Welcome to CH101 General Chemistry. This is the first semester of a year-long course intended primarily for science majors, pre-medical students, engineering students who require a one-year course, and other interested students.
The course is given by Professors Abrams (section A4; SCI/270B), Dill (sections A1; SCI/450), and Yang (section A2; PHO/829). Professor Ling will run problem-solving sessions. Professor Golger (SCI/270C) is the course coordinator and is in charge of the laboratory portion of CH101 as well as section scheduling.
Discussion sections are led by a talented team of discussion leaders (graduate students, lecturers, and post-doctoral faculty fellows) with the support of undergraduate learning assistants.
All course questions are answered on the Piazza online discussion forum. Sign up for Piazza at
All of us teaching the course follow this forum and so this is the the way to get your questions about the course answered and to help your classmates answer theirs. If you have questions of a personal or private nature, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org We ask that you please do not email course staff individually.
The following materials are all available at the Barnes & Noble @ Boston University.
The course consists of five required components:
There are also three completely optional components of CH101:
Students are required to attend the sections for which they are registered. If you are registered for a section that conflicts with your schedule, please immediately correct your schedule so that you are able to attend all required sections.
Questions about scheduling should be addressed directly to Professor Golger.
The quiz schedule includes the dates and topics of the quizzes. There will be a total of eleven quizzes, and the eight best quizzes will count towards your course grade. The quizzes will be given remotely on Monday evenings at 6:30pm via Gradescope and they will last around 30 minutes. The topics of each quiz will be posted during the preceding week.
The date and time of the final exam will be announced by the registrar in the early part of the fall semester. The final exam will only be given at that time.
We have designed the course as an introduction to general chemistry that integrates laboratory explorations with the development of the analytical tools necessary to understand and guide those explorations.
Our goal is to help you share in our excitement for and the wonder of science, to challenge you to excel, to give you a sense of empowerment about science, and to encourage you to continue study in scienceand hopefully chemistry. We intend to focus especially on what are the core ideas of chemistry.
In this semester we cover McQuarrie et al., chapters 1 through 14.
The corresponding schedule lecture topics and assigned problems is here.
The detailed schedule of the remote laboratory component of CH101 is here.
The laboratory part of the course will let you see the chemical principles and processes in action (though virtually). It will also give you experience with some of the methods scientists use to do chemical research.
Additionally, there will be optional in-person lab experiences. Details about these experiences will be available in the first weeks of the semester.
The course grade is based on your overall course score; we do not assign letter grades to quizzes, labs, or the final exam. The components of the overall score are shown below.
|Quizzes (lowest three scores of the eleven quizzes will be dropped)||50%|
|Lecture participation based on clicker responses||10%|
Course grades are assigned based on the distribution overall scores at the end of the course. The following (tentative) grading scheme will be used to assign course grades based on your score in the course. Please note that we reserve the right to lower cutoff numbers (making achieving a grade easier) but we will not raise them. However, please do not count on them changing.
After quizzes 3, 6, 9, and 11 we will provide the distribution of overall course scores so far, on a 1000-point scale, and your individual score so far. These overall scores so far will take into account all of the scores on the work completed so far (quizzes, labs, and participation). In this way, you will have a measure of how you are doing at that point in the course.
Please note that the overall score so far will not take in account dropping of the lowest quiz scores, the lowest lab, or absences from lectures or discussion. This will all be done only at the end of the semester.
No makeup quizzes will be given. A missed quiz counts as 0; the three lowest quiz scores will be dropped. A missed virtual lab counts as 0; the lowest lab score will be dropped. If, due to unusual circumstances, such as a documented prolonged illness, you miss more than one lab, please contact Professor Golger (email@example.com) as soon as possible so that special arrangements can be made to catch up with your work.
Regrades on quizzes: To ensure fairness, all quizzes are graded with same rubric, so requests for additional credit for incorrect answers cannot be entertained.
Learning chemistry — the molecular basis for life — is a very rewarding endeavor, but also one that requires persistence, diligence, and hard work. The single most important thing you can do is to diligently work out answers to as many problems in the textbook as you can. At a minimum, you must complete the assigned problems, recording your work in your problem notebook.
Participation and engagement in the classes (which counts for 15% of your course grade) is a good start towards your goals of learning chemistry, but it will also be crucial that you plan to spend a significant amount of time outside of class time. In general, instructors recommend that you spend 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour of instructional time. That means approximately 8-12 hours per week over and above the scheduled class contact hours.
If you are willing to devote this time, and you spend it wisely and effectively, you will be able to perform your best. The course teaching staff will hold office hours throughout each week. These office hours are a great place to work on problems with the support of instructors and peers. You never need an appointment to attend an office hour, and all students are invited and welcome to all of the scheduled hours. The schedule of office hours is here.
Problem-solving is at the heart of mastering chemistry. Professor Ling will run optional problem-solving sessions each week that are geared towards helping students master the material by working through assigned homework problems and more. The problem solving sessions are listed on the detailed schedule here.
A note about using the optional solutions manual: Having access to the full solutions for problems can be helpful if used properly, but if used improperly these solutions can have the opposite of the desired effect. It is important to remember that the solutions should be used as a last resort only. If you struggle to work through a problem, we recommend that you do not go directly to the solutions. Instead, we suggest that you do the following: First, re-read the corresponding section of the book; then look at similar worked examples in the text, finally, collaborate with your study group and attend an office hours. If you find that you are regularly needing to read solutions to problems in the solutions please come speak with an instructor during an office hour.
As described below, we require that you abide by not using electronic communication during lectures, discussion, lab lectures, lab session, quizzes, and the final exam; that you adhere to the Academic Conduct Code; that you utilize the online Piazza discussion forum for your questions (and to help answers you classmates questions). Also described are our absence policy, the University policy on religious observances, the role of the Office of Disability and Access Services, and the policy on copyright.
Recent studies have shown that taking notes with laptops or having your cellphone out in class leads to lower performance by students in classes and on quizzes and exams. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you take notes using the traditional pen and paper mode.
Learning remotely on Zoom makes this more complicated. We highly recommend closing all applications on your computer, except for Zoom, and taking notes in a notebook. This is the best way to make sure that you don't get distracted during class and are able to get the most out of your time.
All of the lectures, though live, will be recorded and posted after the lecture. This means that you can take the lecture time to take notes, solve problems, answer questions, and ask questions. If you miss something, you will always be able to go back and re-watch that part of lecture.
Each week, all students will participate in their scheduled discussion section. Each discussion will have two main parts: (1) a large group discussion for 15-20 minutes and (2) small group problem solving (30-35 minutes). During the small group work, students will work in groups in breakout rooms (4-5 students per breakout room) on problem solving (selected book problems and other problems), interactive exercises, and class-wide discussions. The discussion leader (TF) and undergraduate learning assistant (LA) will be facilitators and mentors in discussion, working with groups to help them on their work.
Students are expected to arrive on time and to actively participate in all of the lecture and discussion sections. A portion of your course grade (5%) will be awarded based on your discussion work, including (on-time) attendance and engagement (in group work and class-wide exercises) in discussion. The minimum assigned problems are posted here.
In addition to traditional lecture presentations, lecture time will also be comprised of interactive individual and group-based problem solving. Students will use Turning Technologies Mobile Responses to answer questions in class (you do not need to purchase a physical clicker for CH101 in Fall 2020). A portion of your course grade (10%) will be awarded based on your participation in lecture through TurningPoint.
All students at Boston University are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty and integrity. The Chemistry Department treats cheating with zero tolerance. Here, cheating refers to any violation of the student academic conduct code. There are no small infractions. All instances of misconduct will be reported to the Dean's office. It is the responsibility of every student to be aware of the Academic Conduct Code’s contents and to abide by its provisions, as detailed at:
Students at Boston University are required to abide by all of regulations regarding academic integrity and conduct, including the proper use of technology and digital resources. Course materials are provided by faculty for your personal use in the course only. Any other use of these materials including, but not limited to, posting of materials online in forums or websites, is a copyright violation and a violation of the academic conduct code. Additionally, materials submitted for course credit (papers, exams, etc.) are similarly not permitted to be used or posted.
Attendance at all lectures, discussions, and labs is mandatory. Students must attend their assigned lecture, discussion, and lab, and are expected to arrive on-time. Lecture and discussion participation and engagement will count for 15% of your course grade.
Your participation grade will be based on your engagement, prompt attendance, and contributions in lecture and discussion. It is completely understandable that some students may miss a lecture, lab lecture, or discussion due to unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, given the circumstances in Fall 2020 (and the potential for illnesses or internet connectivity issues), we will make the following adjustments for all students in CH101:
In this way, all students will be able to succeed in the course. Missed classes due to religious observances will never affect your score adversely.
If you become ill, we require that you follow the protocols mandated by the University under those circumstances. The course attendance and engagement policies already reflect substantial flexibility to allow for absences of short to moderate length due to illness. Please make sure to contact your instructor immediately (firstname.lastname@example.org) about any prolonged absences that are not already covered by the course absence policy (above). In such cases, we will work with the CAS Dean's office to determine the best course of action for any given student.
Absences for documented religious observances will be excused according to the specifications of the University Policy on Religious Observance. Please make sure to communicate about religious observances as far in advance as possible (and no later than one week before the observance, per university policy) so that accommodations can be made.
The Office of Disability and Access Services (25 Buick street, Suite 300) is responsible for assisting students with disabilities. If you have a disability, you are strongly encouraged to register with this office. Lecture hall and discussion rooms are accessible and ADA compliant.
Learning and testing accommodation: Boston University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you are a student who needs academic accommodations because of a documented disability, you must present your letter of accommodation from the Office of Disability and Access Services directly to Professor Golger as soon as possible. If you have questions about documenting a disability or requesting academic accommodations, contact the Office of Disability and Access Services. Letters of accommodations should be presented as soon as possible to ensure that student needs are addressed from the start of the course. Instructors are not able to provide accommodations without documentation from Boston University's Office of Disability and Access Services.
The syllabus, course descriptions, lab manual, and all handouts created for this course, and all class lectures, are copyrighted by the course instructors. The materials and lectures may not be reproduced in any form or otherwise copied, displayed or distributed, nor should works derived from them be reproduced, copied, displayed or distributed without the written permission of the instructors. Infringement of the copyright in these materials, including any sale or commercial use of notes, summaries, outlines or other reproductions of lectures, constitutes a violation of the copyright laws and is prohibited. Please note in particular that distributing, receiving, selling, or buying class notes, lecture notes or summaries, lab reports or related materials, or similar materials both violates copyright and interferes with the academic mission of the College, and is therefore prohibited in this class and will be considered a violation of the student code of responsibility that is subject to academic sanctions.
We are all in this together, and we are committed to offering the best learning experience possible given the need for safety. To do this, we need your help. We must all be responsible and respectful. Faculty, staff, and teaching fellows will wear masks during class and other meetings to protect you and themselves; and we expect you to do the same. If you show up without a mask, you will be asked to leave. If you refuse, the class or meeting will be dismissed in order to protect everyone. We also require that you follow the safety practices recommended by the CDC outside the classroom, including all state and university guidelines regarding sheltering in place while feeling ill, testing, quarantining, social contacts, and gatherings. If you cannot follow these guidelines, be responsible and respectful: do not show up for in-person learning. Do not put your classmates, staff, and instructors in danger. Do your learning remotely to make it possible for us to safely offer in-person learning to others.
The University has announced that the fall semester will proceed as scheduled after the Fall 2020 Thanksgiving break. In order to give our students the greatest flexibility and ability to plan, the Chemistry department has decided all aspects of CH101 will be fully remote after Thanksgiving.
If you are experiencing difficulty, please contact your course instructor without delay. During the semester we will provide each student with an updated overall course score so far, on a 1000-point scale, that reflects their work completed in the course so far (quizzes, labs, and participation). In this way, you will have a measure of how you are doing at that point in the course.
If dropping the course appears to be in your best interest, we still would like to work through the decision with you. We are also happy to advise you on appropriate choices for your academic program. If you drop the course by Wednesday, October 7, no record of it will appear on your transcript. After that date, until the end of the day Friday, November 6, you may drop the course but with a W grade (withdrawn). If you must drop the course, note that CH101 will be given during the Spring, Summer and Fall sessions of 2021.
The Chemistry department has a Digital Suggestions Box. If you have suggestions, feedback, or concerns that are best addressed directly to the department, please go online and leave your anonymous feedback here.
Students will identify and apply major concepts used in the natural sciences to explain and quantify the workings of the physical world. These concepts include the following: matter is composed of atoms; elements form \families"; bonds form between atoms by sharing electron pairs; shape is of the utmost importance; molecules interact with one another; energy is conserved; energy and matter tend to disperse; there are barriers to reaction; and light and matter can exchange energy. Students will learn about the process by which scientific theories are developed, refined, refuted, and confirmed.
Students will demonstrate their understanding of core conceptual and theoretical tools used in quantitative reasoning, particularly mathematics, as a tool for the exposition and manipulation of chemical concepts and for formulating a connection between microscopic models of matter and its macroscopic properties.
Students will interpret quantitative models of how energy and light interact with atoms or molecules and understand a variety of methods of communicating these, such as graphs, including spectra, tables, formulae, and chemical symbols.
Students will communicate quantitative information about chemical and physical objects and their properties us- ing chemical symbols, visually with sketches, numerically with estimated or computed values, and verbally using appropriate chemical nomenclature.
Students will recognize and articulate the capacity and limitations of quantitative methods such as dimensional analysis and the risks of using it improperly.