As of a couple hours ago, I have not only completed my first full year as a lecturer at Northern Arizona University, but I have also completed my first full cycle of Karty’s text; from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016, from Organic Chemistry I to Organic Chemistry II, from front-cover to back-cover of Organic Chemistry: Principles and Mechanisms. I have been fortunate in this time to see my Organic Chemistry I students graduate on to my Organic Chemistry II course, and further fortunate for the opportunity to participate in a major part of their education. But for all the hard work we all put into the class, in the end, a course cannot be taught without structure or a story. Using Karty’s text as the structure, I was able to tell the story I had prepared nearly nine months ago.
At the start of the semester, I wrote a post summarizing the success of my Organic Chemistry I biology majors. To close the semester, I’ll summarize my students’ results across both organic chemistry semesters.
In general, my two hundred Organic Chemistry II students did exceptionally well. The average was higher than I had expected (about 8% higher than last summer’s class) and the feedback I received from my students was remarkably positive. And I’m not referring to the “you’re a great teacher” feedback, but rather the feedback I received regarding the course and the organization of the material. Students that once found the mechanisms to be difficult have admitted that they would have been lost without them. Not knowing the origin of the reactions would have resulted in pure memorization of the reagents and steps.
Though my students have been pushed hard this semester, letting up on the details would have been an injustice to them and would have reduced their chances of succeeding beyond basic concepts.
These two semesters with Karty’s text have been very successful (for my students and myself) and I look forward to another year of organic chemistry courses under the guidance of a mechanistic organization!
-Cliff Coss, Northern Arizona University