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ERIC Number: EJ1036338
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Improving Students' Understanding of Molecular Structure through Broad-Based Use of Computer Models in the Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Lecture
Springer, Michael T.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n8 p1162-1168 Aug 2014
Several articles suggest how to incorporate computer models into the organic chemistry laboratory, but relatively few papers discuss how to incorporate these models broadly into the organic chemistry lecture. Previous research has suggested that "manipulating" physical or computer models enhances student understanding; this study demonstrates that by "simply viewing" the appropriate manipulations performed by an educator on a computer model during a recitation period, students in both semesters of introductory organic chemistry performed significantly better on a post-test measuring understanding of molecular structure than those who did not view the computer models (OCHEM 1, p = 0.005, d = 0.98; OCHEM 2, p = 0.035, d = 0.75). The post-test results were also analyzed by topic: the topics that displayed the most significant differences in student scores were bond angle (OCHEM 1, p = 0.0003, d = 1.28; OCHEM 2, p = 0.03, d = 0.77) and 3-D properties (OCHEM 1, p = 0.06, d = 0.64; OCHEM 2, p = 0.04, d = 0.72), such as chirality and conformation. While having a dedicated computer laboratory and software for student use might be too costly for some institutions, displaying computer models during lecture is an inexpensive way to achieve significant gains in students' understanding of molecular structure.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A