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Guidelines for Submission and Review of Learning Objects

This document provides an overview of Learning Objects (curriculum materials and resources) in the GCTLC library as well as how users can submit Learning Objects and what's involved in the peer review process.

For additional resources and support, please refer to the following:

  • Forum for Learning Objects - for general questions and answers about the submission and review process

  • Virtual office hours with the Chief Editor - Fridays from 1:00-2:00pm ET - join through Zoom here (passcode: 032096)

  • (Coming soon!) How-to videos by leaders in the community

  • (Coming soon!) A sandbox group for feedback on draft Learning Objects

If you can’t find the information you need below or using the resources above, please email the Chief Editor for the GCTLC ( for help.

This document was uploaded on August 25, 2023 and was last updated on December 20, 2023.


What is a Learning Object?

A Learning Object is a curriculum material or resource housed in the GCTLC’s digital library that is intended to help educators incorporate more green chemistry into their classroom or teaching laboratory. Learning Objects can include greener lab experiments, in-class activities, lecture slides, video tutorials, links to published articles, and more. The GCTLC’s library of Learning Objects is searchable by keyword tags and filters, which means you can quickly find the type of resource you need by filtering by type, intended audience (elementary school, middle school, high school, introductory university or college level, etc.), by green chemistry principle covered, and more.

Learning Objects are submitted by GCTLC registered users or uploaded by administrators to the library. Once submitted, objects undergo a simplified peer-review process prior to being published on the platform in order to ensure they align with the mandate of the library and the platform. Once published, they are openly accessible to any user registered on the platform.  


Examples of Learning Objects

  • Laboratory experiments (specifically greener alternatives)
  • Lecture or course slides/notes (e.g., PPT, Prezi, PDF)
  • Activities/technology (e.g., in-class activities, games and online games, learning platforms, virtual platforms, hands-on activities/manipulatives, outreach, etc.)
  • Lesson summaries
  • Exam questions and answers
  • Assessments
  • Case studies
  • Syllabi (for programme and module design with learning outcomes)
  • Small resource sets
  • Videos (e.g., training videos, demonstrations, short screencasts, etc.)
  • Journal articles
  • Books
  • Other



Within the GCTLC, many Learning Objects will be grouped into collections by common topics or themes of interest. Examples could include a full course on green chemistry (where each Learning Object is a different lecture), or a guide to greener inorganic lab experiments (a collection of experiments). At this time, collections can only be created by administrators of the GCTLC based on recommendations from the advisory committee and the GCTLC Chief Editor. To see the full list of current collections, please click here.


Submitting a Learning Object

Note that only registered users of the platform can submit Learning Objects to be included in the GCTLC library.

To submit a Learning Object:

  1. Log in to your GCTLC user account. If you are not yet a user, you can create an account here
  2. Navigate to the main menu at the top of the screen and select “Submit a Resource” from the “Resources” expanded menu. You can also find this same link in your user account dashboard, under the “My Learning Objects” tab.
  3. Complete all required fields in the form. For supporting documentation and attachments, please refer to the table below to see which files are required for each type of object. 
  4. At the bottom of the page, select the option from the dropdown menu to save as “Draft” or “Submitted for Review”. 
  • If you save as “Draft”, you can return any time to the draft in your user dashboard, under “My Learning Objects” and continue editing the form. Note that required fields must be filled in to save a draft.  If needed, these can be edited prior to submission.
  • If you save as “Submitted for Review”, you will receive a confirmation email and the object will be sent to the Chief Editor for initial review and subsequent processing. You will no longer be able to edit the Learning Object once it has been submitted, so please ensure you have completed all relevant sections before you submit. If the object is sent back to you for revisions following the review, then at that time you will be able to edit the object again. 

Importantly, Learning Objects are ONLY visible to the submitting user and to the administrators and chief editor up until the point they are published. Once published, they become visible to other registered users and to anonymous visitors to the GCTLC.


Required Documents or Links by Learning Object Type

Laboratory Experiment

  • Doc #1 - Lab activity/information for students (includes: intro and background, safety and risk/hazards assessment, experimental method, instructions for analysis of data, discussion questions, pre and post lab questions, conclusion, references) (.docx or .pdf)
  • Doc #2 - Information for instructors (includes: instructor notes/GTA notes, model answers, model data, spectra, answers to pre/post lab questions) (.docx or .pdf)
  • (Optional): Technical/preparation notes, equipment instrumentation, chemicals and materials needed, safety precautions (.docx or .pdf)
  • (Optional) Additional student activity or lab sheets (.docx or .pdf)

Lecture or course slides/notes

  • Minimum one attachment with lecture or course slides/notes (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .pez)


  • Minimum one attachment with a description of the activity, game, hands-on activity/manipulative, or other (.pptx, .pdf., .docx, .pez), OR a link to the virtual tool or external activity site.

Lesson Summaries

  • (Optional) One attachment with details of the lesson summary (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .pez)

Exam questions and answers

  • Doc #1: Exam or quiz questions (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .xlsx)
  • (Optional) Answer set (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .xlsx). This is ONLY if, as the author, you wish to disclose the answer set on the GCTLC (GCTLC users may include students). Alternatively, as an author you may provide a note asking others to reach out to you if they wish to be sent the answer set independently.


  • Minimum one attachment with details of the assessment, which may or may not include an answer key (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .pez, .xlsx)

Case studies

  • One attachment with details of the case study (.pptx, .pdf, .docx, .pez)


  • Minimum one attachment with the detailed syllabi outlined (.pptx, .pdf, .docx)

Small resource sets

  • Minimum one attachment. This will depend on the number of resources in the set and if they are combined in one document or have been separated into multiple documents (.pptx, .pdf, .docx)


  • Minimum one video attachment (.gif, .mov, .flv, .m4v, .mp4, .wmv), OR a link to the video if housed externally (such as on YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

Journal articles

  • Please provide a URL link (DOI link) to the existing journal article. PLEASE NOTE: Copyrighted documents cannot be published on the GCTLC due to copyright infringement and will not be accepted. In such cases, the attachment will be removed and replaced with the corresponding link to the publisher or the Learning Object may be rejected entirely.


  • Please provide a URL link (DOI link) to the existing book (if online). PLEASE NOTE: Copyrighted documents cannot be published on the GCTLC due to copyright infringement and will not be accepted. In such cases, the attachment will be removed and replaced with the corresponding link to the publisher or the Learning Object may be rejected entirely.


  • (Optional) Any attachments as needed will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


Minimum General Requirements for Attachments

Please use these guidelines when developing supporting documents and file attachments to submit with Learning Objects. We encourage authors to consider Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Universal Design Principles when creating Learning Objects, supporting materials, or documentation.


For written documents, presentations, videos, and PDF documents:

  • Fonts: Please use accessible font styles and colours. Recommendation is black font on a white background, Sans Serif style, 12 pt or higher, with standard margins and 8.5” x 11” page size.
  • Images: Please ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. 
  • Figures: Please ensure figures are clear, legible, and provide a good balance of white space and text/graphic content. For additional guidelines and best practices, consult the ACS website on Preparing Manuscript Graphics.
  • Presentations: Please use appropriate and accessible colour combinations when designing slideshows and decks. For additional guidelines and best practices, consult the Carnegie Museum Innovation Studio website.
  • Videos: Please consider the following:
    • Ensure that the image quality in the video is of sufficiently high quality that the graphics and details are visually discernible by the viewer.
    • Ensure that the audio in the video is clear, uninterrupted, and does not contain background noise that hinders understanding or interpretation.
    • Wherever possible, use closed captioning to support accessibility needs, including the needs of users who may be deaf or hard-of-hearing.
    • Do not include strobing effects or other visuals that may affect photosensitive viewers.
    • Use appropriate and accessible colour combinations when creating graphics or visuals in videos (see similar note above regarding presentations).
    • For more recommendations on creating effective instructional videos, please refer to Brame, C.J. “Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content”, CBE Life Sci. Educ., 2016, 15(4), es6. (


Guidelines for Creating an Inclusive Learning Object or Activity

The following guidelines provide general recommendations for how to create an inclusive Learning Object or activity. This pertains not only to the activity or content itself, but also to how the activity or content is presented as well as the format of the supporting documentation/materials. Note that the list below is not exhaustive but is instead meant to provide examples and stimulate thinking and provide guidance on the general topics and themes that should be considered when developing a resource for submission to the platform. However, foundationally all Learning Objects MUST adhere to the GCTLC’s Code of Conduct in order to be included in the library.


In general, users should strive for the following when creating and submitting Learning Objects:


COMING SOON - Guidelines for Crafting Learning Objectives

NOTE: This section is under construction and requires community input. It will help to differentiate between learning objectives and learning outcomes, and how to best structure learning objectives for a particular item in a curriculum.


Review of Learning Objects

Once a Learning Object is submitted to the GCTLC, it passes through a simplified review process in order to verify that it meets the criteria for inclusion in the online library. The goal is to make this process as simple and low-barrier as possible. Learning Objects must still align with green and sustainable chemistry concepts, be appropriate for the teaching levels indicated in the submission, and include all the necessary documentation/information. For this reason, a simple review is necessary.

In general, a review will:

  • Include only one (1) reviewer or moderator per object. If a reviewer declines, is unavailable, or has a conflict of interest, a second reviewer will be assigned. In some instances, multiple reviewers may be needed if there are conflicting views between the reviewer and the Chief Editor.
  • In some cases, multiple rounds of review may be needed depending on the quality, content, and supporting materials provided with the submitted Learning Object.
  • The review process will be completely open. The author will be made aware of the name of the reviewer(s) assigned to their Learning Object and the reviewer(s) will be made aware of the name of the author(s) of the submitted resource.
  • The reviewer(s) will provide an overall recommendation for the resource: accept as is, revisions requested, or reject. The details for each are provided below. Once the recommendation is made and reviewed by the Chief Editor, the submitting user will receive an email with the reviewer(s)’s comments and feedback.
  • If the reviewer(s) recommend(s) approving the Learning Object, the Chief Editor, a dedicated administrator, or other authorized user may provide copy-editing and a final check before publishing it on the site.


The overall review process following submission of a Learning Object is provided below:


Initial Assessment - “Submitted for Review” status

Assigned to: Chief Editor

Once a user submits a Learning Object to the site, the GCTLC’s Chief Editor is notified of the new submission and does an initial assessment to determine if the Learning Object is appropriate for the GCTLC and if it should be sent for additional review. If information is missing or the object needs additional work, the Chief Editor may send it back to the submitting user for revisions, but otherwise will determine an appropriate reviewer to assign to the object. In some instances, the Chief Editor may be able to provide a review of the object and will not need to assign it to another reviewer. In rare cases, the Chief editor may reject a Learning Object immediately after submission if it is deemed inappropriate for inclusion on the platform and no amount of additional revision can make it suitable for publication.


Review of Learning Object - “Under Review” status

Assigned to: Learning Object Peer Reviewer

Once the object has been assigned to a reviewer and the reviewer has accepted, they will review the submitted resource and determine its suitability for inclusion in the online library. Reviewers are other GCTLC users who have volunteered their time to assess new submissions to the library. Reviewers will assess a submitted Learning Object based on the following criteria:


  1. Completeness of Submitted Information - Reviewers must check that all required fields are complete for the given object type and all required attachments have been uploaded by the user (attachment requirements will depend on the type of Learning Object being submitted, using the guidelines outlined above).
  2. Overall Criteria - Reviewers will evaluate the entire submitted object (including all attachments) and rate the object qualitatively based on the following criteria:
    1. Alignment with Green Chemistry/Sustainability and Rationale for Inclusion on the GCTLC - Reviewers must ensure that the field “Rationale for Submission” is complete and that the justification provided by the author/user for why the object should be posted on the platform is sound. Reviewers must ESPECIALLY ensure that the field “Alignment with Green Chemistry concepts/principles” is complete and that the alignment rationalized by the author/user is strongly supported by the content provided in the abstract and in the attached files. This is REQUIRED in order for the object to be considered for inclusion on the GCTLC. Reviewers must address the following question:
      1. Does the Learning Object reflect / relate to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and/or the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (U.N. SDGs)?
    2. Scientific Accuracy and Quality - Reviewers must address the following questions:
      1. Is the Learning Object of sufficient scientific accuracy and quality to be included on the GCTLC?
      2. If not, does the Learning Object require additional work to prepare it for acceptance and publication on the GCTLC? (If the answer to this question is “Yes”, reviewers will provide recommendations in their comments as to what needs to be addressed in the revisions and, if support is needed, which mechanisms should be used (for example, mentorship for the author or additional piloting of the content by other GCTLC users) and inform the chief editor/administrators of this need).
    3. Accessibility - Reviewers must answer the following questions:
      1. Is the Learning Object accessible to all audience members and users, and can it be used and/or implemented regardless of location, background and availability of materials/resources?
      2. Is the Learning Object constructed with equitable access and a diversity of perspectives taken into account, from both the teaching and learning perspectives? 
      3. Has the submitting user taken into account the design of the Learning Object in a way that minimizes barriers to access or implementation and centers equity in the teaching and learning of green chemistry principles/concepts?
      4. Is the Learning Object and the associated activity designed in a way that honours/aligns with universal design principles and/or universal design for learning? (
    4. Safety - Reviewers must address the following questions, with particular reference to the field “Safety Precautions and Hazards and Risk Assessment”:
      1. Has the author/user added considerations for safety and appropriately assessed the risks associated with the Learning Object activities, including any chemical or physical hazards?
      2. Has the author recommended appropriate protective equipment or other steps to mitigate or eliminate potential risks associated with the Learning Object activity/activities?
    5. Pedagogical Utility - Reviewers must address the following question:
      1. Is the object and activity/activities included therein useful for other users of the GCTLC and in particular the audience category listed in the submission form?
  3. Reviewer Suggestions and Feedback - Reviewers will provide their overall reviews, suggestions and feedback as well as specific comments for each of the criteria above regarding the submitted Learning Object, and include any recommended changes to make before the object can be published on the GCTLC.
  4. Overall Recommendation - Reviewers must indicate an overall recommendation for the Learning Object, specifically:
    1. Accepted - The object goes to an administrator or other moderator for copy-editing prior to posting on the GCTLC. After this, the Chief Editor or an administrator will be tasked with creating the DOI for the object (if requested by the author(s)). The object then moves to “Published” status and becomes available on the GCTLC library.
    2. Revisions Requested - The object is sent back to the principal author/user in order to make the recommended changes from the reviewer in their feedback/comments. The author/user can then make the requested changes and resubmit the object for a subsequent round of review with the Chief Editor and the same reviewer. In some instances (if warranted), a second/additional reviewer may be asked to assess the revised Learning Object. 
    3. Pending Rejection - The object does not meet the requirement of acceptance into the GCTLC library or has not been adequately updated based on previous requested revisions, AND, based on the reviewer’s professional judgment, no amount of additional revisions will adequately prepare the object to be included on the platform. In these rare instances, an object designated as “pending rejection” must be reviewed by the DEBR subcommittee of the advisory committee for the GCTLC to ensure the review process was undertaken fairly and equitably.


Acceptance of Learning Object - “Accepted” status

Assigned to: Chef Editor/Administrator

If a reviewer recommends a Learning Object for acceptance to the GCTLC library (no changes needed by the author(s)), the Chief Editor or Administrator will inform the user and will do a final review and check for any typos, grammatical errors, or other minor issues prior to assigning the object to the “Published” status. Once published, the object will become available on the GCTLC library for other registered users to see. 


Revisions Needed for Learning Object - “Revisions Requested” status

Assigned to: Submitting User(s)

If a reviewer recommends that a Learning Object needs additional work, revisions, or is missing information or content, the Chief Editor can assign a “Revisions Requested” status. The submitting user will receive an email notification with the revisions and feedback, and must update their Learning Object and resubmit it for additional review before it can be accepted. At this point, the object will become editable again by the submitting user.


Rejection of Learning Object - “Pending Rejection” status

Assigned to: GCTLC Advisory Committee

If a reviewer recommends a Learning Object be rejected and the decision is agreed to by the Chief Editor, the submission will pass to the DEBR subcommittee of the GCTLC Advisory Committee. They will undertake a final evaluation to ensure the review was done equitably and fairly. This will also ensure that any potential implicit biases were mitigated or eliminated. If the committee finds that the Learning Object was not reviewed fairly or properly, the committee may recommend that it be revised and resubmitted for another review from a different reviewer. 

The committee may also recommend the Learning Object be completely rejected from the platform. In this case, a record will be kept of the Learning Object in the GCTLC database, but the object will not be published in the online library. The submitting author will be informed of the decision by email including the rationale for the decision, at which point the author may appeal the decision. Authors may email the Chief Editor and the chair of the DEBR subcommittee to request an appeal for reconsideration.


Assigning a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to a Learning Object

Prior to submission, a registered user contributing original content to the GCTLC can also request that a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) be assigned to the Learning Object once published. Please note that only original work submitted to the GCTLC and not published anywhere else is eligible to be assigned a DOI. Work published elsewhere or work that is not original or is not owned by the submitting user(s) cannot be assigned a DOI. In some cases, Learning Objects may be submitted to the GCTLC as adaptations or newer versions of other published content (including previous Learning Objects on the GCTLC). In such cases, it will be at the discretion of the Chief Editor of the GCTLC in conjunction with Beyond Benign, Inc., the GCTLC Leadership Committee/Advisory Group, and/or assigned reviewers, as needed, to determine if the submitted Learning Object can be considered original work/content or not.


Sample Learning Objects

Below are some examples of Learning Objects that have been submitted and accepted to the GCTLC library:


Environmental Activities for the Classroom: Product Life-Cycle Analysis

Submitted by:  Laura Barnes

  • This object links out to an existing lesson plan available on the University of Illinois library website, which was developed by Laurie Case (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center)
  • No DOI can be assigned to the object since it is published elsewhere. However, including it in the GCTLC allows it to be searchable in the GCTLC’s library and made visible to other users when normally it might not be.


Toxicology for Chemists - Module 9: Ecotoxicology

Submitted by:  Nesta Bortey-Sam

  • This module is one of twelve that form the full Toxicology for Chemists curriculum, which was developed by numerous faculty members in partnership with Beyond Benign and supported by Target.
  • The module includes numerous lectures on ecotoxicology as well as supplemental material, all of which can be downloaded from the Learning Object page (downloads available for registered users only).