Prof. Sharon Burgmayer,

Whoa! This is different! What is meant by:

    1. Integration and introspection (journal entry)?
    2. Elemental Exhibitions?
    3. Weekly problem sets? What is Level 1 and Level 2?
    4. Can we work in groups?
    5. When can I find Dr. B. to help me?
  Integration and introspection

At the end of each topic area, you will be given a writing "prompt"—a question or an idea—that will serve as a focal point for you to write a one-page, single-spaced "discussion".  The intent is for you to internalize what you have learned by writing about it and by writing about your process of learning it.  (The pedagogical term for this process is “metacognition.) In that respect, it will be personal and very much like keeping a journal or a diary. And also like a journal or diary, there is nothing to get right or wrong!!  For this assignment you should feel free to use “I”, that is, write from your first person perspective.  My only writing request is that you strive, as much as you are consciously able, to express clearly your thoughts about the material in the chapter while you respond to the "prompt".  What I will be looking for as I read your instrospections is honest personal reflection.

What I am looking for is honest personal reflection on the material (i.e. concepts) of the course.

These pieces will be collected approximately biweekly, and after returning them, you should keep them in your Inorganic Binder.

  Elemental Exhibitions

There’s so many elements to get to know!  Nearly half of the Housecroft&Sharpe text is a series of chapters devoted to describing the characteristic chemistry of all the elements in the periodic table. (In the past, this has been called ‘descriptive inorganic chemistry’.)  In our one-semester course, there isn’t time enough to cover all this material.  So this year, we’ll try something different: short power point presentations on one element.  Each of you will help the class get to know one (or two) elements with a 3 minute max presentation using no more than 3 slides.


Weekly problem sets:

What are Level 1 and Level 2?

Every week, a few problems for practicing skills or to test knowledge will be assigned, either on the Web or as hardcopies. These will include questions similar to those exercises in your text for skill building (Level 1) as well as more challenging problems of my own creation or taken from elsewhere (Level 2). These problems sets will be collected and graded. Answers will be posted on the Web. Returned graded sets should be kept in your Inorganic binder. It is strongly recommended that you work the exercises at the end of the chapter in your text in preparation for these graded problems sets. You can find a link to recommended text problems on the course homepage.

  Can we work in groups?

It seems that for many problems in life two brains are better than one. So may it be for you and Inorganic Chemistry. For this reason, you may consult with one or more people on Level 2 questions. You must however, formulate and write out your own answers to be handed in. Level 1 problems should be done without consultation of your classmates because these are to help you hone your skills. Of course you might benefit from doing the text problems for practice with a friend—not to mention it's goings to be more fun!

Note that no group work is allowed on exams. Therefore, if you chose to work on the weekly sets with others, be sure you also develop an ability to independently solve problems and answer questions.


Office Hours:

When can I find Dr. B. to help me?

Dr. B.: Tuesday and Thursday after class 11:15-12:30 or Wednesday 11:30-1:00 || or send email for an appointment || Look for me in my office, room 275; my lab, room 276; or in the Graduate Dean's Office, Thomas 121||



Course Philosophy

Its very name implies that the field of Inorganic Chemistry consists of everything that is not Organic Chemistry, that is, the chemistry of the elements in the rest of the periodic table besides C, H, N, and O.   In fact, such a separation is false because many “inorganic” elements make their appearance in organic chemistry and vice versa.  There are, however, different principles and concepts needed to understand the chemistry of the realm traditionally labeled as “Inorganic Chemistry”. The goals of this course are: first, to become familiar with these new principles and concepts; second, to acquire the skills to apply these principles and concepts, and third, to learn to choose which principles and concepts are best applied in a given circumstance.  You will find that in this course there is often several ways of looking at a chemical problem, each of which may be “right”.  Learning to navigate the possibilities is what you will strive to achieve.   On the course webpage, there are links to “Key Concepts” provided for each topic which list the specific principles and concepts needed for mastery of inorganic chemistry.