Emergent Remote Teaching

Here in Pennsylvania, class cancellations due to snow are the most challenging part of the spring semester. Days before our college closed due to the pandemic, I joked with a colleague that this could be the first semester without any snow days. Little did I know that within days, I would have a much bigger … Continue reading Emergent Remote Teaching

Online Teaching with Karty’s Text and Smartwork

In my previous post, I wrote about the benefits of teaching organic chemistry with a mechanistic organization. Now, with the COVID-19 virus crossing our country and universities going online in response, I’d like to share how I am using Karty's textbook, bundled with Smartwork’s online homework system, to move my organic chemistry course online. Several years ago, when the first edition of … Continue reading Online Teaching with Karty’s Text and Smartwork

Shifting to an Online Organic Chemistry Course

Like many of you, my organic chemistry course has been thrown off the rails with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With these changes, we are faced with questions on how to deliver content and assess student learning remotely. How will we give exams, such as the ACS exam? What about lab? How can we walk the … Continue reading Shifting to an Online Organic Chemistry Course

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

Time Well Spent

Teaching a mechanistically organized course has many benefits. For example, I am able to spend less class time on nomenclature. This semester, I assigned nomenclature “chapters” 1-3 for the students to read outside of class, arranging them among chapters 1–10 of the text. This meant that I spent only 25% of lecture time explaining nomenclature. … Continue reading Time Well Spent

Using Lab Reports to Reinforce the Mechanism

My students learn organic chemistry in a mechanistically organized course and I want to make sure they really understand how the mechanisms apply to reactions that are synthetically useful. There are many approaches that I use to reinforce their learning such as quizzes, practice problems, and SmartWork assignments. I previously talked about why I am … Continue reading Using Lab Reports to Reinforce the Mechanism

Taking the Frustration out of Online Homework…for You and Your Students

In one of my previous posts, I described how happy I was to implement Norton’s online homework system, Smartwork, for my organic courses. For my students’ learning, nothing beats the instant feedback they get when they click “Check Answer,” which immediately helps them assess whether or not they understand the problem at hand (it’s hard to … Continue reading Taking the Frustration out of Online Homework…for You and Your Students

Teaching the Mechanism Means Testing the Mechanism

Exam questions are a primary medium by which students learn what their instructor values most in the course. If we evaluate what we value, questions should test the mechanism and thus emphasize conceptual understanding, utilize real applications, and require deep thinking. And for me, the most important reason to pose mechanistic questions is to see … Continue reading Teaching the Mechanism Means Testing the Mechanism

POGIL and Mechanisms are Natural Allies

Choosing a textbook is always an important part of class preparation, but when using Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) with a group of students of mixed academic and reading abilities, the choice is perhaps even more important. POGIL is an evidence-based teaching/learning method used across the country. Students work in structured groups to complete … Continue reading POGIL and Mechanisms are Natural Allies

Finally, An Online Homework System for Organic Chemistry That Is Worth the Investment!

About ten years ago, I attended a presentation that showcased a computer-based homework system for organic chemistry. I liked what I saw, especially in terms of its overall quality and the thought that went into writing the problems. I was intrigued, even excited about it, because I knew how valuable instant feedback is to student … Continue reading Finally, An Online Homework System for Organic Chemistry That Is Worth the Investment!