Assessment will take the novel form of asking each student
to contribute towards creating a Wiki(pedia) comprising about
20 articles about named molecules. This is modelled after the
Wikipedia itself, where each article is
created by the communal efforts of a team of individuals. Each
individual's addition to any article will be carefully recorded by
the system. Go see the Wikipedia article on e.g. Aspirin, and
view the history of the article to see individual
contributions. The status of the Wiki articles, and each individual's
contribution to them by December 7th and no later, will be used
for the project assessments.
Here, our Wiki contains initially 16 (initially empty) pages
each with a different molecule theme, and from week 8 a further eight
pages. Your task is as follows:
- To learn how to use a Wiki. This is pretty simple, and
will be demonstrated during the formal lectures in lecture 6.
- You can decide to focus on two molecules, and use
the CIT techniques shown during the coursework and lectures
to research facts about them.
- You will then distill this information into the Wiki
page. Anyone can add information to any of the 20 pages.
Obviously, someone will have to add initial information, to
which others can annotate/expand. You can even correct, or in
the extreme delete someone else's entry, if you feel its
incorrect. The fact that you deleted it (and that they
originally contributed it) is however recorded in the history
of that article, so gratuitous but anonymous abuse of the
article is not possible! We expect most people will take a common sense
approach to this.
- If you feel like starting a new article on an entirely new
molecule (topic) then please do so.
- You should not just copy/paste lines and paragraphs of text directly from
other web pages (or wikipedia articles), this being plagiarism. You should interpret
the information you have found, and then place it in the Wiki page using your own
The kind of information you may wish to add to the article
could be of the type:
- Some of the molecules are identified only by the
non-systematic chemical name. You may wish to associate a
molecular structure with this name, and then add the
systematic name and a 2D drawing to the Wiki article
- You might be able to add at least one synthesis (or
metabolic pathway) of the molecule, citing which information
source(s) were used, and if possible the original literature
reference to the wiki article.
- If appropriate, you add some physical/spectroscopic
properties of the substance, i.e. most trivially a melting or
boiling point, and if possible spectral information such as
NMR, MS, UV etc.
- There may be structural information about the substance,
ie 3D coordinates derived from a crystal structure. You
should endeavour to obtain these, for display in the wiki
page. A special technique needs to be followed to do this,
which will be shown in greater detail in the course
- Most of the substances suggested for articles are
functional or active in some way, as drugs, in their
physiological and biological effects, involving perhaps
metabolic processes, possibly inhibiting enzymes, acting as
catalysts, or perhaps just having unusual properties such as
emitting light. If you identify some of these interesting
properties, and the chemical reactions associated with any of
these properties, then add them too to the page.
- We are seeking evidence that a level of chemical
discrimination is used in screening which information to
present in the report. It will NOT be quantity that counts,
but quality, and self-consistency of discussion in the
How much time will it take?
We expect each student to spend up to about 5 hours contribution
to the articles. You can if you wish spend more, the carrot being
that if the final result is good enough, it might prove possible to submit
it to the real wikipedia. The purpose is to demonstrate that you
have acquired skills in finding chemical information in the literature,
and have proved yourself capable of transcribing that to a coherent article.
How will your contribution be assessed?
As noted above, each Wiki page has a history,
indicating the (login) identity of each person who has modified
or added to the page in some way. A difference between
two pages reveals what was changed. Assessment will be based on
the sum of the contributions you have made to this Chemical
Wikipedia. The Wikipedia example contains much more
than you would be expected to produce; it having accreted the information
over several years rather than just a few weeks. As a rough guide,
something which is 20-30% of the length of the aspirin article might be
- The best contributors will be graded of First
Class standard. They will have made a substantive
contribution to at least two articles, ie two or more
paragraphs of text, including original sources of
information, or 3D coordinates as a rotatable display, or a
synthetic reaction scheme, etc. You could choose to provide
less information on more articles if you wish.
- Contributors will be awarded an Upper Second if
they have made a substantive contribution of the type above
to one article and more modest contributions to one or
more additional articles.
- Contributors will be awarded an lower Second class
if they have made a significant contribution of the type
above to only one article.
- Contributors will be awarded an third class if
the sum of their contributions amounts to only a modest addition
to one article.
- If no modification under your name is found for any
article, a fail will be allocated.
- Please note that plagiarism, namely copying verbatim text
from other sources and passing it off as your own work is not acceptable.
If you copy images, you must indicate your source for them.
- Important: Anyone can edit any molecule page, and this of course
includes deleting or modifying existing information. However, you should
not worry that if someone else deletes your carefully crafted page, you
will get no credit for it. Your original contribution, and the identity of
any person who may have deleted it are carefully recorded in the history
of that page. If it was deleted because someone else thought it wrong/inappropriate,
your entry will be re-assessed during the grading, and credit allocated as appropriate
(i.e. if it was not rubbish, this will count positively, and if it indeed was complete
tosh, it will count negatively! An exception to this is if you yourself write
drivel, and then decide to delete it yourself. We will overlook such a lapse!).
If it was deleted maliciously or gratuitously, then you will still
get full credit for the original
entry. The person deleting it may have this count against rather than for their
own overall contribution to the project.
If the communal effort above manages to produce one or more articles on the
suggested molecules which are considered of a high enough standard, then
consideration will be given to contributing (with the agreement of the substantive
authors of that article) to the real Wikipedia.
©H. S. Rzepa
and ICSTM Chemistry