Typical organic chemistry textbooks are difficult for students and teachers alike.
- Most organic chemistry textbooks don't have a central take-home message in any given chapter.
- Students are generally shown a few reactions that could be used by a professional organic chemist. A disjointed collection of unrelated theories (carbocations, radicals, cyclic ions, carbanions, resonance, shifts, etc.) are tossed in to explain the specific reactions.
- Typical teaching methods require students to be drilled until they have memorized and successfully spit back the same answers to those same problems.
Many chemistry professors found that the traditional method was unsatisfying to teach their students, so we surveyed them. We asked professors what they want students to know.
These are the most significant concepts and skills professors want students to learn, retain and apply:
- analyze the properties of reactants and intermediates.
- draw and interpret reaction mechanism arrows.
- determine relative stabilities of molecules.
- stabilize a carbocation, carbon radical, and carbanion.
- accurately draw resonance structures.
- determine the best leaving group.
- apply information (including how to apply information to new situations).
- integrate various concepts.
- think through a problem.