If I Could Turn Back Time

As a teacher, I try to remember what organic chemistry was like for me as a student. I know that to be effective instructors, we need to be able to see topics through our students’ eyes. After five years in academia, my list of main organic chemistry takeaways has grown to the following five points: … Continue reading If I Could Turn Back Time

Rules of Thumb (ROTs) for Chair Conformations and Substituent Stability

Regardless of the format of organic chemistry classes (e.g. online, hybrid, F2F), many students struggle with chair conformations. Because it is our job, as educators, to help convey challenging material as clearly as possible, I like to provide rules of thumb (ROTs) to my students, which are a major component of my teaching style. Below are … Continue reading Rules of Thumb (ROTs) for Chair Conformations and Substituent Stability

If H Is on the Horizontal…Then It’s Horribly Wrong

As an organic chemistry professor, I find that Fischer projections are one of the more challenging perspectives to view chiral centers. However, this projection also happens to be one of my favorites for viewing chiral carbons, chiral compounds, and meso molecules. Even though the Fischer projection can be quite challenging, it can also be the … Continue reading If H Is on the Horizontal…Then It’s Horribly Wrong

Rules of Thumb

Nearly every semester, I am asked a question that I’ve never been asked before. I have found that by giving students some rules of thumb (ROTs), I can help them understand the basics while also giving them specific strategies for solving organic chemistry problems. More recently, I’ve recognized that the mechanistic organization helps enforce my … Continue reading Rules of Thumb