FLASH MOVIES, CAN THEY HELP US TO UNDERSTAND CHROMATOGRAPHY?
Chromatography is a widely used separation technique in different fields such as environmental, food, clinical, pharmaceutical or bioscience analysis. Therefore, chemistry or biochemistry students need to learn basic or even advanced concepts on chromatography. However, it is not always easy for chromatography teachers to explain some concepts or processes such as how an injector or detector works, why peak broadening occurs or what happens when the strength of a mobile phase is changed. Besides, classical chromatography books are sometimes hard to “swallow” for students who have grown in a technological era and are used to the visualization. In this sense, on-line learning tools such as chromedia (http://www.chromedia.org) or chromacademy (http://www.chromacademy.com) are innovative information sources that offer interactive tutorials for the learning and reviewing of chromatography. These on-line tools provide high quality educational material, texts, illustrations, videos, and interactive quizzes, experiments or multiple-choice exams that help the students to learn, review and stay up to date on chromatography. In the particular case of flash movies that are available in the cited URLs, as teachers of chromatography in different topics of the grade in Chemistry, we find these on-line tools really useful because they give the chance to visualize concepts that are often difficult to give expression. With a simple click on a flash movie, it is easier to explain the peak broadening in chromatography, the difference between a split and splitless injection in gas chromatography or the influence of the mobile phase strength in reverse phase chromatography. The use of these kinds of tools makes, in our opinion, the lectures more understandable and attractive to students and we expect they will help the teaching-learning process.