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Community Contributor

3rd party chemistry drawing tool?

We have teachers in Chemistry who need students to be able to 'draw' and submit such mystical things as this:

[edit: this image won't embed for some reason but you can see it here]

I've seen feature requests for stylus drawing in Canvas (like this one), but what would be even better is an  tool that assists students in creating these... errr... molecules(???), and even better, if this tool could be surfaced in Canvas so students can create and submit, all within the LMS.

Does anybody use/know of such a thing?? So far I've found these:

4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi Adam,

I did a quick search and came up with a tool named PubChem Sketcher V2.4 .  I'm not much of a Chemist so not a great one to try it out, but it looks like you can create chemical structures like what you posted and then export them to a variety of formats.  Although it doesn't integrate directly with Canvas, teachers could simply link to the tool and ask students to export and upload their files to assignments in Canvas in png or some other format.

Would that work?


Community Contributor

Hi Rick

Thanks for this, it's certainly a step in the right direction!

I tried setting up a quiz and embedding PubChem into the question with an iframe, which worked fine. The question was set up as a file upload so students could export from the PubChem editor and upload the answer all in the same screen before moving onto the next question (it's a set of similar questions set as homework). I was disappointed to find out that, unlike Assignments, file uploads in Quizzes aren't rendered and displayed in SpeedGrader... and this is a requirement for marking this activity.

I've found this feature request to address the problem but it's very early days at the moment, hopefully it will gain some momentum (kudos to  @mieke_hoing  for creating it).

As it stands I'm now wondering if there's an LTI chemistry drawing tool out there somewhere. If such a tool surfaced in the rich text editor then a quiz question could be set as the 'essay' type and the resulting drawing would render in SpeedGrader...

Community Champion

I did a bit of poking in related systems - ChemDoodle is the app integrated into our LabAchives installation.  It is integrated by the vendor rather than as an LTI we control, but it seems like some sort of endorsement.

Community Participant

We have used the free chemsketch. It is really good for a free version. Just works on PC though FYI.

Structure Drawing Software for Academic and Personal Use | ACD/ChemSketch