ChemEd Digital Library: An NSDL Pathway for Chemical Sciences Education
Middle school, high school, college-university chemistry teachers and students; parents; home schoolers; general public.
Journal of Chemical Education; American Chemical Society; ChemCollective Project
This report summarizes all activities of the ChemEd DL during its three years as a Pathway in the NSDL. The main headings are the same as the headings in reports to the NSF.
Major Research and Education Activities
Technical Developments. We have developed a content management system, ChemEd Content, based on Alfresco (www.alfresco.org), expanded the JCE controlled vocabulary to handle more kinds or resources and different academic levels, converted a sizable video collection to streaming format and made it available on the Web, developed a course-management site (based on Moodle) that now includes 17 courses from four different institutions as well as courses on using ChemEd DL materials, and developed a portal that highlights our video, periodic table, and molecular structure collections. Full-text searching of ChemEd Content and metadata enables discovery of digital assets, and we have built content models for journal articles, videos, molecular models, and chemical data that allow digital assets to be more readily associated with ChemEd DL collections, communities, and services. A major restructuring of the ChemEd DL portal is planned for early 2010; it makes use of the jQuery AJAX library to provide a modern user interface and pulls assets from ChemEd Content using an API we have constructed. ChemEd Content enables us to make assets available while maintaining attribution and branding; it offers partners additional Web locations for their assets can be discovered, such as iGoogle and Facebook
Textbook Tables of Contents (TToC) is our browsing system in which metadata link chapter and section headings from the tables of contents of standard textbooks with online resources in the ChemEd DL. Three textbooks have been added to TToC, and TToC has been linked with the ChemEd Content repository, thereby providing full-text searching in addition to metadata matching as a means of discovering digital assets relevant to a table-of-contents entry.
Chemistry Comes Alive! is our award-winning collection of more than 6000 multimedia Web pages, more than 2000 chemistry videos, and more than 10,000 color images. Keywords have been assigned to all videos and images. Based on a systematic analysis a data base has been created to house all CCA! metadata, and prototype tools and Web sites have been used to test the metadata. Sample videos are available at the JCE Web site: http://www.jce.divched.org/JCESoft/CCA/pirelli/ .
Collections. We have added several new collections into ChemEd DL: JCE Web Software (http://www.jce.divched.org/JCESoft/jcesoftSubscriber.html); Chemical Education Resource Shelf, a listing of textbooks and media; Netorials, a series of online tutorials on general chemistry topics (http://www.jce.divched.org/JCEWWW/Features/CERS/index.html); Periodic Table Live! (which has been made available free of charge now that all of its videos are in streaming format); Today’s Science for Tomorrow’s scientists , a series of Web sites that describe active research groups in terms understandable to middle school and high school students (http://www.chemeddl.org/collections/TSTS/), Concept Maps for Chemistry; and ConfChem Archive, which archives papers presented at online ConfChem conferences. We also continue to maintain collections of the JCE Digital Library and have added more than 350 new peer-reviewed digital assets to our collections.
The VIPEr group (https://www.ionicviper.org/), one of our collaborators, came online with their Web site for teachers of inorganic chemistry at the college level. In collaboration with VIPEr and the Journal of Chemical Education we have initiated a new column in the JCE that will describe the best of the resources in the VIPEr collection. To date VIPEr’s site contains more than 150 learning objects and has more than 300 registered users.
We have added a complete general chemistry textbook to the two other textbooks in our Living Textbooks collection. Both the textbook and ancillary homework questions are available in text and wiki formats. The wiki version is the basis for our collaboration with the ChemPRIME project (see below); it is available at http://wiki.chemprime.chemeddl.org/index.php/Main_Page.
Major Findings Resulting from These Activities
ChemEd DL has developed content models and other technical aspects of the data repository (Alfresco) that enable all ChemEd DL content to be accessed and displayed in both our own Web resources as well as in public venues such as iGoogle and Facebook. We pioneered in outreach/publicity by doing online and face-to-face workshops. We implemented the ChemEd DL Web portal and publicized it widely. We discovered that metadata we had developed earlier was not sufficiently granular to support the Textbook Table of Contents approach to browsing and have deepened our metadata. We are also finding that metadata developed for one kind of resource needs to be expanded to include other types of resources.
Outreach, Collaborations, and Communities
Outreach/Publicity. The ChemEd DL project has developed many avenues for outreach and publicity, both for its own Web Portal and for the NSDL as a whole. We have presented ChemEd DL at workshops, exposition booths, and online courses and workshops. We have also trained others to present ChemEd DL and they have carried out separate workshops. To date there have been 33 face-to-face workshops with more than 1100 attendees, 15 booths at meetings, and eight Webseminars or other online outreach efforts with more than 1000 attendees.There have been 50 blog entries at Expert Voices.
The ChemEd DL staff have also presented seminars describing the project and created publicity for publication in the Journal of Chemical Education. There have been 52 presentations at seminars and conferences, 26 publicity blurbs in the ACS Division of Chemical Education Newsletter, 42 articles in the Journal of Chemical Education that reference ChemEd DL, and 88 announcements about ChemEd DL in the Journal of Chemical Education.
Collaborations. We have collaborated with the Resource Center (RC) to provide videos in iTunes U, worked with the Metadata Working Group to develop restricted vocabularies in several areas, participated with Robert Payo on outreach through booths at meetings and NSTA Web Seminars, and helped develop a connection between RC and ChemEd DL with the Georgia Department of Education through its online GALILEO project.
We are collaborating with Robert Belford, who has been funded by the NSF NSDL program to develop and incorporate into the ChemEd DL a WikiHyperGlossary (WHG). The WHG allows glossaries to be created by ChemEd DL communities and turned into links that bring up the definition or other information. For example, by using the names of the chemical elements as glossary entries, the WHG will be able to automatically annotate a document so that each time an element is mentioned a link is provided to the information about that element in the Periodic Table Live!. We see the WHG as another tool on the same order of utility as our Textbook Table of Contents browsing tool.
We are collaborating with ChemPRIME, a project that builds on our online general chemistry textbook. Funded by NSF CCLI, ChemPRIME aims to add exemplars, applications of chemistry principles to many other disciplines and even everyday life, to each topic in a first-year chemistry course. ChemPRIME is recruiting others to contribute exemplars to the ChemPRIME wiki and many have been created. To support presentation of the online textbook to students, we have used the Joomla! course-development system to create ChemPaths, a system that can draw content from the textbook wiki and present it in multimedia format. A teacher can choose the order of presentation of course content by specifying Chapter 1 first, then Chapter 7, Chapter 8, and Chapter 9; then Chapter 13, part of Chapter 18, Chapter 14, and the rest of Chapter 18. ChemPaths is being used successfully in Chemistry 109 at UW-Madison.
Communities. We have developed three new communities each year. High School Community involves more than 150 high school chemistry clubs. Physical Chemistry Community has created a physical chemistry QBank collection with more than 800 questions to support the online textbook Quantum States of Atoms and Molecules. Testing and Assessment Community has been built around the ACS Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED) Examinations Institute. General Chemistry Community now includes two general chemistry textbooks/courses and will soon include two more. We are building onto one of the books online learning modules for general chemistry. We have also translated a significant number of general chemistry resources into Spanish. Dissemination Community, in collaboration with the ACS DivCHED Committee on Computers in Chemical Education, is archiving complete transcripts from online conferences held during the past decade (To publicize the ChemEd DL and NSDL we collaborated with them to hold an online conference in spring 2008.) Inorganic Chemistry Community is the VIPEr group mentioned earlier; it has support from NSF CCLI, has participated in the online conference described above, and has participated in several ChemEd DL outreach workshops. Chemical Information Community involves the Chemical Information Division of the ACS in creating a permanent repository for an online collection of materials about chemical information using ChemEd DL. Organic Laboratory Teaching and Learning Community. We supported an unsuccessful NSF CCLI proposal to create a wiki-based Web site that will be hosted by the ChemEd DL. Even without support we expect that this community will develop and grow, albeit more slowly, under the ChemEd DL umbrella. Spanish-Language Community involves several faculty at the University of Puerto Rico in translating materials between English and Spanish and vice versa.