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UC Irvine Unveils Open Chemistry: Online Access to Comprehensive UC Chemistry Curriculum at No Cost For Students, Self-learners and Educators

OpenChem Launched as Part of UC Irvine’s Commitment to Open Education in Celebration of Open Education Week

IRVINE, Calif. – March 11, 2013 – The University of California, Irvine (UCI) today announced the launch of Open Chemistry (“UCI OpenChem”), the most comprehensive chemistry curriculum ever offered online at no cost to students, self-learners and others worldwide. Developed as part of UCI’s commitment to fostering learning globally through a collaborative effort of the UCI School of Physical Sciences and UCI OpenCourseWare, UCI OpenChem provides free and open access to 15 quarter-length undergraduate and select graduate chemistry video lectures. UCI OpenChem was the brainchild of Chemistry Professor James Nowick, Ph.D., whose three classes of Organic Chemistry lectures have been viewed thousands of times and have earned praise from students around the world. By releasing the full path of study as OpenCourseWare, UCI contributes its world-class resources in chemistry to advance the study of on-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects.

“Making knowledge open to the entire world is a wonderful result of the World Wide Web,” said Marshall S. Smith, Under Secretary of Education for former Pres. Bill Clinton and a recent senior counselor to current U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. “UCI has taken the next big step in this direction by presenting their entire undergraduate chemistry curriculum in an open format. This is a wonderful gift from a superb institution in the world’s greatest university system.”

UCI OpenChem Is a Significant Milestone for UCI and the Open Education Movement

UCI OpenChem is the latest open education initiative that gives significant opportunities to educators, students and self-learners, who may otherwise be excluded from high-quality higher education. Since its initial participation in OpenCourseWare, UC Irvine has provided 90 individual courses and hundreds of video lectures online for free.

“The UCI Department of Chemistry has broken new ground by allowing students to follow a coherent and integrated pathway toward full mastery of undergraduate chemistry,” said Gary W. Matkin, Ph.D., dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning and Summer Session at UC Irvine. “This is the first time that students and professors can find a complete undergraduate major in a consistent and high quality video format on a single website."

A leader in the open education movement since 2006, UCI has coordinated the launch of this program with the OpenCourseWare Consortium’s Open Education Week, March 11 – 15. The week-long celebration aims to raise awareness for the open education movement and of open educational resources.

"We want to dramatically expand the role that open educational resources play in improving the quality of both teaching and learning,” said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. “Open Educational Resources, or what we call OER for short, can not only accelerate and enrich learning; they can also substantially reduce costs for schools, families and students."

Nationally Ranked Chemistry Courses Now Available World-Wide

Three of the graduate programs of the UCI Department of Chemistry have been ranked in the Top 20 programs by US News & World Report, including Organic Chemistry (11th), Physical Chemistry (12th) and Theoretical Chemistry (18th). Through a high commitment to excellence in research and instruction, faculty members have won numerous accolades and awards. The chemistry faculty includes a former Nobel laureate, four members of the National Academy of Sciences, three fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and sixteen Sloan Research Fellows. The research programs of the department range from investigating the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere to visualizing individual molecules.

“UCI‘s department of chemistry is one of the nation‘s largest producers of graduates with B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. The UCI Chemistry Department is less than 50 years old and has already risen to the top 10 percentile of major research universities,” said Kenneth C. Janda, Ph.D., dean of Physical Sciences. “OpenChem is a significant milestone for UC Irvine as we‘re providing an in-depth study of chemistry to students outside of our university, giving them the opportunity to study as if they were a UCI student. Our video lectures are delivered by the most respected professors and researchers in the field of chemistry."

UCI OpenChem provides complete, high quality video lectures for all required courses and many electives. With the exception of the laboratory courses that are mandatory for UCI students and research with UCI‘s world-class faculty that many students opt to do, the project is based on the on-campus sample degree path for Chemistry majors. The video lectures and more information about UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare initiative may be found at For more information on the importance of UCI OpenChem from the perspective of faculty and leading chemistry researchers and professors, click here.

About the University of California, Irvine

Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit