General Chemistry: Concept Development and Application - Rice University



Important information

  • Course
  • Online

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Important information

Where and when

Starts Location
12 June 2016

What you'll learn on the course

IT Development

Course programme

This course will cover the topics of a full year, two semester General Chemistry course. We will use a free on-line textbook, Concept Development Studies in Chemistry, available via Rice’s Connexions project. The fundamental concepts in the course will be introduced via the Concept Development Approach developed at Rice University. In this approach, we will develop the concepts you need to know from experimental observations and scientific reasoning rather than simply telling you the concepts and then asking you to simply memorize or apply them. So why use this approach? One reason is that most of us are inductive learners, meaning that we like to make specific observations and then generalize from there. Many of the most significant concepts in Chemistry are counter-intuitive. When we see where those concepts come from, we can more readily accept them, explain them, and apply them. A second reason is that scientific reasoning in general and Chemistry reasoning in particular are inductive processes. This Concept Development approach illustrates those reasoning processes. A third reason is that this is simply more interesting! The structure and reactions of matter are fascinating puzzles to be solved by observation and reasoning. It is more fun intellectually when we can solve those puzzles together, rather than simply have the answers to the riddles revealed at the outset. Recommended Background: The class can be taken by someone with no prior experience in chemistry. However, some prior familiarity with the basics of chemistry is desirable as we will cover some elements only briefly. For example, a prior high school chemistry class would be helpful. Suggested Readings: Readings will be assigned from the on-line textbook “Concept Development Studies in Chemistry”, available via Rice’s Connexions project. In addition, we will suggest readings from any of the standard textbooks in General Chemistry. A particularly good free on-line resource is Dickerson, Gray, and Haight, "Chemical Principles, 3rd Edition". Links to these two texts will be available in the Introduction module.Online learning plays a key role in lifelong learning. In fact, a recent report by the United States Department of Education found that "the courses that include online education (either completely virtual or blended learning) produce, on average, much stronger learning outcomes for students courses They are conducted exclusively in person. Based on an approach developed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, the mastery learning helps students to fully understand a subject before moving on to a more advanced. In Coursera, usually we give an answer immediately to the concepts that the student does not understand feedback. In many cases, we offer random versions of assessments for the student to return to school and retrying until mastered the concept.