Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is WikidChem?

A: A user-maintained website providing agency for the rapid exchange and efficient distribution of pedagogical materials (e.g., lectures, problem sets, solutions, exams, and computational assignments) among the entire chemistry community.

Q: Who uses WikidChem?

A: Anybody involved in chemistry education. Desperate students will enjoy an easily navigable website with links to lecture notes, textbook typo corrections, sample exams, old homeworks, exams, and solutions. Good Students will find these same resources useful, for different reasons. Instructors should find the site extremely useful when preparing lectures, homeworks, exams, and projects. Please sign up, browse around the site, click on the edit links, and contribute something!

Q: What will be Posted on WikidChem? How will it work?

A: Links, with commentary and criticism. The site contains internal links and external links, and these can be commented on implicitly or explicitly. Implicit commentary refers to the existence of a particular link or its position on a page. Explicit commentary involves everything else: a graphical or text flag, a commentary providing a description of the link or encouraging a visit, or creation of a new page devoted exclusively to annotating the content linked to.

Visitors to the site will then use this commentary to navigate the available material in a manner consistent with their specific needs (e.g., a student wanting to understand TDDFT may first visit sites explaining the relevant problem with wavefunction many-body quantum chemistry, then sites explaining how DFT treats circumvent this problem, then sites detailing the generalization of TDDFT). These visitors can leave an imprint of their visit, by modifying existing or creating new implicit and explicit commentary, and adding useful links . Future visitors can then implicitly or explicitly endorse these pathways and the process continues.

Q: Why a Wiki?

A: Why not? The important point is that WikidChem is not created to be THE Chemistry Wiki. In other words, this site is not necessarily intended to be the authoritative internet repository of chemistry content, although such ambitious contributions are welcome. Rather, wiki technology is an easy, cheap way to accomplish the goals of the project.

Q: What is the main pedagogical aspect addressed by WikidChem?

A: The development of an archive for rapid exchange of pedagogical material addresses several limitations of the traditional pedagogical method, where the process of learning is limited by the perspective and methodology of the teacher responsible for the class and a few possible textbooks. This is contrary to the very nature of the 'individual' process of learning, where a presentation that is optimum for one student is usually not ideal for another student in the class and vice-versa. Developing a resource that will make available to students multiple pedagogical approaches can overcome this limitation.

Q: How does WikidChem complement existing textbooks?

A: WikidChem can partially overcome limitations associated with textbooks, such as the fact that occasionally there are only a few textbooks for a specific course and none of which covers 'all' of the subjects of study with an approach ideal for the entire class. Furthermore, textbooks are usually developed or updated at a pace that is much slower than the possibilities offered by a WWW archive. Thus the contents of textbooks could be greatly complemented with up-to-date material uploaded by the most qualified experts in the field. The impact of such an archive is expected to be magnified by publishers and textbook writers, since such resource would provide a wealth of pedagogical information for writing new textbooks as well as an efficient way to estimate the need for a new textbook, or a new edition of an existing text. Therefore, some of the gaps and shortcomings of the current pedagogical approach can be partially overcome by the development of the proposed WWW archive.

Q: In summary, what is the overall impact of WikidChem?

A: WikidChem provides students and teachers with the possibility of consulting multiple approaches, establishing a platform for scholars from different institutions to efficiently share their own approaches and experiences. Wikidchem also guides a smooth implementation of research topics into the standard curriculum.

Q: Has the utility of WikidChem been assessed?

A: The pedagogical utility and effectiveness of the resource is evaluated not only according to the number of users, but also by the review and feedback of other colleagues in the Physical Chemistry community.

Q: Who supports Wikid Chem?

A: The first functional version of WikidChem was installed by Dr. Sabas G. Abuabara under the supervision of Prof. Victor S. Batista Yale. It is currently maintained by Benjamin Rudshteyn and Dr. Andreas Markmann also under the supervision of Prof. Victor S. Batista.
It has been supported by the NSF career Program Award CHE # 0345984.

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