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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 9 Issue 2 (2004) pp 108-121

Physical Chemistry: A Curriculum for 2004 and Beyond

Theresa Julia Zielinski*, and Richard W. Schwenz

Department of Chemistry, Medical Technology, and Physics, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, 07764, and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, 80639,

Published online: 9 March 2004

Abstract. Physical chemistry education combines the content of physical chemistry with pedagogical insights on teaching. Creative tension results from intertwining the abstract nature of the content with how to teach and assess the content within the time constraints of a curriculum. In this paper we address what physical chemistry content needs to be included in lecture and laboratory, what education research suggests about how students learn, and what presentation methods appear to help increase student knowledge. The incorporation of technological tools into the curriculum is discussed as a means to increase student conceptual understanding. We envision a changed physical chemistry class structure focused on the student with the instructor using a wide range of instructional tools including traditional lecture, cooperative assignments, computer software, modern concept-based laboratories, and an assessment scheme based on student learning.

Key Words: Of Special Interest; physical chemistry; pedagogy

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: April 1, 2004

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