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Thinking like an electron: concepts pertinent to developing proficiency in organic reaction mechanisms

Authors
  • Nedungadi, Sachin1
  • Brown, Corina E.1
  • 1 University of Northern Colorado, Ross Hall, Room 3480, 1100 22nd Street , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Chemistry Teacher International
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Jul 13, 2020
Volume
3
Issue
1
Pages
9–17
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/cti-2019-0020
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The difficulties students face with organic reaction mechanisms have been the subject of much research in chemical education however, no concept inventory has been reported in this area. The development of a concept inventory would be useful for the large-scale assessment of students’ understanding of concepts pertinent to developing proficiency in reaction mechanisms. The first step in the design of such an inventory is identifying the pertinent concepts. In phase 1 of this study, open-ended interviews were carried out with organic chemistry instructors (N = 11) in order to ascertain their opinions on pertinent concepts for developing proficiency in reaction mechanisms. Phase 2 of the study consisted of a national survey of organic chemistry instructors (N = 183) to explore the general consensus regarding the concepts identified in phase 1. The results yielded 10 concepts identified by experts to be pertinent to reaction mechanisms. The general consensus among organic chemistry instructors is that the topic of reaction mechanisms is important to the study of organic chemistry, but students have difficulty understanding the meaning of the curved-arrow notation. Future work will include the design and development of a concept inventory based on these pertinent concepts.

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