Supporting spectroscopy teaching with Numbas

Nick Walker has developed a set of Numbas questions to support his teaching of Spectroscopy to first year students of Chemistry at Newcastle University.

This set of questions can be viewed here (from the perspective of a student taking Nick’s course). Here is a sample question:

Nick ( is willing to share and keen to hear from any spectroscopist interested in using these questions in their own teaching.

Spectroscopy involves study of the interaction between light and matter. The topic underpins the study of photochemical processes (chemical reactions induced, enhanced or inhibited by light) and is an important foundation stone of physical chemistry. Nick’s students use the Beer-Lambert law and other important relationships to develop important numerical skills. They learn about the size, length and energy scales that are relevant when considering the properties of individual atoms and molecules.

Numbas is extensively used to support the teaching of mathematical skills to chemists here at Newcastle. The program offers the flexibility required to ensure the high level of contextualisation that Chemistry students expect. The “adaptive marking” feature has proven especially useful in the support of chemistry laboratory skills development where students’ own data is used as the basis for calculations.