Dr. Kate Plass, Professor of Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College, found herself Googling resources for students in her general, inorganic, and materials Chemistry courses to use in place of expensive texts when she ran across the LibreTexts Chemistry library. What began as a search for materials for her students to use became a desire to contribute to the growing collection of OER in Chemistry.

Dr. Plass has a number of inorganic and general Chemistry materials available in LibreTexts. After teaming up with a colleague from Saint Mary’s College, she decided to continue to revise these resources while also making new ones available through LibreTexts. She is currently using the LibreTexts platform to create materials for a Chemistry project she’s particularly excited about: creating an OER textbook for the last Chemistry class her graduating seniors will take before graduation, Materials Chemistry. For this course, each semester her students apply everything they’ve learned about chemistry to understand materials chemistry literature, assisted by and adding to an OER textbook created by previous students. According to Dr. Plass, this assignment is particularly fun for her students as it is interdisciplinary in nature, requiring a great deal of research, coupled with learning new instrumentation techniques; some material is familiar, some is brand new. It also provides students practical writing experience in something other than the typical lab reports required in Chemistry courses. The work, Introduction to Materials Characterization, is focused on what students need to know to interpret data. The goal is the continual improvement and expansion of the text based upon the most current data available that can ultimately be used by students in lower level Chemistry courses. The feedback she’s received from students thus far has been positive; they really like the idea of making something that’s not just an assignment, something real that other people will see, according to Dr. Plass. She would also love to get feedback from faculty who teach materials Chemistry at other institutions about the work she and her students have been doing. If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Plass in order provide feedback or get more information about her work in Chemistry and LibreTexts, you can reach her here: [email protected].

You can find her Introduction to Materials Characterization text in the LibreTexts Chemistry library here.