How I Increased My Organic Chemistry Class Average 20 Percentile Points

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Sunday, May 18, 2008 - 2:10 PM
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How I Increased My Organic Chemistry Class Average 20 Percentile Points

Peter J. Wepplo, Princeton, NJ

Organic chemistry is a notably difficult course. What is the best pedagogy to use? Which textbooks? How can one use POGIL based teaching in a lecture style course without recitation sections? What methods should you use and how do you incorporate them into your class? This is a retrospective look at methods and results.

My teaching started as how I had been taught. Why did student results not match my results? What did I do that students did not?

Organic chemistry has two (or three) major focal points. One is the description and terms associated with chemistry. The second are reaction mechanisms. They present a special challenge to students because they are dynamic. The objective is not what you have, but what it can become. My experience suggests they are the greatest challenge for students and the most important variable responsible for individual scores on the ACS exam. Of many methods, which ones were the most successful?

The percentile ranking on the ACS organic chemistry exams were recorded for all classes and the results of teaching changes will be discussed.

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