Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
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Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2000
CHEMISTRY OUTREACH MOVES TO THE INTERNET
A Chemistry Outreach ( Chem 292) course at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has moved to the Internet. The new website, conceived, created, and administered by Dr. David Boyles, Associate Professor of Chemistry, is intended to serve as a locus for learning chemical principles behind chemical phenomena.
Made possible by Governor Janklow’s Faculty Awards for Teaching with Technology, the new chemistry outreach website provides a virtual space for students and their teachers to meet, discover, and discuss chemical phenomena through chemical demonstrations. In past years students who enrolled in Chemistry Outreach found it difficult to travel to schools throughout the Black Hills as they had hoped, due to scheduling, facility and safety problems.
The web- based course was designed to overcome four issues that often brought about problems when trying to coordinate student presentations. First, there were time and scheduling limitations of students enrolled in the outreach course. Second, many chemistry demonstrations could not be presented due to limited safety facilities. " We have controlled explosions, fire, smoke, and all kinds of other phenomena which are considered fundamental to the study and practice of chemistry," Boyles said. Third, in order to get the most out of each demonstration they must be coordinated with a discussion of the principles they exemplify in order to maximize their utility as a learning vehicle. Fourth, there preferably needed to be interaction among student audience members and/ or their teachers for each demonstration to better achieve its pedagogical ends.
In order to combat these problems and better serve remote audiences, an online Chemistry Outreach course was developed. Currently 50 demonstrations are available online that demonstrate almost 80 different key concepts. By working through three main categories, ( 1) General Concepts, ( 2) Physical Concepts, and ( 3) Chemical Reaction Concepts, classrooms and individuals can view video demonstrations, and work through PowerPoint slides as they learn about chemistry working from the ground floor on up. After each section students may take a quiz, and have the opportunity to ask questions and make observations to be addressed by the Chemistry Outreach students at SDSM& T.
“ The support obtained through Governor Janklow’s Faculty Awards for Teaching with Technology was invaluable in furthering my own technical expertise by allowing me to obtain and creatively utilize skills to create this website. The students have been enthused to see the outcome since they themselves were instrumental in creating many of the video and PowerPoint demonstrations found on the website. Although I had to learn the technical skills from the ground up, I will now be able to pass these skills to future students and expand their own ability to communicate the wonders of chemical phenomena through such a web- based medium,” said Boyles. " This project should be viewed at this point in time as an experiment which tests for the emergence of learning in a shared, virtual, and collaborative space. As evidence of this I hope to see interactivity between the SDSM& T students and the remote viewers on the discussion board which is a part of the site."
The Spring Semester 2000 is the first time the Chemistry Outreach course will be online. SDSM& T Chemistry Outreach students will continue to work with the site this semester. Teachers who are interested in obtaining in- service credit for leading their students through the demonstrations will be able to register in Fall 2000 for Special Topics in Chemistry, Chem 590. For more information about the online Chemistry Outreach course, visit http:// boyles. sdsmt. edu. Dr. Boyles may be contacted via the site.
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