OrganicPad: A Tablet PC-Based Interactivity Tool for Organic Chemistry

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This study aims to develop and test a tablet PC based instructional and assessment system, OrganicPad, which will allow students to learn to draw chemical structures. Each input drawn by the students is recorded by OrganicPad and stored in a database for later analysis. Subsequent modeling of this data will allow for the identification of both successful and unsuccessful problem-solving strategies and will serve as a guide in the development of interventions that will improve students’ structure drawing abilities.


This study is being conducted at a Southeastern Research University, with undergraduate and graduate students.

Research Design: 

This longitudinal and cross-sectional project collects data using survey research and semi-structured/ informal face-to-face interviews. The research design is both observational and experimental. OrganicPad records and stores all student inputs (atoms, bonds, electrons, etc.) and stores that data in a secure database. Students’ inputs will be analyzed using neural nets to identify similar student approaches to drawing structures and cluster them into strategies. Student progress will be followed over time by using Markov Modeling to develop models for how students achieve competence in constructing chemical structures. Data gathered from the think-aloud interviews will be analyzed using grounded theory for the presence of emergent themes.


Please see project website and citations below.

Publications & Presentations: 

Cooper, M. M.; Grove, N.; Pargas, R.; Bryfczynski, S.; Gaitlin, T. “OrganicPad: An interactive freehand drawing application for organic chemistry.” Journal of Chemical Education, manuscript in preparation.

Other Products: 

This research will generate a tablet PC based instructional and assessment system called OrganicPad. OrganicPad will allow students to learn to draw chemical structures.