Policies & General Information

General Chemistry -- Chemistry 111 (9-12) -- Fall 2004

 General Chemistry I  4 credit hours
 Lecture Times  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 AM
 Lecture Room  IRC #1
 Examinations  Thursday evenings; see course schedules for dates
 Recitations  Monday 1 and 2 PM, Tuesday 9 and 10 AM, and
 Lecturer  John C. Kotz, PS 230
 Electronic Mail Address  KotzJC@Oneonta.edu



Chem Labs


Lec Outline 



General Chemistry Homepage

NOTE: It is assumed that you will make use of this site for important course information. Many of these materials will NOT be made available as paper copies; they will ONLY be available on the course web site.


 Organization of the Course  Materials to be Purchased
 Homework  Textbook
 Examinations  Computer Based Materials: CD-ROM and Internet
 Grading  Chemistry Computer Center


Chemistry is an ever-changing subject. The word "dynamic" describes it well. And we are always looking for better ways to help you learn the subject. We are here to help, but learning and understanding chemistry is something only you can do. It can take considerable effort on your part, but we believe it is an important and exciting subject that makes the effort worthwhile. A faculty member in chemistry once summed it up well: "Learning chemistry is not a spectator sport."

Throughout the course emphasis will be placed on understanding the subject and learning to think effectively in solving scientific problems. However, to accomplish this objective, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of facts and terms. It is essential that you commit yourself to learning this basic vocabulary. This means memorizing some things, such as names and symbols of some of the elements and the names of compounds. From time to time material that needs to be memorized will be indicated on your weekly assignment sheet.

During lectures we will discuss principles and concepts, outline goals, and present illustrations and demonstrations. Lectures are not intended to describe or explain everything you will learn in the course. Rather, they indicate the topics that are important to study and should provide some insight into those topics. Lectures will also give you an opportunity to think about these topics and see if you understand them.

Lecture Notes
You should take notes during lecture, but this ought not be a passive, unthinking process. Your notes should reflect your understanding of what you heard and saw, not just a repetition of what the lecturer said. The lecturer will outline the lecture by projecting notes from a computer (using PowerPoint) or overhead projector. Copies of these notes (in Adobe Acrobat format) are available on the Web site for this course. (See the section on computer-based materials below.) Also available--if you wish to use them--is an outline of the PowerPoint notes. These are handed out in class as we begin each subject.

Personal Response System (PRS) - "Clickers"
In the spring of 2003 and in the last academic year we experimented with the Personal Response System or PRS. The experiment was a success, so much so that each of you must have a transmitter or "clicker" for Chem 111-112 this year. The lecturer will pose questions in a multiple choice format during class and you will have a few minutes to decide on your answer and then to respond by remotely entering your choice of an answer. The lecturer will then show the results of the class as a whole. The questions are not a quiz, and your identity is not known to the other students.
We find this allows students to gauge their understanding in the course of the lecture and it keeps students engaged. For more information see them in use at the University of California at Berkeley: http://www.cchem.berkeley.edu/~chem1a/spring03/.
NOTE: the clickers can be sold back to the bookstore at the end of the year and you will recover about half of the cost.

Lecture Demonstrations
Many chemical reactions and other phenomena are sufficiently dangerous or expensive that it is not practical for all students to experience them first hand. Nevertheless such reactions may illustrate important principles or show important facts that will be useful later on in chemistry and other science courses, or in everyday life. We have a longstanding tradition of using lecture demonstrations to help students understand chemistry.
When a demonstration is done in class, make careful observations of what happens and make certain that you understand the principles the demonstration is designed to illustrate. If you do not, ask questions. All demonstrations are important, and questions about observations or principles that have been presented via demonstrations often occur on examinations.

Lecture Sheets
The PRS questions will be handed out on "lecture sheets." You enter the answer using the clicker, and you also enter the answer on the lecture sheet. You hand the sheet in at the end of class. The sheets are not graded, but you receive 3 points for handing in the sheet. These points count toward the 80 points, maximum, you can earn in the "participation" category.

There are three "regular" exams each semester and one final exam.
a) The "regular" exams, which are worth 100 points each, are held on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 PM. This will give you more than adequate time to complete the exam. The topics of the exams are announced well in advance. Review materials and last year's exams will be available for study. Review classes will be scheduled before each exam.
b) The final exam, worth 150 points, is comprehensive, covering material from the first day of the class until the last day.

Each student is assigned to a recitation section. These meet for 50 minutes a week in the Chemistry and Physics Computer Lab. There we use the CD-ROM (a copy is included in each book) as the focus for practicing chemistry. This is also a time to ask questions about the homework for the week.
a) We ask that you work with another student in the recitation. We urge you to discuss the work together.
b) Your instructor will sit down with you to answer questions if needed, and class as a whole will discuss the work.
c) You are given a worksheet with a number of questions to be completed during the recitation. The sheet is turned in at the end of class. You receive 3 points of credit each time you turn in a sheet. (This is added to the 100 points you can earn in the "participation" category."

The purpose of the weekly laboratory is to illustrate the principles of chemistry we are studying this semester. Written reports on each lab are due to your instructor one week following the completion of the lab. The lab work is worth 100 points, a weight equivalent to one of the regular exams. Note that if you do not pass the laboratory work we cannot give you a passing grade in the course, no matter what the quality of your work on exams.

Online Homework-Textbook and OWL
To be successful in General Chemistry it is imperative that you do the assigned homework to the best of your ability. Just as you learn to ride a bicycle or play soccer by practicing, you learn to "do" chemistry by practicing. Homework in Chemistry 111-112 is done in two ways:

A few problems are assigned from the book each week. Some are noted as important, whereas others are optional. Answers to these homework questions are found in the Student Solutions Manual (an optional purchase) or in Appendix O of the textbook. Solutions will also be posted on the bulletin board outside room 229 of the Physical Science Building. This homework is not collected or graded.

The online homework system OWL was developed at the University of Massachusetts and used there for some years. It has been used at Oneonta since 2001. You are also assigned some questions each week in OWL. These questions will be due on Sunday evening each week unless announced otherwise.
The maximum number of points available in OWL is at least 150, but only the first 100 count toward your total number of points.

You will be informed of the homework assignments in the Weekly Announcements given out each Monday in lecture and on the OWL website.

You should also be aware that questions assigned from the book, and questions in the OWL database, are often used on the examinations in the course.

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Textbooks and related materials are available in the College bookstore or in a local bookstore.

Textbook: Chemistry & Chemical Reactivity by John Kotz and Paul Treichel, 5th edition. This book is used in both Chemistry 111 and 112.

CD-ROM: The General Chemistry Interactive CD-ROM is included with each copy of the textbook. It will be used extensively in lectures and in recitation. Copies are available for your use in the Chemistry Computer Center. Your personal copy can also be used on the computers in the library or on other computers (both PC and Macintosh) on campus that have CD-ROM drives and sound cards.

Personal Response System (PRS) - "Clicker"
Bring your "clicker" to lecture each time because we will use these in almost every class. You cannot use someone else's because the clickers have an identification number. The bookstore will buy the clicker back at the end of the year for about one-half the original price.

OWL: OWL is an online homework system, which may be accessed from any computer on-campus or from your home computer. You will have received a PIN number to use the OWL system with your textbook. If you purchase a used book, you will have to buy the OWL PIN number separately at the bookstore. (If you do not have the PIN number please see your instructor immediately.)

Laboratory Manual & Safety Goggles
You should purchase a copy of the Laboratory Manual at the College bookstore. However, all experiments and report forms are also on the course web site at
Safety goggles must be worn at all times in the laboratory by everyone! There are no exceptions to this rule-violators will be tossed out! The goggles are available in the bookstore for a reasonable price. They can be worn over prescription glasses. However, you are strongly urged not to wear soft contact lenses in the lab. These lenses may react with some chemicals and could lead to eye damage in the event of an accident.

Electronic Calculator: A good scientific calculator is required for laboratory work, homework problems, and exams. In addition to the usual arithmetic functions, your calculator should have some or all of the following: memory, scientific or exponential notation, an inverse key, yx and ln x or log x.

Optional Books: Study Guide to the text by Paul Hunter and the Student Solutions Manual by Alton Banks. (The latter provides worked-out answers to about half of the Study Questions in the textbook.)

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We shall cover roughly the first 21 chapters of Chemistry & Chemical Reactivity (5th edition) this year (excluding part of Chapter 10). Please take careful note of how your textbook is organized.

* Each chapter has a number of worked-out examples of commonly encountered problems. Each is followed by an Exercise, the solution for which is in Appendix N of the book.

* At the end of each chapter is a list of objectives for that chapter and a number of Study Questions.

* The answers to the Study Questions whose numbers are given in bold type are in Appendix O.

* There are many tables of information you will need in the various Appendices, and there is a math review in Appendix A.

* Inside the front and back covers are a periodic table and various physical constants and conversion factors.

You should read the textbook prior to lecture. After lecture you should reread and study the appropriate pages in the textbook. Be sure that you understand the Examples and try to work the sample Exercises without looking at the answers (which are at the end of the book in an Appendix). At the end of each chapter you will find a summary of important facts, concepts and operational skills that you should have mastered as you studied that chapter.

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Many course materials are on the Internet and some are listed on the General Chemistry homepage. It is assumed that you will make use of this site for important course information. Many of these materials will NOT be made available as paper copies; they will ONLY be available on the course web site.

Materials available include:

* Links to OWL and Blackboard.

* Announcements: weekly reading and homework assignments

* Laboratory experiments and other on-line resources for the laboratory

* Lecture notes (in Adobe Acrobat format)

* Review examinations (in Adobe Acrobat format)

* Review questions (in Adobe Acrobat format)

* Course policies

* Links to other chemistry sites around the world.

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Problems and problem solving are a very important aspect of this course. Studying chemistry (or any science) involves trying to solve both numeric and other problems and developing problem-solving skills. Suggested problems from the Study Questions at the ends of chapters in the book are indicated on the assignment sheet you will given each week. We expect that you have attempted to solve all or almost all of these problems, and you and your study group are encouraged to discuss them. Solutions to homework problems will be posted on a bulletin board across the hall from the lab (PS 203).

We are using, for the fourth year, the OWL system for online homework. A portion of the total points you may earn for this course are given for successful completion of OWL online questions. Specific asignments will be given each week in class (see announcements).


The three preliminary examinations, each worth 100 points, usually last about 1.5-2 hours and are designed to test thoroughly your knowledge of the material covered in the lecture and textbook in the previous several weeks. The exams consist of fill-in-the-blank questions, multiple choice questions, and problems, problems, problems. Your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself in correct English is taken into consideration when grading the examinations.

* Examinations and the Textbook: The last several years we experimented with allowing students to bring the textbook to the examinations, and we shall continue that practice this year. The idea is that the examinations will be an extension, not only of the materials from lecture, but they can also be extensions of the homework problems and other readings in the book. In addition, you need data found only in the book.

* General Examination Policies: You should use an electronic calculator for homework and examinations. Be aware, however, that the examination rooms have very few electrical outlets, so your calculator must be able to run on batteries. Laptop computers are not permitted.

Please do the examinations in pencil! When you come to the examination, bring a good pencil or pencils with good erasers. Also be aware that there may not be a pencil sharpener in the examination room.

Many of the points on examinations come from problems for which you must perform some calculations. If these calculations are not shown in the space provided on the examination, the problem will be marked incorrect, even if you have the correct answer.

In all of the years of teaching this course, we have had only one incident of cheating on an examination .... and we don't want another! Cheating on an examination is not fair to anyone concerned, and we shall deal with it as severely as the college rules permit. To guard against problems, we ask that you sit in alternate seats and in alternate rows.

You may not smoke or eat during an examination and you may not leave the room to do so. You may not use a cellphone during the examinations.

If you must miss an examination due to a college trip or a conflict with an official college event, you must inform your instructor as far in advance as possible. If you are ill, and must therefore miss an examination, please inform your instructor as soon as possible.

Examinations are given on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 PM. Please do not schedule another course or activity on Thursday evenings! (An exception is the first exam. The complete schedule is given on this web site.) The graded examination will be returned to you by the following Monday.

Please be aware that examination averages are usually in the range of 65-75 points out of 100.

It is perfectly normal to feel anxious when you are taking an examination in this course. However, we try to provide a relaxed setting and give you enough time to answer adequately all of the questions. Nonetheless, we have very occasionally had students who have had extreme test anxiety. In such cases we allow students to take the examinations at the Learning Center or in another setting. Please talk with us and Learning Center personnel well in advance of an examination if you have such a difficulty.

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The total number of points you may earn is 700. They are broken down as follows:

 3 preliminary exams for 100 points each 300 points
 Short quiz  20
 Comprehensive final exam 150
 Laboratory work 100
Work in recitation and lecture (more than 80 points of work given but maximum that may be earned is 80) 80
OWL online homework (many more than 100 points of work given but maximum that may be earned is 100) 100

The final grades in the course are assigned as given in the following table. To determine your final grade, your instructor simply adds up all your points for the semester, determines the percentage score, and uses the scale above.

 A 100-90
 A- 90-87
B+ 87-85
B 85-80
B- 80-77
C+ 77-75
C 75-70
C- 70-67
D+ 67-65
D 65-60
D- 60-57

Laboratory Work: Points for laboratory work are distributed as follows: (the total is 120, so your laboratory grade is a percentage of this total)

Growing Crystals 10
Introduction to Weighing 10
Synthesis of Alum 10
Percent Composition 10
Acid-Base Titration 10
Spectrophotometry 10
Periodic Properties 10
Thermochemistry 10
Molecular Structure 10
Synthesis and Analysis of a Copper complex 30


Important Laboratory Grading Policies:

a) You must achieve a passing score in the laboratory to pass the course. If you fail the laboratory portion of the course, you will also fail the course, regardless of your score on examinations.
b) Laboratory reports are due to your instructor one week following the completion of the laboratory work.
c) Late lab reports incur a penalty of 20% per week.
d) If no report is handed in after 4 weeks, you will receive a grade of 0.
e) No laboratory reports are accepted after the last day of regularly scheduled classes.
f) If you do not attend a laboratory session, and have no valid excuse, you receive a score of 0.
g) If you are going to be away for a College-sponsored trip and will miss a laboratory, please inform your instructor before you leave. You can make up the lab in another section. (Leaving early for vacation does not count!)
h) If there is unambiguous evidence that you have copied a laboratory report from another student, you receive a grade of 0 for that experiment and the evidence is turned over to the Student Affairs office.
i) No whining!

Recitation work, lecture sheets, Element of the Week, OWL:

a) Recitation: Recitation is a time to practice some of the material we have been covering. Therefore, you will use the CD-ROM to investigate chemical reactions, molecular structures, animations of chemical principles, and problems. For turning in a portion of the worksheet for a particular week, you will receive 3 points (which is a portion of the 80 points that can be earned for "other" work).

b) Lecture Sheets: You will receive 3 points for each lecture sheet you submit (which is a portion of the 100 points that can be earned for "other" work).

c) OWL: This online homework system has modules for each topic in the course. Within each module is a number of question groups. You earn1 point for each module completed, up to a maximum of 100 points.

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The Chemistry & Physics Department Computer Center is located in the front of the Physical Science Building. The hours when the Center is open are posted on the door. When you first visit the Center please sign in and see one of the laboratory attendants for instruction on using the computers. There are both Macintosh and Windows-based machines (and scanner and printer) there for your use. Software includes:

* Molecular visualization and modeling software. We have a site license for the CAChe Molecular Modeling Software. If you wish a copy of this software, you may obtain it from your instructor or from the campus network. See your instructor for details.

* Copies of the General Chemistry InteractiveCD-ROM

* Word processing for writing lab reports, term papers, and so on (Word and Wordperfect)

* Spreadsheet (Excel)

* PowerPoint (a presentation program; used in Chemistry 111-112 lectures)

* Chemistry drawing software

* Chemistry tutorial software

* The lecture notes are given in class by computer and will include pictures, molecular models, and animations. The notes are available in the computer laboratory. NOTE: the General Chemistry Interactive CD-ROM must be in the CD drive for these notes to work properly. (The notes are also available as Adobe Acrobat documents on the course web site.)

* Email and Internet access.

Do not put your own software onto any of the machines in the Center, nor remove any software from the machines. If you save a file (such as a word processing or spreadsheet file) on a machine, the file is automatically placed in a Student Folder. This folder in emptied once a month, so make sure you transfer a copy to a floppy disk. Alternatively, save yo your P drive (on a Windows machine).

You are encouraged to contact us via electronic mail (KotzJC@Oneonta.edu) if you have questions about homework problems or with one of the assignments, or have comments about the course or the work you are doing. Electronic mail is available at all times of day and night. so you can send messages whenever something comes to mind. Do not, however, expect immediate responses in the middle of the night!

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Last revised: January 17, 2003