I'm going to put a picture of my current CHEM 2424 class here.
Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry
I have been teaching this sophomore-level inorganic chemistry course (CHEM 2424) for chemistry majors since 1996. The following themes are emphasized:
- The rocky marriage of descriptive knowledge and theoretical understanding,
- The need to embrace multiple concepts (such as bonding models) at the same time,
- The value of trends and of exceptions to trends,
- The tremendous breadth of application of inorganic chemistry.
The course uses the textbook "Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry" by Rayner-Canham and Overton. Four two-hour exams are given on Thursday evenings throughout the semester, plus a fifth two-hour exam during Finals Week. Extensive homework is also assigned but is not collected for grading.
Since 1997, I have been teaching General Chemistry (non-majors) in either the fall (CHEM 1035) or spring (CHEM 1036) semesters most years. Recently I have been teaching the 8:00 AM section of the fall semester course for approximately 400 students, in a large lecture theater on the Virginia Tech central campus. The course uses the textbook "Chemistry" by Silberberg. My teaching style for this course is relatively traditional, with a few modern twists:
- Lectures delivered by PowerPoint using a Tablet PC,
- Partially completed lecture notes provided to students in advance,
- All key problem types solved in class with detailed planning steps and, where appropriate, numerical solutions,
- Traditional textbook-based homework supplemented by publisher's online tool (McGraw Hill's ChemSkill Builder),
- Four hour-exams plus a comprehensive final exam,
- Office hours are provided, plus one review session per week, and
- All General Chemistry students have access to the Chemistry Learning Center (CLC)
From 2002 to 2005, I taught CHEM 6434, a graduate course in Organometallic Chemistry. The course uses Crabtree's textbook, "Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals," which is excellent in every respect except that, as the title proudly advertises, it does not offer any treatment of the main group. I have developed a set of course notes that now spans nearly 500 PowerPoint slides. These notes offer the following:
- Basic overview of bonding and electron-counting ideas needed in the course.,
- Strong survey treatment of main-group organometallic chemistry,
- In-depth coverage of all major topics of transition-metal organometallic chemistry,
- Extensive appeal to crystallographic molecular structural data,
- Numerous complex mechanistic cycles,
- Applications to organic synthesis and polymerization catalysis,
- Modern frontiers including organo-f-element chemistry.
- Photos of the heroes of organometallic chemistry.
Physical Methods in Inorganic Chemistry
In the Spring semesters of even-numbered years, the inorganic chemistry faculty at VT offers a team-taught course in physical methods. My three-week portion of the course covers NMR spectroscopy and features:
- Magnetization-vector treatment of transient NMR
- Optimization of experimental parameters,
- Dynamic NMR spectroscopy (theory and practice),
- Multinuclear NMR
- Computer simulation of non-first-order and dynamic spin systems.
This section does not cover 2D NMR or interpretation of spectra for the purpose of characterizing complex organic compounds. The latter subject is taken up in one of our other graduate courses, CHEM 5524 (Molecular Structure Determination).