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Monday, June 25, 2007

Spring 07 Post-Mortem

With the term now over, it is time to reflect on my CHEM241 Organic Chemistry I class.

Following up on the last post-mortem, I continued to use a content page and Google co-op when appropriate during workshops with students. Again, like last term, this did not cause the majority of students to change work habits but it certainly did help some.

Also, with the recent Blogger podcasting problems, I ended up just creating a few large zip files with all the mp3s and all the m4vs. That turns out to be a much simpler way to distribute the archived lectures. Students don't even need iTunes, just Quicktime. The lesson is: for archival materials with no new updates, stick to old school delivery. (Although it is still really handy to have links to individual files in different formats (Flash, m4v, pdf, mp3) on the blog or wiki)

But, of course, the big change this term was using Second Life from the start of the term, instead of Unreal Tournament. About half a dozen students out of 100 participated. I continued to make use of the blue obelisk quiz objects on Drexel Island in the form of races and giving out books and molecular model kits to the winner.

I found that Second Life vastly surpassed Unreal Tournament on several levels. Students did come for the races but they also looked around and interacted with the environment, each other and visitors. In addition to accessing Second Life off campus, some students brought their laptops to the workshops. Wireless access was fine in most cases.

Chat was fine in most cases to interact but next time I would like to use whiteboards so that we can draw molecules as well. I would also like to encourage them to do their extra credit assignments on Second Life. That should prove to be an engaging and collaborative experience for everybody.


  • Your post-mortem is interesting. Have you compared the grades to the testing system you used previously?

    Also, just for fun, I ran the Useful Chem wiki through this site:


    It matched up as "Genius." No argument there!

    By Blogger Beth Ritter-Guth, at 1:56 AM  

  • I am not actually recording any grades with the quizzes in Second Life, nor am I making it a requirement. It is just an additional tool to learn the class material.

    By Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley, at 5:23 AM  

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