would take care of the issue since the blog post and “picks” are the only items that are not reviewed at this point. Again, thanks for the comments. We will be discussing your suggestions.


DelmarLarsen's picture

Hello all:

This is mildly a self-serving comment, as I will be discussing this in paper #10, but I would like to interject into this discussion that the ChemWiki ( is a viable alternative to address the need to develop, disseminate, and preserve chemistry content within a sustainable resource that is free of commercial and other proprietary complications. The ChemWiki, as part of the greater Hyperlibrary project, is a "crowd-sourced" resource that focuses on the vertical and horizontal integration of chemistry educational material focused around supplanting commercial textbooks.

While it is still under construction, and will be indefinitely, as per our mandate, it has quite a lot going for it. The ChemWiki currently serves over 200,000 pageviews daily and is used as the primary textbook in several classes and serves as a powerful platform for not only disseminating chemistry content, but also to troubleshoot new chemistry education approaches. We do not use a reward/badge system for construction and integration of existing materials.

I will discuss the project and the recent pilot results showing that the ChemWiki can (and currently does) supplant general chemistry textbooks in both large (500 student) University classes and smaller (25) Community College classes. The latest newsletter can be reviewed here: