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Exemplary open textbooks and methodology: ChemWiki and its Progeny

ChemWiki not only shines as an exemplary series of open-licensed chemistry textbooks, it has spawned

Professor Delmar Larsen of the University of California at Davis heads the ChemWiki project, a series of online textbooks including Analytical, Biological, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, and Theoretical Chemistry plus the History of Chemistry and Lab Techniques. All are licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. Students and instructors contribute to the textbooks that are constantly improved.

ChemWiki includes more than 6,000 pages with high-quality illustrations. Individual pages in ChemWiki can be printed or turned into Adobe PDF files. Contributors include more than 30 chemistry professors and students as well as web technologists and publicist Richard Osibanjo.

ChemWiki provides maps to popular commercial general, organic, and physical textbooks.

Here are the pages showing how other colleges and universities are starting to incorporate the UC Davis ChemWiki into their courses:

 

 

College Open Textbook grantee communities include two based on the UC Davis series:

  • 3-D Molecular Models in ChemWiki: Dr. Ron Rusay and colleagues at Diablo Valley Community College
  • PhysWiki Dynamic Textbook project: Professor Erik Christensen at South Florida Community College and a colleague at Monroe Community College, NY. Erik was named a  College Open Textbooks  Outstanding Open Textbooks Advocate/Trainer in 2010.

A special feature of the UC Davis wiki texts is the Student Ability Rating and Inquiry System (SARIS) , a tool for tracking student progress based on PracticeZone.

PracticeZone is part of the ChemVantage academic program learning and assessment program for General Chemistry that includes jargon used in mastering video games. Chuck Wight of the University of Utah founded ChemVantage. “We have configured the software to allow students to submit proposed solutions to the problems as often as they want, in order to improve their scores. The objective is for students to use the feedback to correct their errors prior to the deadline for the assignment.” ChemVantage carries a Creative Commons Attribution license.

College Open Textbooks delights in publicizing the wiki texts from UC Davis, the use of these by several institutions, and the exciting approach to chemistry education from the University of Utah.

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