Many WebAssign chemistry questions utilize chemPad, a formatting tool for entering standard chemical notation. It features more than 150 lines of intelligent feedback based on student responses with a preview pane to verify that appropriate syntax is used prior to an answer submission.
What are the features of the chemPad tool?
- The Help icon in the top right corner directs students to our Student Help for tips on interacting with chemPad.
- The next row provides buttons for special notation – subscripts, superscripts, reaction arrows, and Greek characters. Students can completely type their answers using keyboard shortcuts for the special notation or they can use these built-in buttons.
- The third row is the preview pane that automatically formats the student’s answer as they enter it, instantly pointing out any syntax issues without using a submission.
- The text entry box below the display area is where the student actually enters an answer.
- After a student submits an answer, the bottom row displays chemically aware feedback based on the answer, such as “the reaction described in your answer is not balanced.” This can point students in the right direction if their answer is very close to the key.
What can be graded in chemPad?
The chemPad tool is used to grade questions requesting chemical formulas, nuclear particles, reactions, electron configurations, rate laws, equilibrium expressions, ranking of chemical species by property, lists of chemical species, and electrochemical cells. When appropriate, allowances are made for multiple placements of acidic protons, condensed or complete electron configurations, and the order of the sign and value pairing in an ion (‘+2’ or ‘2+’) so that students are not penalized for entering an answer in a professionally-accepted format that is different from the expected format.