Using Insights from Organic Chemistry Students to Teach and Assess Mechanistic Reasoning

Wednesday, 8 March 2017 - 4:10pm - 5:30pm
LD 010

For over a decade my co-workers and I have been interested in helping students learn and reason with mechanisms using the electron-pushing formalism. For the first decade we studied problem-solving by graduate students seeking Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry. More recently, our focus has been on the experiences of students in sophomore-level organic chemistry courses, especially the second half, Organic Two, where mechanisms are more emphasized. Our research in this area has included strategies and modes of reasoning used by individuals while working on electron-pushing tasks. Using inferences from the research participants’ observations and challenges, I will share some of our thoughts on teaching and assessing mechanistic reasoning.