JCE WebWare Mission Statement - Journal of Chemical Education

JCE WebWare Mission Statement. William F. Coleman. Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481. J. Chem. Educ. , 2001, 78 (2), p 272. DOI: 10.1021/ed078p27...
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JCE WebWare

William F. Coleman Wellesley College Wellesley, MA 02481


JCE WebWare Mission Statement

Randall J. Wildman University of Wisconsin–Madison Madison, WI 53715

Historical Perspective

How Does JCE WebWare Work?

Long before microcomputers were common in classrooms, laboratories, and dormitories, the NSF-funded Project SERAPHIM was making low-cost, high-quality, chemistry software available to the chemical education community. Over the years an impressive array of software appeared in the SERAPHIM catalog (1). As time went on, two things became clear. One was that as the complexity of the software increased there was a greater need for significant program instructions and suggestions for student activities centered around the software. Second, in the peculiar reward system of the academy, writing software for SERAPHIM was often not considered “scholarly” activity. From these two considerations, as well as others, JCE Software was born. This peer-reviewed journal continued the tradition of SERAPHIM, and provided many new computerbased activities for students and teachers of chemistry. During this period, the Journal of Chemical Education also began to publish short papers describing computer-based activities in the “Computer Bulletin Board” column.

The bottom line is that all submissions to JCE WebWare must include one or more internet applications for teaching/ learning chemistry—in particular, applications that are not merely text but involve some element of active learning on the part of the student. The goal is to make available tools that can be used in the classroom and laboratory, but also in the computer room and the student’s dorm room or home. These tools may include Java applets, dynamic HTML (DHTML) pages, virtual reality (VRML), QuickTime and Flash movies, animated gifs, and applications that can be used over the Internet with helper programs such as Excel. All applications must be cross-platform—that is, they must run equally well on PCs and Macintoshes. This avoids one of the problems encountered with JCE Software, the need to either translate programs from one platform to another, or make certain software available on only a single platform.

But That Was Then, This Is Now In the past five years the Internet has developed into a major, if not the major, computer revolution in education of the past two decades. The Journal of Chemical Education Internet reflects this increasing importance of the Internet, as does the appearance of several other Internet-based journals for chemical educators and students of chemistry, most notably The Chemical Educator. So what is the nature of this new initiative? The mantra of JCE Software has always been “It’s not about software, it is software.” JCE WebWare brings that same concept to the Internet. Rather than focusing on papers describing Webbased applications, JCE WebWare “articles” include the applications and in some cases consist almost solely of applications that can be downloaded and used by anyone. There are many advantages to this approach that will be described later in this feature, but one such advantage certainly is that there is no longer a need for an extensive disk and paper copying and distribution network.

JCE WebWare is the latest of several features of JCE Internet, the JCE publication that provides resources that cannot be expressed in print, require constant updating, or can be better presented in the digital realm. Biographical Snapshots of Famous Women and Minority Chemists, Conceptual Questions and Challenge Problems, Mathcad in the Chemistry Curriculum (see p 270 of this issue), and Molecular Modeling


Guidelines for Submission and Publication If you have authored materials that you think are suitable for JCE WebWare, we welcome your submission. Guidelines for submitting to JCE WebWare can be found at the JCE WebWare site, http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/JCEWWW/ Features/WebWare/. We aim to make the submission process as paperless as possible and to keep turnaround time as short as possible. Examples of Appropriate Applications JCE WebWare is in many ways different from more traditional features of the Journal. Accordingly, I am taking the liberty of including several different “snippets” applications from my own work that fall within the general guidelines for this column. These examples certainly do not begin to represent the range of types of applications we are looking for. That is for the creativity of our contributors to determine. Literature Cited 1. The Project SERAPHIM catalog and collection of software is available online and can be downloaded without charge from http://ice.chem.wisc.edu/SERAPHIM/

Exercises are among the other features (see http://jchemed. chem.wisc.edu/JCEWWW/Features/ ). JCE Internet welcomes contributions to these features as well as general interest articles. If you have an idea for additional features you would like to see at JCE Internet, please let us know by sending email to [email protected]. Visit JCE Online and JCE Internet at http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/.

Journal of Chemical Education • Vol. 78 No. 2 February 2001 • JChemEd.chem.wisc.edu