Plenary III:
Digital chemistry: the experience is everything

Plenary III
Digital chemistry: the experience is everything

Saturday, November 22, 2003
9:00 - 10:10 am

Mark Kubinec, Director, Digital Chemistry Project- University of California Berkeley

The Digital Chemistry 1A project (DC1A) is a series of technological enhancements to the delivery of the standard Chemistry 1A course offered by the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Digital Chem 1A does not use technology for its own sake, rather it is a set of innovative teaching pedagogies enhanced by technology. In this sense, it benefits from the over thirty years of chemistry teaching experience of its creators, their innovative style of teaching and a robust and innovative method of online delivery.

Some of the technologies of Digital Chem 1A are designed to improve the pedagogy and cost effectiveness of the course and to increase the number of students that can be served using the current resources of the College. Currently Chemistry 1A is the largest, most visible course on campus. Nearly 2000 students, or one half of the freshman class, enroll in Chemistry 1A each year.

The Digital Chem 1A website includes all of the content for the course including (1) an on-demand, searchable lecture archive in streaming video format synchronized with playback of the PowerPoint presentation from each lecture, (2) an on-line laboratory manual, and (3) a homework and prelab delivery system via a commercial learning management system (LMS). This web site is unrestricted and open to the world on the Internet at The College intends to continue use of this site for delivery of general chemistry and the University will maintain it as a fully-accessible resource to the educational community.

The tools and content provided by Digital Chem 1A are gaining acceptance among College of Chemistry instructors to complement their courses. A number of faculty teach general chemistry at Berkeley; although they have many different styles most have found some aspect of Digital Chem 1A they can incorporate into their courses. The preliminary results of the Mellon-funded project evaluation show students have an overwhelmingly positive response (~90%) to the tools and online content of the course.