Using the Shockwave plugin, this site provides movie tutorials for over 50 organic reactions and other reaction related topics. The movies animate the sequence of steps in the reactions. The user has the option to pause and step through the movie to observe details. Each step in a reaction is annotated with text describing what is happening. Some of the reactions can be viewed with or without solvent present and for some there is an inset showing the energy profile for the reaction and highlighting the transition states and intermediates along the reaction pathway. There are also options for viewing a static summary of the steps in the reaction and a paragraph describing key points.A wide variety of animations are presented illustrating the mechanisms of organic reactions.
To gain a deeper understanding of reaction mechanisms by visualizing them in action.
Target Student Population:
The sites primary target audience is students enrolled in a university level introductory courses in organic chemistry. It could also be useful for students enrolled in advanced chemistry courses in high school.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Need to have a background in organic chemistry. A basic knowledge of the functional groups found in organic molecules and the chemical reactions that they participate in.
Type of Material:
Besides an index page, the site is composed entirely of web pages containing one Shockwave movie on each page. Each page is dedicated to a different reaction or topic and is accessible from the index page.
The movies can be used in a lecture setting to illustrate reactions to students. As a whole, the site a good reference source for information about organic chemical reactions and is also useful for drills and practice by individual students. Since each reaction appears on a separate page, they could be selectively integrated into other websites or PowerPoint presentations. This site will provide excellent support for lectures and/or homework assignments.
The movies are presented as embedded Macromedia Shockwave plug-ins and require that the Shockwave plug-in be installed on the client computer
Evaluation and Observation
The breadth and quality of information provided is very encompassing. The various modes that are available for viewing each of the movies work well together and provide the user with complementing ways of approaching an understanding of the reactions. There is good use of lone pairs and curved arrows.
The quality of the fonts used for the structure drawings is low as well as some the structure drawings themselves. This sometimes makes it difficult to see the details being presented. The lone pairs are drawn as lines - something that needs getting used to.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
As mentioned above, the various modes that are available for viewing each of the movies work well together and provide the user with complementing ways of approaching an understanding of the reactions. Having each reaction presented on a different web pages makes it easy to integrate them selectively into other websites that could be provided to drill students on organic reactions, or into multimedia lecture presentations. The liberal use of text to annotate the movies greatly increases the pedigogical value of the movies, but is designed nicely to not interfer with the visual components. Stepwise guidance is provided to "walk" students through each mechanism. There is a lot of detail (e.g., interactive options, supporting text, solvent molecules, POR diagram showing the progress throughout the animation, different speed options) and over 60 reactions are covered. I think this is a tool that could really help the visual learners out there - grasp the reaction, or solidify their understanding or maybe take it to a more in-depth level. As with most online materials, the benefit is being able to pause, think, repeat.
mechanisms are presented in a giant list (organized by reaction types) so students have to know the name of the reaction they are looking for
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Easy to follow. Works well.
The graphics are a little old-school but the content is great