World Wide Web-Chemistry Education

Introduction

This page is a brief introduction to a project which is being established at California State University Dominguez Hills under the direction of George Wiger, Professor and Chair of Chemistry. The work, being supported in part by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and by the University has the general aim of establishing collaborations via the WWW to support education in chemistry. What we want to do at this time, since the hardware is on order, is give a brief overview of the types of activities we are hoping to promote and how we feel we can support them. However, this list should be viewed as exemplary, not comprehensive and we hope that as the effort progesses, new areas will naturally develop. The fundamental premise driving all of this is that none of us is using the WWW anywhere near its potential as a cooperative medium where we can openly share interests, expertise and facilities. Despite the fact that the web has removed most barriers, we still seem to be thinking locally, rather than globally.

Overview

I don't want to spend too much time at this point on detail. Thus, I will just list the major thrusts which we currently see for the work.

Hardware

At the core will be two fairly powerful WWW servers, not the type you'd find at Yahoo!!, but certainly up to the task at hand. One will act as the administrative core, the second will be freely available to all participants. One issue I have constantly had brought to my attention is that many faculty do not have the type of unrestricted server access needed to utilize the WWW. We will provide such a platform for you, free of charge. Thus, you'll be able to route student work through us or to run interactive applications for your students.

Applications

As a basis for application development, we will have the library of WWW applications for chemistry developed here. I wish to empasize that, though we do like what we have done, we are not using this project to promote our work. It just represents a sound starting position. What we hope will happen is that others will build on it and, in particular, develop customized applications of their own to share. If you want to use our stuff, fine. If not, that's also fine. All we want to do is promote shared development and use.

Discussion Groups

We will provide support for email discussion groups. There is currently one operating to allow you to sign up. If a group gets together and would like to set up a special group, say for the discussion of using the WWW for environmental chemistry, we'll set that up.

Databases

Professor Oliver Seely of our chemistry department has begun an ambitious project of placing data in the public domain via the WWW. You can get a look at his work at Oliver Seely. We intend to expand that effort by involving others. The basic premise is simple. If you have 1000 pieces of data, that's far too much for one person. However, over the web we could get 100 people to each handle ten pieces.

Getting Involved

At this point in the planning, we are just trying to solicit interest. If you'd like to be "in the loop", even if you just want to lurk, and your browser is configured to send email, click on the "Join the list" link below, type "subscribe" in the body and send the message. That will put you on the list of interested parties. If the above, very brief, discussion has raised some questions you'd like answered, then please send those to me, using the link below. If your browser can't send email, follow the instructions below to be added to the list. By either method, you will get an automatic response from the server, when you have been added. We are going to use the size of the list as a measure of interest.
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put the word "subscribe" as the only item in the body of the message.
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