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!

Better at Mechanisms, Better at Synthesis

I have long maintained that a greater mastery of mechanisms aids students in solving synthesis problems. The idea makes sense: the better a student understands how a reaction takes place via the mechanism, the better he or she will be able to incorporate that reaction into a synthesis when a specific modification to a molecule … Continue reading Better at Mechanisms, Better at Synthesis

Memorization Not a Choice: Learning to Remember

I have always approached my organic sequence as a mechanism-driven course. Every reaction that we discussed in class started with a mechanism to show how it wasn’t really anything new, but an extension of the types of behaviors we had learned to describe and anticipate. I avoided texts that listed reaction after reaction as completely … Continue reading Memorization Not a Choice: Learning to Remember

How Do Students Respond to the Mechanistic Organization?

Elon professor Joel Karty discusses his observations of how students seem to have more understanding, command, and control of their organic chemistry education when taught via the mechanistic organization. Prof. Karty also talks about being pleasantly surprised by the more interesting questions that students ask after learning elementary steps. Watch this and other videos of … Continue reading How Do Students Respond to the Mechanistic Organization?

Textbook Cost: Is One Home Run Really Better than Two Doubles?

As any professor knows, the decision to change to new textbook is one that we don’t take lightly. Often, we have used a single book for several years and have a good handle on how to spread that text out throughout a semester efficiently. Maybe we have assignments and exams tailored to a specific text … Continue reading Textbook Cost: Is One Home Run Really Better than Two Doubles?

First Impressions: The Big Switch, Part 2

The big switch (and what a switch it was), as this blog title suggests, is my reflections and thoughts on switching from a traditional functional group teaching approach to the mechanism-based teaching approach found in Karty’s textbook. My first blog (The Big Switch, Part 1) summed up my feelings and thoughts as I approached my … Continue reading First Impressions: The Big Switch, Part 2

First Impressions: The Big Switch, Part 1

My entire academic career as both a student and as an instructor, I have always taught or been taught organic chemistry using the functional group approach: beginning with the tried and true method of labeling chapters by functional groups and then moving on to learn how to name, synthesize, and react with the functional group … Continue reading First Impressions: The Big Switch, Part 1

Happy holidays from all of us at Teach the Mechanism!

Another semester of teaching the mechanism is over!  Rick Bunt of Middlebury College wrote this festive end-of-the-semester song for his students (sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”). It’s so good we thought we’d make posting it a new tradition! You’ve had Spanish and Bio And History and Calc, Physics and Econ And Poly … Continue reading Happy holidays from all of us at Teach the Mechanism!

Flipping the Script: Mechanistic Organization Encourages Cooperative Learning

When I first heard Joel Karty speak about his mechanistic organization in his organic chemistry text around 2016,  I had also heard a lot of buzz about flipping the classroom. I was very curious about trying this in my own classroom, but implementing self-directed learning with a more intricate discipline like organic chemistry can seem … Continue reading Flipping the Script: Mechanistic Organization Encourages Cooperative Learning

Karty’s Method Stands Alone, and With It So Can Your Students

One of the biggest (and sometimes the most difficult) decisions to make when teaching a course is the textbook choice.  Knowing if you made the right decision can be tough to tell.  Well, last semester I got some unsolicited feedback from students that put my mind at ease about deciding to adopt Joel Karty's Principles … Continue reading Karty’s Method Stands Alone, and With It So Can Your Students