Instructor: Gregory Cook

office: Ladd 104G

phone: 231-7413


office hours:  T 9:30-10:30; W 9:00-10:00 and by appointment

Web Page: http://localhost/chem240

Lecture: T, Th 8:00-9:15 am, AGH 130/132

Text: “Introduction to Organic Chemistry” 6th Edition, William H. Brown and Thomas Poon, Wiley.

On-Line Homework:  Wiley Plus with Orion

Clickers: Turning point clickers

Connect: Twitter: @DrCookNDSU; Facebook: chem240; YouTube: DrCookNDSU

Learning Team: Megan Meyers and Jonah Bergstrand will be assisting in and out of class as part of our learning team for this course. 

Introduction: This course is designed to introduce you to the fascinating field of organic chemistry and provide context for careers in medicine and related fields. In its simplest definition, organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. In this course you will discover what makes the chemistry of carbon compounds unique from other branches of chemistry. You will learn to appreciate structure and bonding and how that relates to chemical reactivity. You will learn how molecules with various functionality are prepared and how they react. With a foundation of structure, reactivity and their correlations you will also discover the importance of organic chemistry in every day life including biology, medicine, materials, food and agriculture.

Objectives: By the end of this course, students should be able to communicate fundamental organic chemistry. This includes being able to understand structural representations, functional groups and reactivity, 3-dimensional structure and stereochemistry, the terminology associated with organic chemistry, and the relevance of organic chemistry in society.

Grading: Grading will be based on three hourly mid-term exams (100 pts each, 60%), a comprehensive final exam (125 pts, 25%), homework (scaled to 50 pts, 10%) and participation in class and on-line assessments and activities (scaled to 25 pts, 5%). Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

A 85-100% B 75-84% C 60-74% D 45-59% F <45%

Exams: Three hourly exams and a comprehensive final exam will be given on the dates specified in the attached schedule. There will be no make-up exams without prior approval of the instructor and only for official university sanctioned absences or emergencies. If you must miss an exam due to a scheduled university function (athletic event, etc.), the instructor must be notified at least one week before the exam date. An alternative exam will only be given prior to the scheduled exam date. No make up exams will be given after a scheduled exam date. Extraordinary circumstances (death, hospitalization, etc.) will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please note: Hats, Cell Phones, Calculators and PDA’s or any other device capable of storing electronic notes are prohibited during examinations.

Quizzes: Six short quizzes (21 points each) will be given throughout the semester. These quizzes will be unannounced and can occur at any time. They are not directly added to your grade total for this course, however, they can be beneficial. Quizzes can only help your grade, not hurt it. The best 5 quizzes out of the 6 will be totaled. This total will replace your lowest mid-term exam score if it is higher. Under no circumstances will there be any makeup quizzes. It is in your best interest to attend class and take all quizzes. Even if the points will not help your grade, it is a good exercise to practice organic problems. Quiz answers will be posted on the class web page.

Homework: This course will use the on-line homework system from Wiley Plus. Homework will be assigned for each chapter. The total points earned doing homework will be factored as 10% of your semester grade. More information about the homework will be provided as we get the on-line system set up. You should have received an access code for the on-line learning system and ebook with the purchase of your textbook or you may purchase the ebook with access to the on-line homework system from Wiley.

Course Activities and Videos: This class will employ a flipped classroom structure. Course content in the form of on-line work and class videos on topics will be made available. Students will be responsible for viewing the videos and working on the course content outside of class prior to discussions in class. Classes will be focussed on problem solving and lectures focussed on the topics that are most relevant and students have questions about. In order for this to be most effective for your learning, students should not fall behind in the work outside of class. A variety of in-class activities will be done and counted for 5% of your grade.

Learning Tips: Organic chemistry is not hard, but it does take a lot of hard independent work. The most important thing you can do to be successful in this class is to attend every class, stay current and keep up. Unfortunately, Organic Chemistry is a broad field with lots of new concepts for you to learn. The material comes very fast and there’s really not much I can do other than try to explain the material in a simple and understandable fashion. It just isn’t possible to cram for organic chemistry on the night before an exam. Believe me when I tell you that studying an hour or two everyday will be much better than studying for 12 hours on a weekend. It is not easy to absorb all the material in one sitting, and a daily dose will make comprehension much easier. It will take effort on your part to learn organic chemistry.

Learning organic chemistry is very much like learning a foreign language. You need to learn the vocabulary in terms of names, structures, and types of functional groups. You also need to learn the rules of grammar. For example, how an alcohol will react with a halide, etc. Once you learn certain rules, they can be applied to many different reactions. Thus you can construct chemical sentences. There will be a certain amount of memorization required, however, because of the vastness of the subject, learning general trends and rules will be most helpful. Here are some suggestions to help you be successful: Read the chapter ahead before coming to class; Ask questions; Rewrite your notes after every class; Do problems as many times as necessary to understand the material; Use the study guide but try to answer problems before looking up the answers first; Use flash cards to help learn structures, names and reactions; Find a friend or form a study group; Buy a set of molecular models; Utilize TA office hours.

Special Needs: All students have the right to an environment that is conducive for learning. Any students who need special accommodations for learning or who have special needs are invited to share these concerns or requests with the instructor as soon as possible.

Academic Responsibility: It is assumed that students at NDSU have the integrity to complete examinations on their own. I will provide an examination environment that discourages temptation otherwise. Any student who is found to have acted dishonestly on an exam will receive an F for that exam or depending on the circumstances, an F for the course. A second infraction will result in an automatic F for the course. Please note that a single infraction of academic responsibility could be grounds for expulsion from the university. The policy applied is that of the Code of Academic Responsibility and Conduct as outlined in NDSU University Senate Policy, Section 335: Code of Academic Responsibility and Conduct (

Tentative Class Schedule (subject to change)

Chapter 1 Covalent Bonding and Shapes of Molecules Aug 27, 29
Chapter 2 Acids and Bases Sep 3, 5
Chapter 3 Alkanes and Cycloalkanes Sep 10, 12, 17
Chapter 4 Alkenes and Alkynes Sep 19, 24
Exam 1 Thursday, Sep 26 – Chapters 1-4  
Chapter 5 Reactions of Alkenes and Alkynes Oct 1, 3, 8
Chapter 6 Chirality: The Handedness of Molecules Oct 10, 15
Chapter 7 Haloalkanes Oct 17, 22
Exam 2 Thursday, Oct 24 – Chapters 5-7  
Chapter 8 Alcohols, Ethers and Thiols Oct 29, 31
Chapter 9 Benzene and Its Derivatives Nov 5, 7, 12
Chapter 10 Amines Nov 14, 19
Exam 3 Thursday, Nov 21 – Chapters 8-10  
Chapter 12 Aldehydes and Ketones Nov 26, Dec 3
Chapter 13 Carboxylic Acids Dec 5, 10
Chapter 14 Functional Derivatives of Carboxylic Acids Dec 12
Final Exam Thursday, Dec 19 – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm  

Holidays: Nov 28 – Thanksgiving