P735: Using computational chemistry via WebMO interface to aid in students’ understanding of VSEPR theory
One key yet difficult concept for students in a standard general chemistry course is VSEPR theory. Implementation of computational chemistry for a VSEPR lecture/laboratory can help reduce the challenges associated with applying the VSEPR model. Utilizing computational methods, students can learn this vital concept by a plethora of mediums that will aid various learning styles. In addition, early exposure to computational chemistry in introductory courses will build the framework for advanced training and implementation throughout a students’ academic career and beyond. Here, we have designed new laboratories using a web-based interface, WebMO. User-friendly interfaces such as WebMO allow computational chemistry techniques to be more accessible for novice undergraduate students without prior training. For our large enrollment general introductory course, exported data via WebMO was used to create a website for access to pre-run calculations. The students then used the WebMO interface to analyze results, which led to a better understanding of molecular geometry and an appreciation for computational chemistry.