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Wikipedia for Chemistry – Jeff Byers

Categories: Chemistry, Feedback, Formative Assessment, Research Paper
What: Authoring and editing Wikipedia entries as an assignment in a senior elective course

Who: Jeff Byers, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Class: CHEM0442, Advanced Organic Chemistry.  This is a special topics course taken mostly by seniors, with some juniors, most of whom are chemistry or biochemistry majors.

Number of students: 9

Reason for using the technology: Most Senior Elective courses in the sciences culminate with some sort of final paper or project.  This project typically involves each student writing a detailed review paper on an interesting and advanced topic of their choice.  This is a worthwhile exercise, as each student learns an astonishing amount of detail on one specific topic.  These papers do not, in any way, reflect the important collaborative nature of science.  Jeff also believes that a senior elective course should also generate content of use to the entire chemistry community, unlike research papers which, after grading, rarely surface again. More

Facebook in Large Lecture Courses – Professor Jeff Byers

Categories: Chemistry, Discussion

Technology Used: Facebook
Courses: Organic Chemistry 2  (implemented twice), and Advanced General Chemistry (implemented once)
Number of students: Approximately 70 in Organic Chemistry 2, and approximately 25 in Advanced General Chemistry

Photo by Carrie Macfarlane

When Professor Jeff Byers, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was looking for an online discussion tool for Organic Chemistry 2 (Chem 242) and Advanced General Chemistry (Chem 107), he wanted to find a tool that was student-centric.  “I did not want this to be ‘top down’ — the students get enough of me,” he says.  His students were already on Facebook, so he opened a forum there (see Middlebury Orgo Spring 2009). More