Deborah Herrington

Professor Debbie Herrington

Professor of Chemistry and Integrated Science Program

Office: 315 Padnos Hall 
Phone: (616) 331-3809
Email: [email protected]

Education/Professional Training
B.Sc. Honours Chemistry, Wilfrid Laurier University
M.Sc. Chemistry, University of Waterloo
B.Ed. Secondary Science and Mathematics, Brock University
Ph.D. Chemistry - Education Emphasis, Purdue University

ChemSims: Facilitating Online-learning in Chemistry Using Simulations (

Dr. Herrington and Dr. VandenPlas jointly oversee a research project in collaboration with Dr. Ryan Sweeder at MSU that develops simulation and screencast assignments to help students better understand key chemistry concepts and looks at how students are using the screencasts vs. simulations, what students like and dislike about the different types of assignments, and how the use of screencasts or simulations affect students' understanding of key concepts. We collect quantitative and qualitative data from students as they use the assignments and use eye-tracking interviews with students to explore how they are using the screencasts and simulations. More information can be found at our website. Potential Student Projects: Developing and testing screencasts that incorporate particulate level chemistry simulations. Studying how students use these screencasts as compared to how they use the actual simulations. NSF funded.

ChemSims Sample Interface

Developing Items to Assess the Use of Scientific Practices in a Chemical Laboratory Setting

In collaboration with Dr. Justin Carmel at University of South Florida and Dr. Melanie Cooper at MSU, in this project we are developing assessment items that provide evidence of the ways that students engage with science practices such as planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and constructing explanations/engaging in argument from evidence. We will also be using these items to examine how these abilities may change over time as a result of different lab curricula. Potential Student Projects: Developing and testing quality assessment items that focus on students’ ability to use science practices. Studying how students’ use of science practices is impacted by laboratory instruction. (NSF Funded)

Image Showing Relationship between Text Messages and Assessment

Using Text-messaging for Student Self-Assessment and Formative Assessment

In collaboration with Dr. Ryan Sweeder at MSU we have developed a formative/self-assessment system that combines a free text-messaging app with Google Forms. Assessment items are developed using the 3-dimensional (3D) framework for teaching and learning of science. We are studying how regular student engagement with these questions impacts student course performance and student confidence. Potential Student Projects: Developing 3D assessment items. Using quantitative and qualitative educational research methods to evaluate the impact of formative/self-assessment on student performance and confidence. Refinement of the text-message/google forms system to better integrate the two.


Page last modified November 20, 2019