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Peer Review


by Craig Merlic


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use:
Reviewed: Jul 01, 2005 by Chemistry Editorial Board
Overview: This is a comprehensive training site for organic students to use. Students are
given NMR and IR spectra of unknowns and asked to determine the structure.
There is a vast array of NMR and IR spectra as well as a search engine so that
structures can be entered.
Type of Material: These are interactive Java scripts and applets for drill and practice.
Recommended Uses: For homework assignments and training for sophomore and upperclassmen level
organic chemistry students. Could also be used for proctored examinations in
some settings.
Technical Requirements: JAVA enabled browsers are needed.
Identify Major Learning Goals: To train students to learn how to interpret NMR and IR spectra.
Target Student Population: Undergraduate organic and biochemistry chemistry students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Concurrent organic chemistry is required.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is an extraordinarily complete and detailed site dedicated to training
students to be able to interpret IR and NMR spectra.

The description of the payout, organization, and resources available is
well-documented. The IR spectra section includes a table of characteristic
frequencies for specific bonds which is very helpful in identifying unknowns.
There is a feature giving the user the opportunity to compare IR spectra of two
compounds. All the compounds contain (1)H and (13)C NMR spectra information and
some have additional information in the form of IR, DEPT and COSY spectra. Large
set of problems in increasing order of difficulty presented. Also has clear and
extensive introcutory text and explanations

Concerns: The NMR integration intensities need to have numerical magnitudes attached to
them, either by addition of an ordinate or a straight numerical value for each
increment. The authors have selected the key structural peaks in the IR
spectra. It would be better, in my opinion, to identify all the peaks or none
of them. In an unknown analysis, the student doesn't have a convenient
identifier pointing out the important peaks to use. Given the excellent IR
section it is surprising that very few of the compounds have IR spectra
information included

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This is an effective, well-organized tool for learning/teaching which can be
used first as an introductory tool and then later as practice/drill. The
narrative is clear and extensive, graphics are effective in presenting the
psectra. It is versatile enough to be used in a variety of settings and context.
The zoom feature works well and allows a good visual separation of close peaks.
The search tool for specific compounds ahving functional groups is a good tool
for a follow-up practice session

Concerns: It might be useful to include mass spectra. It would be helpful if, upon asking
for the solution to be presented, the key features regarding why that is the
solution to the NMR and IR spectrum are summarized. The student otherwise is
still left to work out the details given the structure. It should say for
example: band at 3050 cm-1 indicates aromatic hydrocarbons, or single at ...
3.7 ppm indicates a methyl group since it has an ampltude of 3 and is at ....
shift, typical of .....

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Strengths: Once the user starts actually reading the page, the use of the site and its
various features are apparent. The site loads quickly, and the interaction with
the spectra is somewhat intuitive.

The software is easy to enter and exit from and the user-interface is excellent

and therefore effective. The user is not likely to get trapped or get diverted
while navigating through the module. The zoom feature is excellent and works
well. The IR table included is convenient and similar tables for NMR spectra
would have been uesful. It is well-planned and presented

Concerns: On the NMR spectra it would be nice to be able to double click on the miniature
spectrum in the top right hand corner to display the different enlargements.
Having to zoom in and out is a little bit inconvenient. The same holds true for
the IR spectrum. The interface is slightly different in the IR spectrum
compared with the NMR spectrum. Both should resemble the NMR spectrum in terms
of look and feel with the above suggested improvements.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a first rate training site for teaching students how to interpret NMR
and IR spectra through practice with a good, simple workable user interface and
very good introductory material in the narrative