Sneak Preview of Mol

 
 
 
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We’ve been quiet the last several weeks. The whole team has been heads down working hard on Mol v1.0 for iOS and Android. We’re currently in closed beta and things are coming along well, so we wanted to take this opportunity to lift the curtain a bit and share what features we’re planning.

Our goal is to use the power of interactive design to make learning organic chemistry more enjoyable and engaging. We want Mol to have a modern, fresh experience that’s a joy to use. We’re drawing from our expertise in game development to make that happen.

Exercises

The core of Mol is the exercises. Think of these focused modes as mini-games, each with their own goals, interaction mechanics, and progression. The first first of these exercises found in v1.0 is Chiral Centers. In this exercise, you’ll be tasked with locating the chiral carbons on stereoisomers. Be careful though, you have a limited number of turns so you have to use your knowledge of chirality to strategically work through the molecule.

This plays into the progression system we’ve built. With each correct selection you’ll earn experience points. Gain enough experience and level up. New levels come with additional challenges that will test your understanding of stereochemistry. In chiral centers, this means each new level will add additional stereogenic centers you’ll need to locate.

Chiral Centers is just one of many exercises we have planned for you.

Visualizations

Due to the way organic chemistry is taught and the tools that are commonly available, most students work with 2D skeletal structures in their classes. in reality molecules are dynamic, complex 3D objects. Model kits do exist but can be expensive, clunky to use, and give little feedback. During the exercises you’ll not only be working on the 2D molecular structures you’re already familiar with, you’ll also be tackling 3D structures. We think this new way of working with molecules will provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of chemistry.

We know that not everyone learns the same way. Don’t want to see implied hydrogen or even the carbon atoms? Toggle them off! We’re providing you with different options to tailor the visualizations to your preferences. We’re respecting established standards and including representations that are used extensively in the chemistry field, like skeletal structures, ball and stick models, and CPK coloring of atoms.

As with the exercises, we have many more types of visualizations in store for you!

 A 3D ball and stick representation of pemoline in the Chiral Centers exercise.

A 3D ball and stick representation of pemoline in the Chiral Centers exercise.

Statistics

You can’t improve what you don’t measure! In version 1.0 we’re including some lightweight statistics capabilities to track your overall progress. Initially we’ll be measuring cumulative level and accuracy, but intend to provide deeper insights in future updates.

Usability

Before we began creating Mol, we learned from students and professors that the majority of existing digital learning tools had a poor usability. We’re decided to make the user experience a priority both through the interaction of the exercises, but also just using Mol in general by employing modern UX practices.  To reduce headache we built a variety of additional features such as automatic updating, Facebook account linking, and more. We’ve designed Mol so that it should just work on a huge range of iOS (6.0 and up) and Android (4.1 and up) devices.

Community Involvement

We've only begun to flesh out our backlog of features in Mol. We approach development with an iterative mindset and eagerly seek feedback. Tell us what we're going right and what needs improvement. We're intent on building a learning tool that solves real problems. Feel free to register for our forum where you can make feature requests, report bugs and get general support, or just discuss organic chemistry concepts.

Because that transparency is important to us, we’ve set up a public roadmap so you can see what we’re currently working on, and what we have planned next. If you want to be notified when Mol releases, sign up for our newsletter.

As always, you can also get in touch with us through either our Facebook or Twitter page.

- Mol Team