Chemistry Teaching Plan 2021

Chemistry is a challenging subject for many students. To be successful, one needs skills in conceptual thinking, applied math, experimentation, and data analysis. This combination of skills is new to many, if not most, incoming university students. The primary mission of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky is to help students develop these skills; to make students not just richer in knowledge, but also to help shape them into lifelong, more complex thinkers and learners. This is not an easy task, as students come to college with widely varying degrees of knowledge and experiences. The Department of Chemistry has been intensely focused on continually improving our teaching effectiveness, particularly within the past 10 years. For example, we use the most innovative, research-proven instructional strategies and technologies. Our efforts to be progressive, combined with our desire to see all students succeed, has led to many recent changes in how we teach students to learn.

We strongly desire to teach – it is what we do. Even more important, however, is protecting the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and society as a whole. We have developed a course of action that maximizes our ability to teach our students and minimizes risks to everyone’s health and well-being. The many changes that the department has implemented to more effectively educate our students has made the transition to remote learning a relatively simple one and the experiences of students will not change as much as one might think.

All our instructors are committed to helping students learn and succeed in their general chemistry courses. We have a very experienced team of instructors in General Chemistry with extensive experience teaching both in person and online. Several instructors have been teaching in a flipped classroom environment and have spent extensive time recording videos and developing lessons for their in-person classes, so we are not new to creating online content. As in previous semesters, all multi-section courses will cover the same content and follow the same schedule with respect to exams and homework. The instructors communicate regularly to keep on track with one another. The information below should answer some of your questions about what Spring 2021 will look like for General Chemistry.

What will I be doing during class time?

  • For lectures, course content will be delivered asynchronously through videos or interactive lessons Your instructor will be available during class time to help you, discuss topics, and answer questions. As always, there may be some variation in the specifics for your section, but this information will be communicated to you by your instructor at the beginning of the semester.
  • For recitation, the course will be a synchronous meeting at your regular course time. This time is typically used for practice with problem-solving and we will continue to do that via Zoom. We will use breakout rooms for students to work in small groups with your TA moving between breakout rooms to help.

How will I get help?

  • Instructors will be available during regularly scheduled times on Zoom for you to drop-in whether you have specific questions or want to just listen to what others are asking. For discussion of confidential matters or other issues, you can also request a one-on-one meeting with your instructor.
  • Piazza, Canvas discussion boards, or email may also be used by your instructor to provide help.
  • The General Chemistry Learning Center will also be open. We expect having both in-person and online options for students to receive help and more information will be available at the start of the semester.
  • The Study will also provide free peer tutoring both online and face-to-face. More information will be available at The Study.
  • Students are also encouraged to check out Academic Coaching which is a great resource for any student to make the most of their academic experience at UK.

How will exams be given?

  • Exams will be given online through Canvas. We have been giving computer-based exams for many years so the only change is that students will be completing it in separate locations. Measures are in place to maintain academic integrity.
  • Students will have the chance to complete a practice exam to make sure all hardware and software is ready to go prior to their first exam.
  • A Zoom for exam issues will be available during your exam window so you can connect to someone if you have any problems.
  • For 105, 107, 110
    • Exams will continue to be written collaboratively by all instructors teaching the course.
    • We will continue to give common hour exams on Thursday evenings. Students will have 75 minutes to complete the exam within a given window starting at 8 pm. As usual, conflicts will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • For 103, 108, 109
    • Exams for these classes will be given during the day. Students will have 50-75 minutes (depending on the course) to complete the exam within a given window that will overlap with your regularly scheduled class time.

How will CHE 111 be taught?

  • All sections of CHE 111 will be taught remotely and asynchronously during the Spring 2021 semester. All students will have access to the same materials/pre-lab videos/lab simulations/supporting material that align with our course objectives through the course Canvas site. Assignment due dates appear on Canvas as well as a “To Do” list to help keep students organized and on task withe their course.
  • Students work with interactive lab simulations produced by Hayden-McNeil under the MacMillan Learning umbrella that are similar in nature to the in-person labs performed in prior semesters. This will provide them with familiarity with lab setup, common procedures, and safety protocols for when they can work in an in-person lab. A preview of the lab simulation is available at:
  • As we have always done, sections will continue to be led by teaching assistants, who will be working as a team to help answer student questions. We will be using a discussion board (Piazza) that is monitored by all teaching assistants and the course coordinator. The site provides the fastest answers to students’ questions. The TAs will hold regularly scheduled office hours in the General Chemistry Learning Center for students to get help. TAs will continue to provide support to students via email, scheduled online office hours, and by appointment.

What about CHE 113?

  • CHE 113 will be taught as a hybrid course this semester, following the University and state guidelines. This includes having students work 6 feet apart, wear a mask to lab, and be in a lab setting with no more than 10 students. Students will alternate each week between in-person and online work.
  • Our normal standard of PPE, scrubs and goggles, will still be expected.
  • Each section will be lead by a TA, as they always have been, however, the pre-lab lectures will be moved online.
  • Students will be expected to clean their lab space and any equipment they use before leaving the workspace. Cleaning materials will be provided in the lab.
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