A Mechanistic Organization is More than Just Mechanistic Patterns

No doubt one of the greatest benefits of teaching a mechanistic organization is the opportunity afforded to students to see patterns among mechanisms—patterns that we experts know and value, but are challenging for students to see under a traditional functional group organization. For example, as I described in my previous post, Why a Mechanistic Organization?, … Continue reading A Mechanistic Organization is More than Just Mechanistic Patterns

Mechanisms and Synthesis Go Hand-in-Hand

In my recent post, Better at Mechanisms, Better at Synthesis, I highlighted research by Alison Flynn at the University of Ottawa, in which she showed that students have better success solving a synthesis problem when they draw reaction mechanisms. I recently had an opportunity to further probe this connection by analyzing my students’ success on … Continue reading Mechanisms and Synthesis Go Hand-in-Hand

My Surprising Favorite Second-Semester Chapter

My favorite chapter of second-semester organic chemistry is perhaps more surprising to me than anyone else, considering all the great mechanisms and reactions that fill the second-half of Karty's textbook. My enjoyment of Chapter 16 (“Structure Determination 2: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry”) is most likely due to my own experiences analyzing complex … Continue reading My Surprising Favorite Second-Semester Chapter

Plan of Attack: Building Around Chapter 7 to Complete the Picture

When I was young my father and I shared a common interest of working on jigsaw puzzles. There was always a lot of variety in the pictures and we could easily pick different sections to piece together that would help the puzzle to take shape. The one that stands out clearest in my memory was … Continue reading Plan of Attack: Building Around Chapter 7 to Complete the Picture

2D Molecule Drawing in Smartwork5; Flash-free and Student Friendly

Smartwork5 is an intuitive html5 compatible online homework system which accompanies Organic Chemistry Principles and Mechanisms, 2e. It contains 3400 questions, all of which contain hints and formative feedback written by organic chemistry instructors. Nearly 2500 of these questions require students to draw an organic structure and/or write an organic mechanism. The drawing tools are … Continue reading 2D Molecule Drawing in Smartwork5; Flash-free and Student Friendly

Smartwork5: Immediate Formative Assessment Opportunities Help Students Work Smart

Here at Teach the Mechanism we are excited to introduce you to Dr. Christine Pruis, our full-time on-staff Chemistry Subject Matter Expert. In the following post, Dr. Pruis discusses her journey with authoring the Smartwork5 online homework and how this resource facilitates learning and understanding organic chemistry and mechanisms when paired with Joel’s text. Read … Continue reading Smartwork5: Immediate Formative Assessment Opportunities Help Students Work Smart

Bulls-eye: Tracking Reaction Usage Keeps Students on Target with Synthesis Problems

There are no two ways about it—solving synthesis problems is one of the more challenging tasks that students face in organic chemistry. One reason for the difficulty is the sheer number of reactions we deal with throughout the year, perhaps a few hundred in total. Invariably my students ask me if they need to know … Continue reading Bulls-eye: Tracking Reaction Usage Keeps Students on Target with Synthesis Problems

Winds of Change: Instructor Resources Make Switching to Karty a Breeze

I imagine any professor considering changing to a new textbook goes through the same dilemmas I did when I decided to switch. Even when we find a book that we know will benefit our students, we also know that there will be a time cost in making the transition. Faculty at schools of all sizes … Continue reading Winds of Change: Instructor Resources Make Switching to Karty a Breeze

Yes, Interpreting an NMR Spectrum Really is Just like Solving a Jigsaw Puzzle!

In the past, when shifting focus from NMR theory to structure elucidation using an NMR spectrum, I would teach students to construct the molecule incrementally using information from the spectrum. Typically, I would work through some examples to show students how to repeatedly return to the spectrum, building as much of one portion of the … Continue reading Yes, Interpreting an NMR Spectrum Really is Just like Solving a Jigsaw Puzzle!