Chemistry and many other technical disciplines are taught from a problem-solving approach. Lots of practice is required to build a solid foundation of skills for using knowledge to solve scientific problems. This course provides immediate feedback so that students can learn problem-solving skills through repeated attempts without having to wait long periods of time for their assignments to be graded by human instructors.
The quizzes presented here are designed to encourage students to read and understand the concepts. The questions are based on material presented in most introductory General Chemistry textbooks. The question items have straightforward answers not requiring detailed calculations.
Questions are presented in several different formats including multiple choice, true/false, checkbox, fill-in-the-blank, and numeric answers. Each quiz consists of 10 questions drawn at random from a database containing many more questions. In the process of taking several quizzes to improve their scores, students will likely encounter some questions repeated from earlier quizzes; however, it is unlikely that any two quizzes will contain exactly the same set of questions in the same order.
By assigning quizzes to be completed prior to the lecture, instructors can be assured that their students have some exposure to the material. This allows for more discussion, dialog and engagement in the classroom, and it makes learning more fun (really!).
A series of 10-minute video lectures on a variety of General Chemistry topics is available. The videos are designed to reinforce the main points presented in many textbooks.
The homework assignments are designed to give students practice in solving quantitative problems having numeric answers. Each student can download the assignment, work the problems and submit the answers online. Answers are judged to be correct if the solution agrees with the solution found in the database to within a specified tolerance (indicated for each problem).
For many problems, answers must be expressed with the appropriate number of significant figures. The site informs students which answers are correct, so that they can rework incorrectly solved problems and resubmit the answers. Each problem is based on a template that draws parameters at random, so the correct answer is different for each student. This makes them suitable for collaboration and working in groups, because even though the group may work to find a correct algorithm for solving a problem, each student will have to use the algorithm to find the detailed solution to his or her own problem.
Students can take timed practice exams that draw questions from any group of 3 or more topics. Each exam is designed to take 60 minutes or less to complete, and includes a selection of 10 quiz questions worth 2 points each, 5 of the easier homework problems at 10 points each, and 2 more challenging homework problems worth 15 points each. The scores on each exam are dis-aggregated by topic to reveal the student’s areas of strength and weakness. Practice exams may be repeated as often as desired. Questions are drawn at random from the database, and the numeric questions are parameterized, making it extremely unlikely that a student will ever get two identical practice exams.