INFORMATICS FOR CHEMISTS: BASIC INFORMATIC TOOLS AT THE GRADE IN CHEMISTRY
University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:During the current academic year, Informatics for Chemist subject was available at the Grade in Chemistry as elective subject. Different are widely use over the grade for applications such as making calculus or diagrams to solve analytical problems or even for composing figures to introduce in a manuscript like a report or an article. However, the explanation of the use of the programme can require much time that the explanation of the topic itself which is going to use for. Therefore, the main objective of this subject was to teach the most important features regarding the use of informatics in the chemist framework. Taking into account that it was set in the first cycle of the Grade, the programme of the subject was divided in the following learning units; office automation (presentations, calc datasheets, text editor), symbolic mathematics, organic molecules drawing, water solution chemical equilibrium simulation, spectra data manager, literature searching (reference data manager) and image editing.
The selection of these units tries to implement in the Grade of Chemist the concept of data analysis-report development-data presentation working process. Until this academic year, it was possible to study experimental subjects, but in any of them was present, specifically, any topic on data manager/presentation. Informatics for Chemists fills that lack of the formative aspect trying to cover the most important and basic features of chemistry with regard to informatics.
Among all available software, as far as it was possible, freeware, open-source software, etc., was always selected. The reason why open-source solution was chosen is, on the one hand, a matter of price. Neither students nor the university can afford the shopping of non-free (often expensive) scientific software with the necessary number of licences, especially when more than one programme is needed, as this is the case. On the other hand, it is a matter of ethics. Education is supposed to be an area of free exchange of knowledge, collaborative work, solidarity and freedom. In addition, many of the biggest open-source projects have free users’ communities and forums in the Internet where students can look for help.
The way in which students are evaluated and they learn to use the software of each learning unit is based on a continuous evaluation system based on problem solving. Besides, the feedback student-teacher is made by making use of moodle platform, which is another topic discussed in the subject.
Keywords: chemical software, open-source software, data analysis, data presentation, informatics, report development.