Tentative Syllabus

for a PDF copy of the full document with course schedule, CLICK HERE

Required Text: “Organic Chemistry” Fifth Edition, J. McMurry bundled with “Study Guide and Solutions Manual for McMurry’s Organic Chemistry” Fifth Edition, S. McMurry.
Optional: Darling Molecular Models available in the Varsity Mart - Highly Recommended!

INTRODUCTION: This course is designed to explore in more details the specifics of the reactivity of various functional groups. The concepts learned in Chem 341 will be reitterated throughout the course. We will learn spectroscopic techniques for characterization of organic functional groups. The reactivity of conjugated alkenes and aromatic compounds will be discussed. The chemistry of alcohols, carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acid derivatives, and biomolecules will be a large part of the class. We will also learn how to carry out multistep organic syntheses.

GRADING: Grading will be based on a 500 point scale (3 - 100 point exams or 2 - 100 point exams and 5 - 20 point quizzes, and a 200 point comprehensive final exam). Letter grades will be assigned according to the following percentiles (subject to change):

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

HOMEWORK: Homework is not required for this course. However, suggested problems will be announced for each chapter. You are strongly urged to work through the suggested problems as many times as it takes to become proficient with the material. This will take a lot of work on your part, but it will be key to your success in this class.

EXAMS: Three hourly exams (100 points) and a comprehensive final exam (200 points) will be given on the dates specified in the attached schedule. There will be no make-up exams without prior approval of the instructor. If you must miss an exam due to a scheduled university function (athletic event, etc.), the instructor must be notified at least two weeks before the exam date. An alternative exam will only be given prior to the scheduled exam date. Absolutely 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.

QUIZZES: Six short quizzes (20 points) 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 hourly exam score if it is higher. Under no circumstances will there be any makeup quizzes. Quiz answers will be posted on the class web page.

LEARNING TIPS: Organic chemistry is not hard, but it does take a lot of work. The most important thing you can do to be successful in this class is to stay current and keep up. 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.
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:

Read the chapter ahead before coming to class.
Ask questions.
Rewrite your notes after every class.
Do the suggested problems as many times as it takes to understand the material, then try the other problems in your text.
Use the Study Guide and Solutions Manual - but try to understand the problems without looking at the answers first.
Use flash cards to help learn structures, names, and reactions.
Find a friend or group of students to study with.
Buy a set of molecular models.
Utilize instructor and TA office hours.



since 01/13/2003

© 2001-2002 Gregory R. Cook, Department of Chemistry
North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58105

Supported by a Career Award from the National Science Foundation.