A Student's Sample Tour of Organic Chemistry Class

Chem 332, Winter 1997 - Professor Carl C. Wamser

Chapter 10 - Carboxyl Derivatives

(underlined items are web pages - real links in the web version of this tour)

About this file:

This is meant to give an overview of the various aspects of technology used in this course. It was specifically written for people who are not currently in the course. On the other hand, students in the class may find it useful to be reminded of all the course components that are available to them.

The tour is written from the point of a view of a hypothetical student in the class who takes advantage of all the technological aspects while learning the material from one particular chapter.


Dr. Wamser has already warned us that this is the biggest and most complex chapter in the whole course. So first I read the chapter to find out what's so big and complex. Yow! - there are about six families of compounds in this chapter, where before each chapter was one family. I need the Chapter 10 Notes to get a grip on how to organize all this and find out what Dr. Wamser thinks is most important in here. Print out the notes to bring them to class.


In class, Dr. Wamser projects the notes from the web, answering questions and adding new examples, which I can write in the margins. He also shows 3-D animations from ChemTV, which tie together the relationships between all the different families and shows their similarities in structure and reactivity. Hmmm, maybe I should try to find $50 to buy the ChemTV CD/ROM from the bookstore. He also uses Organic Reaction Mechanisms to illustrate how reactions occur a step at a time. Some students have bought that program from the bookstore ($40), but I know I can use it in the Learning Lab for free.


Picked up the Chapter 10 Homework in class yesterday (I could have downloaded it), and I just got started on it. Made a list of the things I don't understand from the chapter and in the homework. Check into the Learning Lab and find that two of the reactions I didn't understand are covered in Organic Reaction Mechanisms, so I go over and over the steps and eventually I get it. While I'm there, I try a few questions related to this chapter in the Organic Nomenclature program. At home, I log onto my e-mail to see if anything interesting has been posted to the Class Discussion List. Just one question was sent in yesterday and Dr. Wamser's answer is also there. But it didn't cover any of my questions, so I collect the questions I still have and send them to the list. I do have an e-mail from Dr. Wamser with my Extra Credit Molecule for this week. It's caffeine - does he really assign these randomly?.


This is practice day, so there's a problem projected on the screen even before class starts. One of the people I usually work with is already here, so we start talking about the problem and how we handled the homework. Dr. Wamser wanders around the room and answers questions for several minutes as we work in our groups. Then we go over the problem together and the different ways we could have approached it. Dr. Wamser puts up the web page on Chapter 10 Skills and points out the new things we should learn to do as we go through this chapter. Then we get back to more Practice Exercises, which we do in groups.


Two of my questions from Tuesday were covered in class, but I log in to see what Dr. Wamser had to say about my questions on the list. All are answered OK, and there are a few other questions from students that made me realize I had missed some issues. There were also a few more of those comments about how tough this course is. Dr. Wamser is amazingly patient - maybe someone should tell him that we really appreciate all this technology stuff .... naah! I need to finish the homework and see if he's posted the Homework Answers on the web yet. Check the What's New page and the Chapter 10 page - that reminds me that I can get a copy of last year's Chapter 10 Quiz to prep myself.


This is applications day, which usually means we catch up with whatever we need more time on. Dr. Wamser goes over the homework answers, the practice exercises we didn't finish last time, and answers questions. He shows a ChemTV movie that shows how these compounds and reactions have biological relevance.


I got all the information about the structure and properties of caffeine (nice to know a little about the chemistry behind my Starbuck's habit). I e-mail it back to beat the Monday 8 am deadline - that's worth 2 points and I'll get another molecule next week. Now it's time to seriously study for the quiz on Chapter 10 on Monday. Try last year's quiz under simulated quiz conditions (15 minutes, with the stereo and TV off). Check the quiz answers on the web. Download Chapter 11 Notes while I'm there. Surf a few more web sites to avoid studying, but actually I find some cool sites with more organic chemistry class stuff under the WEB-sters' Organic Chemistry bookmark. Get back to studying by reviewing the Skills, Homework, and Practice web pages. I'm starting to feel like I know what questions he's likely to ask.