Textbook construction has historically followed a simple, yet proven, paradigm whereby an expert (or group of experts) with advanced training and experiences apply their collective education and expertise towards constructing the required content. An important aspect of this “top-down” approach is its intrinsic accuracy of the content and a coherent direction of presentation that accounts for and presents a bigger picture. The detraction is that significant effort and time is involved (average of five years per new textbook) and the slow response to accounting for new educational approaches or topics of interest (limited to the standard 3-4 year edition cycle). This expert-oriented approach is similar to the construction of encyclopedias whereby experts contribute specific sections and the entire book or series of books is assembled afterward. The recent success of the open-access Wikipedia encyclopedia project has demonstrated that alternative approaches can be similarly powerful.
The proposed development plan for the Module content of the ChemWiki textbook application incorporates the positive aspects of both paradigms while avoiding the detractions. Content will be initially developed by multiple non-experts in the field (primarily “student-authors”) and successively reviewed by peers or more experienced students. The contribution at each level is peer reviewed by other members in the same level. As content progresses higher, the final evaluation rests in the Vetting Panel consisting of the PI’s of this proposal. Once reviewed at this level for content, approach, accuracy, etc, the Module will be “locked” allowing for editing only by contributors with expert standing, thus preserving a clear standard for the project. To target undeveloped content in the Core, the Modules will be color coded according to its level of construction. For example, Modules at level 1 will have a reddish hue in the background tone or title.
This ensure that readers and contributors are aware that this “code-red” content is not as reliable as “code-yellow” content in stage 2, nor “code-green” content in stage 3, both distinguishable via assigned colors. “Code-blue” content will be at the expert level and represented fully vetted material that can be trusted and cannot be modified by students. This hierarchical mode of development will be the primary mode of construction for the ChemWiki, however participating experts can still provide “top-down” Module content. After significant development, content construction will shift to case studies, the introduction of newly developed educational advances (e.g. new Java based applets or recently published Journal of Chem. Ed. articles) and the contribution of new exam/homework questions in the SARIS sub-system.
To target undeveloped content in the Core, the Modules are color coded according to its level of construction. For example, Modules at Vet level 1 have a reddish hue in the title background. This ensure that readers and contributors are aware that this “code-red” content is not as reliable as “code-yellow” content in stage 2, nor “code-green” content in stage 3, both distinguishable via assigned colors. “Code-grey” content will be at the expert level and represented fully vetted material that can be trusted and cannot be modified by students, but by experts alone.
|no color||0||No construction to date|
|Yellow||2||Vetting by two Undergraduate or one Graduate student|
|Green||3||Vetting by two Graduate Students|
|Blue||4||Vetted by one Chemistry Expert (Faculty)|
|Grey||5||Fully Vetted by two or more Chemistry Experts (Faculty)|
What do the teal letters after the title indicate?
Each module is marked with a rating that indicates the level of difficulty or suitible class level of students that the module targets. This is not a hard and fast indication and is quite superficial at times. If you feel a Module is inaccurately marked, please contact Dr. Larsen with this information.
|Content Level ||Indicator Crest ||Primary Target Audience |
|Basic Chemistry ||Chemistry for a general audience with little or no chemistry experience|
|Fundamental Chemistry ||High school and Freshmen level content|
|Lower Divisional Chemistry ||Sophomore and Junior content|
|Upper Divisional Chemistry ||Junior and Senior Level content|
|Graduate Chemistry ||Graduate Level content|