The Abacus Project

TitleThe Abacus Project
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

Computer technology plays an ever-increasing role in the research frontiers of chemistry, from drug discovery to modeling chemical processes occurring in the atmosphere or oceans, to predicting the structure and reactivity of molecules. Despite its forefront in research, current Chemistry undergraduate courses are almost devoid of such computational components because an environment in which to deliver them to students is lacking. This proposal corrects this deficiency by building a learning environment centered on research-grade computational software that can be incorporated into courses. The specific objective for the first year is to build a small environment as a pilot project and incorporate this into two courses. Future years will expand Abacus to the entire undergraduate curriculum in Chemistry. Abacus will allow students to ask the same kinds of chemical questions as researchers, and to answer them in the same manner. As Nobel Laureate Carl Weiman showed in his recent presentation at UBC, using a research-based approach to teaching leads to improved concept building and learning in students a major focus of Trek 2010. The pilot project develops such an approach using assignments in which students interact with computational software, and perform inquiry-based investigations of chemical concepts and methodology.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2006/2007
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorMark Thachuk
Year 1: Funded Amount110,000