Day 0 – the things you need to do BEFORE your first class

Welcome back to Reed. We have an exciting organic chemistry curriculum planned for Chem 201 and 202, and we will get off to a flying start so here goes…

Day 1 is our first day of classes. It will include a lecture for the MW section at M, Aug 27, 2:20 pm in Eliot 314 (the TuTh section starts the next day at 10:30 am) and a lab lecture for all students at M, Aug 27, 6:10 pm in Psych 105. Your attendance on Day 1 is absolutely required.

The following will tell you what you need to do on Day 0, the time before the first lecture, lab lecture, and lab. Please read and follow these instructions carefully. And see you in class! (Note: the following was sent to all students by email. Check your Inbox.)

Email #1, sent to all registered students on Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 3:23 pm


And welcome back to Reed and organic chemistry (Chem 201). I will be sending you 3 emails this weekend that I would like you to read today (Saturday) if possible.

This email covers

  • what is going on during Week #1 and where you need to be and when
  • books, required & recommended (listed in syllabus)
  • syllabus (2 pages, attached)

I will follow this with 2 additional emails concerning clickers and Sapling online homework. A look ahead at these future emails:

  • I would like you to bring clickers to all lectures beginning on Day 1. Clickers are not needed in lab or lab lecture. Clickers need to be registered online (this involves a subscription purchase as well) before they can be used in class so please take care of this (covered in next email) before Day 1.
  • Registering for Sapling online homework is the least pressing matter of all (we haven’t even had a class yet), but you should take care of signing up for a Sapling account before Day 2.

Coming back to this email, what do you need to do?

#1 Read the attached syllabus (just 2 pages) in its entirety. It touches on as many aspects of Chem 201 as I could squeeze into 2 pages. It also contains a large number of links to online pages located here (Chem 201 course page) and in our lab manual (Chem 201/2 lab manual). You will be looking at both of these sites many times this semester so there’s no need to visit these sites beyond what is specified below. (Note: schedules on the Classes, Homework, Exam pages are all being modified this weekend.)What do you need to do beyond reading over the syllabus and the next 2 emails?

#2 For the first lecture (M 2:20, Tu 10:30)

  • buy required materials (textbook, clicker, lab notebook)
  • bring your clicker (see next email)
  • bring note-taking materials (writing implement of your choice, notebook; laptops are not at all suitable for organic chemistry note-taking)
  • bring a writing implement suitable for working on POGIL worksheets (you will be writing/drawing, comparing your answers with those of other students, and revising so erasable pencil or pen is far superior to normal ink)
  • read About our classroom (follow the links on that page only if you are interested)
  • For the first lab lecture

#3 For the first lab lecture (M 6:10)

  • bring note-taking materials (see above)
  • read the following sections of the lab manual in their entirety: Welcome (don’t skip Getting Started – Week #1), Policies (read all pages – most of them are short; Preparing for Lab (including Before week #1) and Notebooks are must-reads)

That will cover things for Monday, but what about the rest of the week? All labs will meet this week and next so…

For the first lab

  • dress appropriately for lab
  • bring your lab notebook (see above), a waterproof pen, whatever you need to read with (glasses, contact lens are both acceptable during week #1)
  • read and follow all of the instructions (if you haven’t done so already) in Preparing for Lab: Before week #1 (this includes reading the Chem 201/2-relevant portions of the Chemistry Safety Manual before your LAB day)
  • I also recommend that you read the following short pieces before your LAB day: Exp’t 1 cover page and Exp’t 1 – Overview and first 3 paragraphs only of Exp’t 1 – Background (these will tell you the purpose of Exp’t 1 and the materials required for the experiment)


I think that covers it for this email. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for taking the time to read this email and to start work.

Now on to email #2…


Email #2, sent to all registered students on Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 5:27 pm

I expect you to bring a clicker to every lecture this semester. They are not needed for lab or lab lecture.

Your clicker responses will not be graded, just counted. However, because I am relying on clickers to get accurate, real-time ideas about your thoughts and work, please provide the best quality answers that you can manage for each question. More info about clickers and grades can be found here.

This email provides information about clicker hardware, cost, and registration. There is also an attached file that contains instructions (12 steps) that were given to students last year to create an account with Turning Technologies, the company that manufactures and licenses the clickers.

QT2 devices only. Chem 201/202 will use the Turning Technology QT2 clickers. These devices have a complete A-Z, 0-9 keypad and LCD display, and they are powered by 2 easily replaceable AAA batteries. If you have some other kind of clicker, or used a mobile device in place of clicker last year in Chem 101/102, you will need to purchase a new QT2 clicker from the bookstore. You will also need to purchase a one-year subscription and create a student account at the Turning Technologies web site in order to use your clicker (and receive course credit for your clicks).

Cost. A new QT2 clicker + 1-year subscription costs $58 at the bookstore. If you already have a QT2, you can just purchase a 1-year subscription for $25.99.

Returns. If you decide at any time that you no longer need your clicker, you can return yours to the bookstore for some kind of refund. The bookstore informs me, students “have the first 2 weeks of classes to return the clickers with the receipt for a full refund. The only difference is the subscription code scratch-off must be fully intact. If it has been scratched off we are unable to refund it. After the first 2 weeks it is a 60% refund through November.”

Mobile device app subscription warning: Chem 101/2 students who used their mobile devices as clickers had to download a Turning Technologies app and were able to buy a subscription through the app. This will NOT work for the QT2 clicker. See the instructions provided by the bookstore or the instructions in the attached file.

Where to go next. After you obtain a clicker, open the attached file and set up your student account and start your subscription. If you are hesitating because you are uncertain about your commitment to Chem 201 and the cost of the clicker/subscription, that is fine. Hesitate. My grading policy forgives 20% of your clicker responses, that is, you only need to respond to 80% of my clicker questions to earn full clicker credit. So you can hold off on clicking for a few days if you are conflicted.

Clicker advice:
1. Most lectures will pose a clicker question within the first few minutes of class. When you arrive at class, get your device out! Don’t drop it into the bottom of your backpack under your sweatshirt, lunch, etc.

2. I will be singing the following song all semester long: Organic chemistry is learned and practiced through the fingers, that is, by drawing one or more structural formulas, and then looking at them. The alternative, just mentally imagining these structures, is not nearly as effective, and often doesn’t work at all. The recommendation that this song inspires is this: Before you click an answer to an organic chemistry question, draw the answer(s) you are considering, and look at them. In other words, have a pencil and paper at hand and use them. Don’t just click.

On to email #3…


PS Because the attached instructions were created last year, it is possible that some steps and/or web pages will not work exactly as shown in the file. Please let me know if you encounter errors in the instructions. Apologies in advance…

Email #3, sent to all registered students on Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

Graded homework for Chem 201 (and also some ungraded practice problems) will be delivered through the Sapling Learning (MacMillan Learning subsidiary) online homework system.

Sapling provides homework problems that are tailored to specific courses so you will be seeing assignments for each day that match the topics covered on that day.

Please go to Sapling Learning on the Chem 201 web site to learn about:

  • why the study of organic chemistry is unusually, and also not so unusually, challenging
  • how Sapling online homework assists the study of organic chemistry
  • how to register and enroll in the Sapling system
  • tips for getting the most out of Sapling homework

The homework assignment schedule has not been posted yet, but you will be able to find it on the Homework page next week (I will announce this by email).

How homework is used to calculate your course grade is described in the FAQ page.

Email #4, sent to all registered students on Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 3:40 pm

Yesterday I had directed you to read About our classroom which provides some background information on our team-learning method, POGIL.

Today I came across another document that I also want you to read. It is short (3 pages) and while some of it reiterates material from About our classroom, it goes in a different direction and provides:

  1. More information on the materials we will work with (learning activities)
  2. Instructions on how to work with learning activities in the classroom
  3. Suggestions for how to work with learning activities after class

We will do team-learning on Day 1 so please read the attached document before your first lecture on M/Tu

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