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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 20 (2015) pp 335-341

Positive Student Responses to Embedding a Student-Chosen Research Project into a Sophomore Organic Chemistry Lab

Michael A. Christiansen*,†, John M. Weber, Alyssa B. Sam, and Trish A. Kingsford

Utah State University, Uintah Basin Regional Campus, 320 North Aggie Blvd, Vernal, UT, 84078,; Utah State University Eastern, 451 East 400 North, Price, UT, 84501
Received September 23, 2015. Accepted December 11, 2015.

Published: 22 December 2015

Abstract. Undergraduate research opportunities (UROs) have positive effects across all demographic lines. Understandably, it is difficult to provide UROs to every interested student. One means of expanding them may be to restructure undergraduate lab courses to include research projects. Although this has been done in various ways over the past two decades, within the realm of sophomore organic chemistry labs, only two articles feature course structures where research projects were chosen, designed, and carried out by the students, with minimal input from the instructor. In this article we disclose such a design, which differs from our earlier report because the URO project was spread over two semesters, instead of just one. We also share anonymous student feedback, which was highly positive and included recommendations from all participants that the course structure be continued in future years. We further summarize student-surveyed confidence gains in fundamental organic techniques, students’ average performance on a normalized ACS exam, project cost, and limitations.

Key Words: In the Classroom; organic chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: m.christiansen@usu.ed)

Article in PDF format (117 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The Supporting Materials include a detailed cost breakdown, full copies of student evaluations, course syllabi and schedules, and complete experimental details (including spectra), written with sufficient clarity to be employable in synthetic lab courses, for preparing products 3 and 4. (876 KB)

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