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Effectiveness of a 2-Cycle Organic Chemistry Sequence Doug Schirch BCCE, August 2010 2-Cycle Organic Chemistry • Covers material from a standard 2-semester course in a different sequence: – First semester: Survey course of the fundamentals of organic chemistry (functional groups, nomenclature, major reactions, etc.) – Second semester: Builds on top of the first semester, more in-depth coverage, more rigorous. Problems with Standard Sequence • 1-semester students (Biology and Environmental Science majors; 40%) – Miss many functional groups common in nature (carboxylic acids, amides, esters, amines, etc.) – Forced to learn less relevant material • All students: often can’t see the forest for the trees. • Small schools can’t offer separate courses With 2-Cycle Sequence • 1-semester students: – Get a survey of the most pertinent organic chemistry. • 2-semester students (Chem. majors and pre- professionals) : – Build a solid foundation in basic organic chemistry before engaging more advanced material. – In 2nd semester, forced to recall 1st semester material to build on it, resulting in better learning. Outline 1. Background 2. Course content in each semester 3. My experiences 4. Results of standardized final exams before and after adopting a 2-cycle approach 5. Student opinions. Background • Previous publications: – Minter and Reinecke. J of Chem Ed. (1985), Vol. 62 • At Texas Christian Univ. – Sartoris. J of Chem Ed. (1992), Vol. 69 • At Wittenberg Univ. – Gravert. J of Chem Ed. (2006), Vol. 83 • At St. Mary’s University of Minnesota • All 3 reported higher ACS scores after adopting 2-cycle approach • Material covered in 1st and 2nd semesters … • Textbook options – 1st: Survey text, then 2nd: 2-semester text – 2-semester text used both semesters – [Interested in a text for 2-cycle approach?] • Number of schools using this approach? Sequence I Use 1st Semester 2nd Semester Review of bonding theories, EN, etc. Const. and geometric isomers, conformers, intro to chirality Intro. to all the major functional groups, their nomenclature, and properties Fundamental reactions for each functional group Limited mechanisms Some multi-step synthesis problems Lab: Standard purification techniques, TLC, melting points, a synthesis, GC-MS Sequence I Use 1st Semester 2nd Semester Review of bonding theories, EN, etc. Additional reactions Const. and geometric isomers, Additional mechanisms conformers, intro to chirality Intro. to all the major functional groups, More depth on nucleophilic substitution their nomenclature, and properties and chirality Fundamental reactions for each functional More complex multi-step synthesis group problems Limited mechanisms Spectroscopy Some multi-step synthesis problems Lab: Standard purification techniques, Lab: Syntheses, literature project, TLC, melting points, a synthesis, GC-MS qualitative analysis using MS, FT-NMR, FT- IR My experiences: what worked, what didn’t • Textbook: 2-semester Carey for both semesters • Homework: – Submitted more frequently, but – Insufficient problems in 1st semester sometimes • In 2nd semester students are stronger, better prepared, and have better study skills • Weekly help sessions no longer needed • Problematic for transfers (?) Comparison of Scores on Standardized Final Exam at End of 2nd Semester Standard 2-cycle sequence sequence Comparison of Scores on Standardized Final Exam at End of 2nd Semester Standard 2-cycle sequence sequence Survey of Student Perceptions • Survey sent to all previous students from the years a 2-cycle sequence used. – Of 31 one-semester students, 17 (55%) responded – Of 49 two-semester students, 30 (61%) responded • “I think it was good to have the first semester of the course be a general survey of organic chemistry that covers the fundamental topics relevant to biology.” 1-semester 2-semester students students Strongly Disagree 1 6% 0 Disagree 0 0 Neither agree nor 0 2 7% disagree Agree 6 35% 15 50% Strongly Agree 10 59% 13 43% • “I found it confusing to be skipping some chapters or sections in the textbook.” 1-semester 2-semester students students Strongly Disagree 3 18% 7 23% Disagree 11 65% 18 60% Neither agree nor 2 12% 3 10% disagree Agree 1 6% 2 7% Strongly Agree 0 0 • “I think it would be better to follow the standard sequence, going through the first half of the text in the first semester and the second half of the text in the second semester..” 1-semester 2-semester students students Strongly Disagree 3 18% 8 27% Disagree 11 65% 15 50% Neither agree nor 2 12% 7 23% disagree Agree 1 6% 0 Strongly Agree 0 0 • “For the content we covered in the first semester, I think I would have learned better with a smaller textbook designed for a 1-semester introduction to organic chemistry course, instead of the larger 2- semester text that we used parts of.” 1-semester students Strongly Disagree 1 6% Disagree 7 41% Neither agree nor 6 35% disagree Agree 3 18% Strongly Agree 0 • “Instead of the large 2-semester text that we used for both semesters, I think I would have learned better with a smaller textbook designed for a 1-semester introduction to organic chemistry course in the first semester, and then only using the larger 2-semester text for the second semester.” 2-semester students Strongly Disagree 5 17% Disagree 11 37% Neither agree nor 7 23% disagree Agree 7 23% Strongly Agree 0 • “Seeing some material twice during the year (at an introductory level in the first semester and in more depth during the second semester) helped me learn the material better by the end of the course.” 2-semester students Strongly Disagree 0 0% Disagree 1 3% Neither agree nor 1 3% disagree Agree 12 40% Strongly Agree 16 53% Summary • 2-cycle sequence allows a much better experience for 1-semester students • 2-semester students show increased learning and prefer the 2-cycle approach • The most significant problems (lack of specific text and transfer students) are minor For copy of PowerPoint or more info: email@example.com Questions??
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