Tandy Grubbs

14 Feb

If I am hit by a bus tomorrow and depart this world, how will I be remembered?  As a sixteen year veteran of teaching college chemistry at Stetson University, I’d like to think my students would remember me as a passionate, engaging teacher who each day breathed life into the seemingly dull world of molecules and chemical equations.  But, no – while students generally seem satisfied with my professorial efforts in that regard – I doubt this will be my epitaph.  Instead, I will be remembered as the Mahjong Chemistry guy.

I don’t consider myself to be a great innovator.  But I do occasionally have a ‘good-idea.’  Turning the popular Chinese tile-matching computer game Mahjong Solitaire into a medium that teaches important introductory chemistry principles was one such idea that struck back in summer 2010.  But what do I know about programming graphically intensive computer games?  To make this idea happen, I was going to need a very talented collaborator.  Enter Travis Cossairt, a lead programmer with EA Games in Orlando, Florida, and masters-level computer science student at the University of Central Florida.  Over the course of about six months we created a Flash Player web version of the game (http://mahjongchem.org) and also downloadable App versions of the game for the iPhone/iPad and Android devices.  Chemical educators quickly took notice.  An article “A Game Eases the Pain of Cramming for Chemistry” was even featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  To date, over 100,000 users have accessed and/or downloaded the game worldwide.

Technological innovation in support of education cannot happen without collaboration.  I look forward to escaping this fantasy campus-culture called Stetson University, and innovating with my new NITLE colleagues.


One Response to “Tandy Grubbs”

  1. Lisa Spiro February 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    It’s wonderful to have you in the Studio, Tandy! I think you make an essential point about the importance of collaboration in realizing innovation. And I’m looking forward to playing Mahjohg Chem.

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