CCE02 - Teaching Chemistry Students Using Blackboard as a...

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Teaching Chemistry Students Using Blackboard as a Platform for "e-education" Thomas G. Chasteen Department of Chemistry Sam Houston State University Beginning in about 1994, I wanted to augment my senior level instrumental analysis course with a data set extensive enough that it would, unfortunately, be too onerous for my students to type in from a paper handout. Passing around floppy disks was possible but this process had its own drawbacks. An alternative was for students to download an ascii file from our university server using FTP (file transfer protocol). The exercise involved logging in to a directory on our UNIX server from a network prompt, locating the file in a sub directory, initiating and completing the download, saving the file on a floppy or hard drive, and then importing the file into Microsoft Excel ® . I assigned this "experimentally" at first. first there was file transfer protocol Once I realized that the students were enjoying the quick, always available, anytime nature of the assignment, I started to increase the kinds of things we made available online. Soon we were offering a copy of the course syllabus, detailed instructions for the laboratory reports, and other data files. We were moving to the e-education or computer aided teaching support of a traditional chemistry course in a relatively natural and obvious manner. Soon my students were accessing the files in our FTP directories using a browser (Mosaic ® then Netscape ® ) and then we started to worry about formatting documents in HTML, providing images of instrumentation, and arcane aspects about how cutting and pasting data columns into Excel are effected by differences between Macs and PCs, etc. Soon last minute changes in our lab procedures were posted as HTML documents the week before the lab. These were often last minute changes necessitated by the TA herself who discovered that reagent volumes or identities needed to be changed from what we had used in the previously "published" procedure as she prepared the experiment for the next week. Soon my university had a chance to get in on the beginnings of a "software Package" aimed at universities, and we began to use Web Course in a Box ® (WCB). This collection of server-based files used what I still consider some innovative HTML and javascript coding by programmers originally at Virginia Commonwealth University, Sue Polyson and Bob Godwin-Jones. web course in a box
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This is the first time I started to use a program that wrote HTML for me--not because I was HTML challenged--but because the WCB page construction software was quicker then I could code and more easily inserted URL links and images that I could have more slowly provided with my homemade coding. It also supplied on-line discussion forums and computer graded quizzes that I had never had available before. WCB soon took the place of all the disparate online pieces that I used to teach online up to that point. I still constructed content such as instrument schematics for my instrumental course and animations
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2012 for the course CHEM 100 taught by Professor Chasteen during the Fall '06 term at Sam Houston State University.

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CCE02 - Teaching Chemistry Students Using Blackboard as a...

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