AN INTERNET SITE FOR FRESHMAN CHEMISTRY
. By Chung Chieh (e-mail), Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L3G1
1999 CONFCHEM

1. Introduction

Schools and universities stand at the forefont of science and technology. Students and teachers constantly look for new and exciting things to learn and do. Teaching without learning soon leads to boredom. The pleasure of learning multiplies if it is associated with teaching. Thus, the introduction of a new technology almost immediately affects professors, teachers, and students in the universities, colleges, and schools.

Technologies such as radio, audio recorders, television, video recorders, etc. have greatly affected the learning and teaching profession, especially on the generations slightly before us. Some of us can only relate to the introduction of computers, and its effect on teaching and learning. However, we have to recognize that applications of any of these technologies to teaching are called media teaching or media education. Computer and internet technologies affect teaching and learning more than other media before them in number of people involved.

When audio and video recorders were introduced, educators began to use them to store and deliver teaching materials. Some teachers feared that media teaching would replace them, but media teaching changed the nature of teachers' work. Furthermore, TV and Film in media and teaching has had a great impact on our society and on our life-time learning process.

When personal computers (PC) were introduced, many teachers rushed to employ them for storing and delivering teaching material. Again, some were afraid that computer aided instruction (CAI) would threaten the teachers' job security. Almost 20 years has passed since the PC came to the market place, and over the past 20 years, several generations of the PC have come and gone. A more recent event is the increase in the number of internet (web) sites. Abundant instructional aids are available from the Internet, for example, the website for media teachers in the UK.

An Internet Site for Freshman Chemistry has been developed and evolved for more than 15 years. At the start, this site was tested by a small group of students in the chemistry program on a local network of computers in one room. Then, it was placed on a campus-wide computer network for about 800 freshman chemistry students.

The popularity and the prospect of the Internet (for example see The Future of the Internet as an Educational Medium) compelled us to convert the CACT into internet documents. During 1997 and 1998, both the DOS and the Internet versions of CACT were available. In the Fall of 1998, only the Internet version of CACT was maintained and supported. We are constantly improving it, and problems are dealt with as soon as possible. The CONFCHEM audience accesses the same site as our Freshman Chemistry students at the University of Waterloo.

Students have written CACT quizzes over the Internet CACT site for the past two terms. The experience is interesting and valuable for future improvement.

E-mail: cchieh@uwaterloo.ca