Contact Site Moderator
Dr. Robert E. Belford
Cheminformatics OLCC: A blended learning approach to teaching undergraduate chemistry students critical informatics skills
Welcome to the site for the Cheminformatics OLCC. This is an NSF-funded collaborative project to develop a radical new approach to teaching critical informatics skills to undergraduate chemistry students. The approach is hybrid traditional-online, and involves the development of online modules (called Teaching and Learning Objects, or TLO's) that can be drawn together by facilitators at participating institutions to create a local class with students from the institution. Students at different institutions are able to jointly engage lecturers and TLO authors through the use of social media. This work draws on the existing interest in MOOCs and online education, but goes further in providing facility for local, physical engagement of students.
Why cheminformatics? Cheminformatics as a discipline goes back to the early work of pioneers in the 1950's and 1960's who figured out how to represent chemical structures and related information on computer. In the last decade, the discipline has seen considerable growth as technology and the internet become pervasive. Cheminformatics employs a diverse set of techniques including searching technologies and techniques, statistics, machine learning, data mining, graph theory, and semantic technologies. Given that this is a fast-changing field, it is hard for all institutions teaching undergraduate chemistry to be able to teach the necessary chemistry-specific informatics skills for graduating chemists in our global technology age. We therefore see a great opportunity to use the OLCC to give all participating institutions access to the best expertise in the world in this field.