Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence

"Chemistry in the Cloud: Hands-On Experience of Three-Dimensional Molecular Structures Using Mobile Devices in Large Lecture Courses" 

Daniel S. Lambrecht, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry


“What if, in a chemistry class of 500, every student could have a 3D molecular model to experiment with?” Lambrecht asks in his proposal to develop a molecular visualization app for mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). With more than 70 percent of today’s students owning mobile devices, working in small groups in the classroom will ensure that all have access to what chemists traditionally have displayed with ball-and-stick models. Chemistry in the Cloud will allow students to instantaneously access virtual molecular structures to improve their understanding of concepts such as molecular orbitals, electron densities, and charge maps. The project aims to deepen students’ understanding of 3D molecular structures across chemistry disciplines, Lambrecht writes, by making “models accessible, interactive, and intuitive, particularly in large lecture classes.”