Department Information

Goals & Objectives

Our goal was to revise the scope, content and pedagogy for one of our existing general chemistry course sequences, Chemistry 124 and 125 (General Chemistry for the Engineering Disciplines). As we progressed, the project evolved into an integrated format, that is, a physical space wherein laboratory and lecture are coalesced into a total learning environment. The hypothesis was that a technologically and topically current pedagogy will be equal, if not superior, to the conventional lecture-laboratory mode in general chemistry. The facility also presents a prototype for the design of modern teaching facilities in a proposed molecular sciences building to be constructed within the next decade.

Our goal is to present the content of chemistry set in a current and relevant context for engineers. As this is a support course taken usually in the first year, we also have goals related to the improvement of skill levels pertaining to the use of technology and communication. We add to this a conscious effort to foster attitudes of lifelong learning and appreciation for chemistry as a core of knowledge. So our goals fall into 3 areas: CONTENT, SKILLS and ATTITUDES.

We make the following information available to our students through our web pages.

Chemistry 124

Chemistry is the central science that can be related to all other fields of science and technology. Chemists are driven to understand the fundamental behavior of matter in terms of its properties and behavior. Chemicals shape, propel, protect, feed, cure, and stimulate us. You are taking chemistry because it is a basis for technology and because the techniques of chemical experimentation represent objective empiricism.

There are four interrelated content areas for Chemistry 124:

Content

Energy
Structure of the Atom
Properties of Elements & Compounds
Nature of Materials

By the end of this quarter you should be able to:

  • Relate the concepts of thermochemistry to the transitions between the states of matter and to chemical reactions
  • Interrelate the study of light to the nature of the atom
  • Correlate the atomic structure of an element to its physical and chemical properties
  • Describe how atoms are held together in compounds
  • Formulate a model of the solid state which includes compounds as well as metals, insulators, semiconductors, and superconductors
  • Understand the forces which hold molecules to one another and how these forces affect the physical properties of the material
  • Begin to relate the principles learned in chemistry to your chosen area of study

 

There is more to learning than just the content. We are also expanding your skills and affecting your attitudes. The skills for development are:

Algorithmic (math) problem solving

 

Skills

Concept analysis and construction
Writing objective reports and statements
Computer/web literacy
Use of laboratory equipment/safety

By the end of this quarter you will have experience with:

  • Use of the PowerPC for data acquisition and processing plus composition
  • Several software programs: MSWord & Excel, Datalogger & Graphical Analysis
  • Access to Web-based learning
  • E-mail, collaborative learning, self-paced instruction
  • Major instruments used in chemical analysis such as FT-IR and gas chromatography

 

Attitudes

Yes, we are aware that you are not a chemistry or biochemistry major
This core course is a requirement for your major for a reason
Yes, you are expected to learn a lot more than how to solve mathematical problems
The course requires your attention and best efforts

 

Expectations

As partners in learning, we should establish some mutual expectations of each other.

 
My Responsibilities Your Responsibilities
A course syllabus Regular class attendance (in mind as well as body)
A detailed study guide Currency in reading the textbook and doing the assignments
Quizzes and exams to guide & asses your learning Visitations to office hours and e-mail communications either for help or for confirmation of your work
Office hours and e-mail access to help you master the material Timely completion of assignments
Respect for each person in the class Respect for me, your colleagues and yourself
A fair assessment of your mastery of concepts discussed Integrity

 

Chemistry 125

Chemistry 125 is a continuation of the topics covered in Chemistry 124 and therefore you will be expected to know and review previous topics on your own. Based upon what you have learned concerning atomic theory, thermochemistry, the solid state, molecular structure, and periodic properties, we will consider the physical states of matter, chemical reactivity, and nuclear chemistry.

There are broad and interrelated content areas for Chemistry 125:

 Content

 The nature of chemical reactions
 Types of chemical reactions

By the end of this quarter you should be able to:

  • Understand the thermodynamic and kinetic forces which drive chemical reactions
  • Comprehend the principles governing the rates of chemical reactions and calculate, interpret and apply those rates and constants to chemical phenomena
  • Apply kinetic molecular theory to a consideration of dynamic equilibria
  • Extend equilibrium considerations to a study of acids and bases
  • Understand and use the concept of pH
  • Have the ability to balance oxidation-reduction equations and use these relationships to gain a qualitative and quantitative appreciation of electrochemical cells and corrosion
  • Know the factors leading to changes in atomic structure through the spontaneous and induced modifications of atomic nuclei

There is more to learning than just the content. We are also expanding your skills and affecting your attitudes.

The skills for development are:

Problem solving as applied to kinetics and equilibrium

 Skills

Concept analysis and construction

Further development of writing proficiency

Enhancement of computer literacy skills

Proficiency in performing quantitative chemical analysis

 Attitudes

Most of all you must be willing to apply the concepts you have learned in these two quarters of general chemistry to your major field of study. You must also be able to work together with your peers in order to achieve goals be they in lecture or in the laboratory.

 

Course Expectations

In order to succeed in Chem 125 you must take responsibility for your learning experience. I am here to direct and facilitate that process. I cannot learn for you. In my experience those students who do well in chemistry have incorporated the following into their work ethic:

  • Regular class attendance
  • Keeping up with text readings and problem-solving
  • Preparing well for experiments, quizzes and exams
  • Asking questions in class, during lab work, outside of class
  • Using the instructor's office hours as well as e-mail for help or confirmation of concepts and other work
  • Correlating experimental procedures and results with theory
  • Exhibiting integrity with themselves, their colleagues, and their instructors