Chemical education: development of computer-based multimedia to assist student learning of complex scientific processes and concepts
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Education
Office: 111 UCtr
Jointly from University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University
San Diego State University
Awards and Academic Honors
American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences
UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award
Our research is focused on (1) how to promote meaningful learning in college science teaching, i.e., how to assist students to store more information in a memorable, readily usable fashion, and (2) how to facilitate the development of effective problem solving skills. Specifically, we investigate the role interactive, computer-based multimedia packages can play in learning and how effective they are as tools to encourage the understanding of complex scientific processes and concepts. We study the impact of a systematic, computer-based representation of a scientific topic on a student's learning and recall of that topic.
To accomplish our goals, we develop curriculum software that adds a visual dimension to the teaching of science, allowing students to visualize events happening on the microscopic and molecular level. For instance, in the software module titled "Spectrophotometry" students can explore the interaction of light and matter, follow the mathematical derivation of Beer's Law, and practice the operation of a UV-visible virtual spectrophotometer using an on-screen working model. At all times, students using the software are in control of the pace and path. They determine the extent of interactivity with which they are comfortable.
Primary Research Area
- Multimedia Chemistry Lectures. With R. Whitnell, E. Fernandez, F. Almassizadeh, J. Love, B. Dugan, and K. Wilson. J. Chem. Ed. 71, 721 (1994).
- Understanding Science: Visualizing the Molecular World and Simulating Equipment. With G. Wienhausen. Proceedings of the 1994 International Symposium on Mathematics/Science Education and Technology (1994).
- Concept Learning versus Problem Solving: Revisited. J. Chem. Ed. 67, 253 (1990).