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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Web based Spectra Game

Yesterday I used the NMR game in Second Life during our 2-hour Friday workshop in CHEM242. (We used a new location on Drexel island SLURL) The students who attended had looked at little or no material prior to the workshop. By the end I ended up explaining chemical shifts, complex coupling patterns and diastereotopic hydrogens differentiated by the presence of a chiral center. The only concept we didn't cover is integration, although we used peak size to take a guess about groups with lots of hydrogens (like trimethyl).

I think it was a very efficient way to teach NMR and the students can now go off and continue to practice till our next workshop Monday. Second Life has some advantages - such as the ability to mediate group study sessions where students from remote location can come together to play and discuss spectral assignments using either voice or chat. It is also nice to see the molecules in 3D, especially for bridged cyclic systems.

However, there is a bit of a learning curve to get into Second Life and not all computers have a suitable video card. So it is nice to now have the ability to play the game on a web browser. Andy set up the game play so that the score reflects the number of correct answers obtained in a row. There are also only 3 molecules to choose from instead of 5 in Second Life.

We're using JSpecView to render the spectra so expanding peaks simply requires dragging the mouse across the area of interest. It is also possible to integrate and view the metadata by right clicking.

Currently we mainly have H NMR spectra but we'll be adding lots more C NMR, IR, UV, MS, etc. It all depends on how many Open Data contributions we can find. If anyone has spectra to donate please upload them to ChemSpider and don't forget to check the box for Open Data.

This has been a wonderful example of rapid collaboration by Andrew Lang, Rajarshi Guha, Antony Williams, Robert Lancashire and myself.

Give the web Spectra Game a spin and see if you can beat the high score....


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