Computers in chemical education : a study involving symmetry and crystallography
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In order to determine ways in which computer assisted learning techniques may be applied with advantage to particular aspects of chemical education, software development was undertaken to produce programs capable of using a number of these techniques. The software, all items of which employed considerable use of graphics, included lecture demonstration programs, programs for auto-elaborative use, an "individual use" tutorial program and drill and practice revision programs. Most significant aspects of the teaching of selected individual topics from initial introduction in lectures to revision before final examination could be covered using programs selected from those developed. The general subject area chosen was symmetry and crystallography since this was considered particularly suitable for graphics oriented teaching methods, an area of strength for computers. Complete teaching packages, incorporating dual purpose demonstration and auto-elaborative programs with drill and practice revision lessons, were written for the topics of basic symmetry operations and space groups. Demonstration programs with varying degrees of auto-elaborative character were also developed for the Patterson function, point groups, unit cells and Bragg's law. An essential aspect of the project was an attempt at an evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of the material produced. This was done through the use of concept difficulty and attitude surveys administered to the students in the classes the programs were used in. The results would suggest that development of integrated packages of various types of teaching software is both possible and worthwhile in chemical education.