16 Jul 2014

Report from workshop at Northwestern

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

It's been a crazy week for a lot of the leadership council. We have assembled here in beautiful Evanston to host the second NSF-TUES funded faculty development workshop. This week's theme is bioinorganic chemistry, especially how to incorporate it into the undergraduate curriculum.

8 Jul 2014

Live from Newport, RI

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Greetings all! We are now in the crazy travel period for your VIPEr leadership council. Next week, quite a few of us will be headed to Chicago for our workshop on bioinorganic chemistry, so lots of us are gearing up for that. Joanne Stewart and I will be continuing the IONiC invasion of Canada as we head to ICCE in Toronto that same week. But this week, Adam Johnson, Nancy Williams and I are in Newport at the organometallic Gordon Research Conference. So far it has been an incredible conference.

26 Jun 2014

Creative Commons and YOU

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

If you’ve downloaded as many teaching materials from VIPEr as me (or even if you’ve only downloaded a learning object or two), you’ve probably noticed a header or footer on the document that says who wrote it, when it was uploaded, and then some strange text that looks something like this: “This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike License.

20 Jun 2014

Summer WebMO fun!

Submitted by Lori Watson, Earlham College

This summer, as I worked with four brand new research students on two different synthetic and computational research projects, I was again reminded how easy WebMO makes doing computational chemistry.  WebMO is an inexpensive (free for the basic version) graphical user interface that can be plumbed to a variety of computational packages.

20 Jun 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

One of my research students is working on a project in which we are doing halide abstraction from a metal center. In theory, she is generating KCl which will precipitate out of the reaction mixture. Sure enough, she gets a precipitate. The solution was filtered and the remaining solid was dried in vacuo. The solid had some slight color to it as well as a heterogenous appearance. When she adds some water most (but certainly not all) of the solid dissolved.

13 Jun 2014

Clickers in the Classroom. Who needs 'em?

Submitted by Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn

One of the things that we like to discuss on VIPEr is Technology Use in the Classroom.  Realizing that not all technology is a boon to education, and that there are many ways to remove the dermal layers of a feline, I do use clickers and find them useful.

How do I use them? 

1.  Three minute clicker quiz-  three minutes is the amount of time that studies say students have to work on individual multiple choice questions on exams like MCAT, PCAT etc.

13 Jun 2014

Using a new toy to teach inorganic chemistry

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

Ever since they’ve come out, I’ve been eyeing 3-D printers. We’re fortunate to have several at JMU; some of my colleagues even teach general education courses where students learn to use these to build whatever they want. Ever since we saw an article about them in C&EN, a colleague of mine and I have been talking about finding a way to use them. We like the idea of designing our own microreactors and other laboratory toys.

6 Jun 2014

A behind the scenes look at VIPEr

Submitted by Flo, Slytherin' State

It's Friday afternoon. In June. Research students are winding down for the week. They are probably wondering how much more they have to do before they can leave for the weekend. And faculty are probably wondering the exact same thing. While I was 'being productive' (aka surfing the web and thinking about things I could be doing but not really wanting to do them), I noticed we hadn't gotten a BITeS post up this week.

22 May 2014


Submitted by Nancy Scott Burke Williams, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College

OK, so that title was just unfair click-bait. It is an acronym for Anti-Bonding Is More Anti-Bonding Than Bonding Is Bonding. It refers to the way we draw molecular orbital diagrams. We usually draw them with the bonding orbital going down below the atomic orbitals of which it is comprised by, say, 10 cm on the whiteboard, and we make the antibonding orbital go *up* by 10 cm. 

22 May 2014

TUES 2013 Workshop LOs in Action

Submitted by Elizabeth Jamieson, Smith College

I just finished teaching our 2nd semester general chemistry course.  For most Smith students, this is their last course in our introductory sequence; they are taking the class as 2nd semester sophomores (our sequence goes gen chem 1, organic 1, organic 2, and gen chem 2).  Officially this class is called "Introduction to Inorganic and Physical Chemistry," but since we've moved coordination compounds to gen chem 1, it's been very light in the inorganic part for the past couple of years.  So, I decided to bring a bit of solid state chemistry into the class this year using materials from our 2


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