Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it cost to use the on-line activities on this site?

    The Chemistry Collective project is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, so our software is available free of charge to all educators and students. You and your students can use it on the web immediately without any licensing requirements. We only ask that you let us know that you are using it, along with the number of students involved, so that we can report data about the overall use to our funders. Additional comments are also welcome to help improve all of the activities in this collection.

  • What are the Recommended System Requirements for the Virtual Lab?

    The Virtual Lab will run on the following operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, Windows7 or Mac OS 10.5 and higher. In most cases, the Virtual Lab will work with few problems, but it will run best with following suggested minimum requirements: 512 MB of RAM, 50 MB hard drive space and 800 x 600 screen resolution.

    If you have problems loading or running the Virtual Lab on your computer, please contact us at: .

  • How can I become a contributor to the ChemCollective?

    Once you have created a new Virtual Lab activity or scenario, send us the files by e-mail and we will post it to the ChemCollective site and give you credit as the author of the problem. It will them become available to any instructors who want to use it in their chemistry classes.

  • How can I have my website listed on ChemCollective.org?

    Just send us your URL and we will include it in our links to chemistry websites. You can also establish an instructor page within the ChemCollective site. You can then use ChemCollective.org as the place your students visit to access assignments and run Virtual Lab homework problems. They can just log on, go to the Students section of the website, and and click on Find your instructor's website.

  • Can I get copies of the Virtual Lab on CD if web access is difficult for my students?

    Yes, you can. While we encourage use of the Virtual Lab over the web, we realize that in some situations this may not be feasible. We will be happy to send you copies of the Virtual Lab on CD, although we may need to charge a small fee to cover our costs depending on the number of CDs you need. Please contact us at to request CDs for your classroom.

  • How easy is it for students to learn to use the virtual lab?

    Our observations of new users indicate that 5 minutes of exploration is typically sufficient for students to learn the essential features of the Virtual Lab. You can help by walking them through the step-by-step sample titration problem that illustrates all of the features in context. A user guide that explains the function of each feature is also available to answer questions about specific Virtual Lab tools or features.

  • What feedback or comments would you like me to provide?

    Any comments that help to assess the effectiveness of any of the activities or guide other instructors are welcome. There is a comment button for each activity so that other instructors will see your remarks when they are added. Questions you might address include:

    • Was the level of difficulty appropriate for your course?
    • How have your students responded to Virtual Lab experiments and scenarios in terms of interest or motivation?
    • Have would you describe your students' ability to learn chemistry using these activities? What additional topics or tools would you like to see added to the collection?

  • How do I create my own activities for the Virtual Lab?

    Over half of the activities on our website were developed by the user community. We hope to build an even larger collection of activities as the community grows.

    Our Virtual Lab activity authoring tool is currently being “revamped”. Until it’s completed, the easiest way to create a new activity is to send us your ideas and we can work with you to create the problem for your classroom. The following checklist of information may be helpful in creating the new activity:

    • Choose the chemicals you need from the activity. (The virtual lab currently only supports aqueous reactions).
    • Decide which Virtual Laboratory tools, such as the Solution Viewer and the pH meter you would like to enable for this activity.
    • Write a short description of the problem.
    Once the activity is created, we will post it to your classroom site. We also have the option of creating automatically graded activities that provide immediate feedback and randomization of unknowns.