Reviewed by Jason Eames and Philip King
University of Hull, UK
Mastering Chemistry is a web-based homework and tutorial system aimed at university students studying chemistry, and is accompanied with an interactive e-text, Chemistry, by Catherine Housecroft and Edwin Constable.
Mastering Chemistry provides an easy to use platform for both undergraduate students and tutors. Questions are divided up into sections (such as tutorial questions, test bank and end of chapter) each of which contains different question types such as skill builder and self- tutoring problems. The levels of difficulty can be chosen (1 to 5) and the estimated completion times displayed for each question seem appropriate for first year students.
The multi-component feedback is sufficient to guide the learner through each problem step-by-step; however on certain question types, it can be a little rigid.
There is a broad selection of input types ranging from simple insertion of text and chemical equations (using the online editor) through to drawing out chemical structures and reactions. An innovative and fun ’drag-and-drop’ is used for ordering and placing structures etc within problems.
Mastering Chemistry can be used either as a standalone platform for students to develop the art of problem solving independently, or as a valuable formative and summative assessment tool. Assessments and tests are simple to create by selecting the question type from each chapter of Chemistry using a drop-down menu. The assessment period is definable, thus allowing these tests to be used either formatively (as end of lecture feedback) or summatively (for example as pre-laboratory questions, tutorial assignments and mid-semester tests). The overall marks and a detailed statistical breakdown for each assignment are available from the online gradebook.
Getting started is straightforward using the online support which consists of a series of ’how to’ help videos. The strength of Mastering Chemistry is within its platform and question choice, which can be modified using your own in-house questions.
For further information visit the website.