Contributed by Dr. Jonathon Moir, Program Manager, GCTLC, Beyond Benign
Beyond Benign and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) are excited to announce that after a year of planning, strategy work, and scoping, the technical development of the new Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCTLC) platform is underway! The GCTLC is set to launch in 2023 and will serve as an online clearinghouse of green chemistry education materials, including a searchable library of greener lab experiments, in-class activities, lecture slides, and tutorial videos, among others. The GCTLC will also be a central networking hub where members of the community (including teachers and faculty educators, students, industry stakeholders, and EH&S experts) can collaborate, create and contribute to discussion forums, share resources, give and receive mentorship, post green chemistry jobs and opportunities, and so much more.
Over the course of 2021 and the early months of 2022, members of the project team met with numerous partner organizations, stakeholders, consultants, technology experts, and other online education communities learning about existing technologies and successful examples of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) online education spaces. This included vetting technology vendors, reviewing existing platforms, and understanding the technical requirements for the interactive platform. After a considerable amount of deliberation, our project team is excited to announce that we will be partnering with Skvare, LLC for the development of the GCTLC.
Skvare (pronounced “square”) is a 100% virtually distributed team of technology experts who specialize in building online tools and websites for educational and membership-driven non-profit organizations. They have worked with countless other organizations on web design, learning management systems, customer relationship management (CRM) databases, and more. Based in the U.S., Skvare has an excellent reputation in the web development community and regularly contributes to open-source software, and will be able to scale with the development of the GCTLC as it grows to meet the needs of an international community of green chemistry educators and community members across the world.
The technical build-out is estimated to take between 12-16 months, working in phases, to deliver a strong, stable and user-friendly interface with a solid foundation and critical features that will help strengthen and support the green chemistry education community.
The development of the GCTLC has been and will continue to be heavily informed and supported by the GCTLC’s Leadership Committee—a group of 20 green chemistry education experts across the K-12, higher education, and industry sectors. Through many hours of virtual meetings, their expertise and feedback helped to identify the core functionality for the initial 2023 launch of the GCTLC, as well as future functionality that will be rolled out in subsequent years. The Leadership Committee continues to play crucial roles in the development of an inclusive community space that creates a sense of belonging to ensure the GCTLC is welcoming and inclusive for users from all backgrounds, geographic regions, and walks of life. At present, members of the Leadership Committee are looking at important aspects of resource development, submission and review that will help create a comprehensive and searchable online library of citable green chemistry education materials.
As the technical development of the GCTLC progresses, Beyond Benign, the ACS GCI, and the GCTLC Leadership Committee will be working in close collaboration with Skvare to ensure the needs of the community are reflected in the technical build-out (including through focus groups, surveys, and/or beta testing of the platform’s functionality). The project team and community leaders will also be promoting the program through virtual and in-person presentations at a number of upcoming conferences this year, including at the ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. If you see us at a conference, please don’t hesitate to stop by and say hi!
In the meantime, if you are interested in staying informed on GCTLC news and updates (including opportunities to participate in focus groups, surveys, and/or beta-testing of the platform), please feel free to subscribe to our mailing list, reach out to us by email with any questions or comments (firstname.lastname@example.org), follow us on any of our social media accounts, or check out the GCTLC page on our website.
Beyond Benign is a not-for-profit dedicated to developing and disseminating educational resources on green chemistry and sustainable science to empower educators, students and community members to practice sustainability through chemistry.
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