IOCD aims to strengthen education in the chemical sciences. We seek to reorient chemistry as a
science for the benefit of society, through attention to education policy and practice. This
includes participation in developing and disseminating knowledge and learning tools and encouraging
their use by individuals, institutions and education systems around the world.
An IOCD action group on chemistry education was established in 2014. IOCD's recent publications (see
for examples) have emphasised the need for wide reforms
in education content and practice to align the chemical sciences with changed contexts and with the
challenges and priorities of the 21st
Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education
In the past, little attention has been given to the mainstreaming of systems thinking (ST) in
chemistry education. This contrasts sharply with the situation in other sciences: for example,
biology and engineering education have long embraced ST and there is now extensive literature on ST
in these fields.
A paper in 2016 by IOCD's action group, Chemists
on ‘one-world’ chemistry and systems thinking called for the
adoption of systems thinking by chemistry, with the implication that this would require new
education approaches. A project
proposed by Peter Mahaffy (The Kings University, Edmonton) and Stephen Matlin (Secretary, IOCD) is
been undertaken by IUPAC, with support from IOCD and runs 2017-2019. It aims to develop learning
objectives, strategies and exemplars for infusing systems thinking into general chemistry education.
Distance Education in Chemistry
Open and distance learning (ODL) in chemistry provides a very flexible, cost-effective
approach to delivering technical training, continuing education and high quality source materials
that can be quickly, efficiently and cheaply up-dated to keep pace with advances in fast-developing
field. IOCD scientists have developed a number of tools to support ODL.
Medicinal Chemistry Distance Training
Responding to the increasing demand for trained medicinal chemists in LMICs in the last few years, a
medicinal chemistry distance training programme has been developed and piloted by leading
authorities in medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas, School of Pharmacy. This ODL
resource includes four segments (Introduction, Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, and Operational
Stratagems) and progress through the course is aided by quizzes at short intervals in each section.
The course has already been successfully piloted in web-based and CD ROM formats for widespread
The IOCD Medicinal Chemistry Distance Training Project is run by Prof. Tom Prisinzano
at the School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas.
Organic Chemistry Tutorials - Spanish
An IOCD group in the Faculty of Chemistry, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
(UNAM) led by Prof. Carlos Rius has established a series of web-based organic chemistry
tutorials online in Spanish, including modules on structure, synthesis, stereochemistry and
Chemistry Education on the Web: the ChemCourse Suite
IOCD is developing a new web-based chemistry resource in the form of a suite of inter-connected
elements called ChemCourse. These include chemistry virtual textbooks, courses and
tutorials: a number of these have already been made available to IOCD and the collection of works
is being extended. The ChemCourse project is being led by IOCD's Executive Director, Prof.