Chem 109 - General Chemistry - Spring 2011
Lecture Notes 1: January 19
Introduction to General Chemistry (Chem 109)
- Go over the Syllabus, Lecture
Schedule, and Lab
Schedule. Note grading, lab attendance, and quiz/examination
policies, GE, disabilities. With large classes like Chem 109 I generally use the
high score (total points) to normalize the scores - that is I
call it 100%. Cut-offs are then 90% for an A-, 80% for a B-,
65% for a C-, and 50% for a D. (Since summer enrollments are
too low to assure good statistics, I will also compare to previous
classes to determine the appropriate norm.) Remember that a "D"
is a passing grade, and may be all your major requires,
however, a C- is necessary to proceed on to Chem 110 or Chem
328, and may be necessary in other instances as well.
- As many of you know, Chemistry has a reputation as a "Gateway"
course - this is not a point of pride, nor is it intentional
on the part of the Chemistry Department. Many of you will find
chemistry very challenging. This is in part because it requires
a variety of mental skills for success: memorization/language
acquisition (a first semester chem course routinely requires
the mastery of more new vocabulary than a first semester foreign
language course), mastery of elementary algebra and its application, reading/interpretation,
problem solving, abstract reasoning, visualization, observation,
etc. As a result failure rates in introductory chemistry classes
tend to be high. With this in mind expect to work hard
in Chem 109.
- I am trying a number of strategies to increase your success in Chemistry.
- OWL (Connect Plus) is an online learning and homework system. It has both required and optional functions in it. We will be doing the Mastery Questions as required homework for credit. Other portions may be done as tutorials and learning opportunities. These non-required components include:
- Math background
- Visualizations and tuorials in each chapter.
- End of chapter problems from Zumdahl set up as tutorials.
- Online Modules as prediscussion learning tools to help prepare you for quizzes. Note that these modules are in place of lectures by the Discussion instructors - the Discussion instructors will function as helpers/coaches in doing problems etc. in discussion. The quizzes will be at the end of each Discussion. A variety of studies have shown that group work and "test" reinforcement are very effective in improving learning. Thus the Discussion/Quiz should help you succeed on hour exams.
- It is also important that you get experience with "paper and pencil" practice, so I will be assigning end of chapter problems from the text for the Discussions as well.
- Quizzes will be based on the Discussion work on the day of each Quiz.
- Past student experience has demonstrated that even "non-chemistry" students can do very well on homework and quizzes with diligence, hard work and
FYI - How to Study:
- Most of what you will need to know will be covered in lecture - so it is very important to attend lectures and take good notes. (The web notes may be helpful here, but should not be considered a substitute. Rather, use them to flesh out your notes to see if you have missed material etc.)
- In previous Chem 109 classes I have noted an apparent correspondence between attendance and grades. Do not assume that the web notes will substitute for attendance - most studnets need to come to lecture to succeed in this course!
- The textbook is meant as a supplement and a source of problems, examples etc. You may find the author more understandable or more compatible with your style than me, so read the chapters. You are responsible for the materials in the text unless told otherwise!
- You should do as many of the end of chapter exercises etc. in your text as it takes to become confident of your grasp of chemistry.
- Note that quiz problems will be based directly on assigned homework in the text!
- Study Time/Study Skills:
- Keep in mind that most students can only study new material for about 15 - 20 minutes without a break (even the best can usually only go for 45 min). Even a few minutes break will usually help.
- Want to maximize lecture efficiency since most of material will be covered in lecture. Three traditional suggestions:
- Review the last lecture's materials just before lecture to get your mind on track so you don't "lose" the first few minutes
- Read over your notes from lecture as soon as you can, annotating them with things you remember but missed etc.
- At the earliest opportunity, rewrite you notes with the aid of the on-line notes and/or your text to make an effective set of study notes.
- Look ahead at the material to be covered, then in lecture "think ahead of the lecturer" and see if you are right! That is, try and anticipate what is to be covered. This will make the lecture more entertaining and engaging and thus a better learning experience. It is one of the main characteristics shared by top professionals in all fields as well as successful graduate students when listening to oral presentations.
- Reward yourself for hard work - take a break to watch a favorite show, play a short computer game, eat a favorite treat etc.
- Take off at least one day for fun - guilt free (after all your Chemistry Professor told you to, so I guess its kind of an assignment [you know what kind of reputations they have as hard-ass types).
- Notice that much of this will be more effective if your carefully schedule your time.
© R A Paselk
Last modified 28 January 2011