Do it yourself: an update on self-study resources

In a previous blog Steve Carman, a Masters student at the University of Newcastle introduced worksheets he’s been working on that make use of WebCSD and the 650 or so CSD structures contained in the free teaching subset.  Steve successfully passed his Masters course, is now a CCDC-funded summer student and is continuing to develop the resources.  Here he gives us an update on the trial he carried out during his Masters project.

Hi everybody,

 All is going well in Newcastle in the CCDC’s and Dr Peter Hoare’s joint project producing learning resources using the WebCSD teaching subset.  As you may have read in the previous blog post (, with the help of Nuffield Bursary students we have produced further A Level and undergraduate level worksheets. These have now been trialled by a wide range of teachers and students which has given us lot of useful feedback.

We received 192 pieces of feedback from a wide range of students from schools and universities in six different countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, two states of the USA and the UK showing the response to the teaching subset and our resources was worldwide!

As part of my MChem chemistry project I collected both qualitative and quantitative data on both the resources and the teaching subset. After trawling through the mountains of data many positive responses were highlighted. Both students and teachers were impressed by the quality of the resources and the teaching subset and 73% of participants would use them again.  This is great news at it shows the hard work in producing the resources is paying off!


As with all trials with new resources mistakes and improvements were highlighted via the qualitative data. Teachers and students were really impressed by the 3D structures but wanted to search for further molecules so a list of refcodes to be used for certain topics was requested, more molecules used by A Level specifications such as cisplatin and both isomers of thalidomide, students were keen to have video demonstrations to show them how to use the teaching subset and mistakes in spelling, grammar and chemistry were highlighted. It has also been decided that the CCDC’s graphics designers will spice up the overall design to make the resources look top quality and professional. These mistakes and improvements will be considered and rectified in my summer project (it doesn’t feel like much of a summer here in Newcastle!) supervised by the CCDC and Dr Hoare at Newcastle University. There is much further scope to produce new theory sheets and activities using the teaching subset.

The final resources will be available from autumn 2013 on a new webpage and will be free of charge. Until then the trial resources are still available on a different web page and can be accessed by request. However, if you use these trial resources please give feedback via the online form to allow for further development of the resources. If you have any questions or want to access the trial resources please contact or

Steve Carman