VIPEr Workshop


cCWCS is please to partner with the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource project (VIPEr) in funding a new workshop.


This workshop encoils inorganic faculty, postdocs, and graduate students into the supportive community of scholars known as IONiC (Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemistry). Inorganic chemistry is one of the broadest fields in chemistry, covering the entire Periodic Table of the Elements, yet faculty tend to be narrowly trained in a single subdiscipline. Stepping into the inorganic classroom, where knowledge of all of the subdisciplines is expected, can be daunting. Collaboration with colleagues from different inorganic subfields is an obvious solution to this problem, but geographical and professional isolation, especially at small institutions, inhibits such collaborations. This workshop provides an opportunity to network and collaborate with other inorganic chemists and to deepen knowledge in the subfield of solid state and materials chemistry in order to introduce students to advances at the frontiers of developing solid state materials for alternative energy needs such as solar power, batteries, and fuel cells.

The IONiC community supports faculty interaction through its web home, VIPEr (Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource, Participants in this workshop will learn about the resources on VIPEr and become active VIPEr contributors. The workshop theme, alternative energy needs, will add a “back to grad school” feel to the workshop, with participants immersing themselves in cutting edge chemistry, learning from leading researchers in the field, and creating new learning opportunities for their students. Participants will work collaboratively to develop new teaching materials to introduce or expand the theme of alternative energy needs in their classrooms.

Before the workshop, there will be a short pre-workshop web conference that introduces participants to one another and to the web-based collaboration tools that IONiC uses. Participants and workshop leaders will discuss what resources the participants will want to bring to the workshop.

 Day 1 (evening): Learning object design. The teaching materials on VIPEr - in-class exercises, literature discussions, laboratories, problem sets -- are called “learning objects.” The workshop will begin at 5:30 PM with dinner and a session on effective approaches to learning object design. Participants will share with one another the learning object they have brought with them to develop.

Day 2: VIPEr and learning object development. Participants will learn more about the VIPEr site, including forums, commenting, and RSS feeds. Guidelines for learning object development will be presented. With the support of workshop leaders, participants will work on their own learning objects and learn how to post them to VIPEr. Participants will briefly review fundamentals in solid state and materials chemistry.

 Day 3: Teaching inorganic chemistry and Back-to-grad-school mini-symposium. Participants will share their own approaches to teaching inorganic chemistry, share lecture and laboratory syllabi, and explore the VIPEr site for learning objects they can adapt for their own classrooms. The first session of the back-to-grad-school mini-symposium on solid state materials for alternative energy needs will be in the afternoon. Two leading researchers in solid state chemistry will lecture on their work and discuss with participants ways to incorporate the research into the teaching of inorganic chemistry.

 Day 4: Back-to-grad-school mini-symposium and learning object development. Another pair of leading researchers will lecture on their work. In small groups, participants will begin to sketch out learning objects on  the four different areas of research. “5-slides-about” are short PowerPoint presentations that can be used to introduce students to new ideas.

 Day 5: Collaborative development of learning objects. Participants will pull together what they learned yesterday and complete, in small groups, the development of two new learning objects: 1) a literature discussion learning object about the paper they read, and 2) a 5-slides about learning object on the research they learned about the previous day. Participants are encouraged to develop additional learning objects about these talks. The objects will be posted to VIPEr for the global inorganic community to share.

 Day 6 (morning): Wrap-up morning. Where do we go from here? Participants will discuss the learning objects they wish to test and/or develop after the workshop A Workshop Evaluation form will be completed by each participant prior to departure. The workshop ends at noon.