CHEM103: Organic Chemistry I

Course Syllabus for "CHEM103: Organic Chemistry I"

Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry that focuses on a single element: carbon!  Carbon bonds strongly with other carbon atoms and with other elements, forming numerous chain and ring structures.  As a result, there are millions of distinct carbon compounds known and classified.  The vast majority of the molecules that contain carbon are considered organic molecules, with few debatable exceptions such as carbon nanotubes, diamonds, carbonate ions, and carbon dioxide.  Carbon is central to the existence of life as it is an essential component of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), sugars, lipids, and proteins.  A well-rounded student of science must take courses in organic chemistry to understand its application to various topics, such as the study of polymers (plastics and other materials), hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, molecular biology, biochemistry, and other life sciences. In the first semester of organic chemistry, you will learn the basic concepts needed to understand the three-dimensional structure of an organic molecule, predict the reactivity of a given molecule (based on its chemical structure), and recognize the mechanisms behind a chemical reaction.  You will explore different explanations of how atoms bind in carbon-based molecules and learn about the simplest carbon structures (alkanes) before moving on to more complex carbon structures (alkenes and alkynes) and their reactions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe organic molecules in terms of bonding, stereochemistry, functional groups, and resonance.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the nomenclature of organic molecules.
  • Derive the intermolecular force of given molecules based on their chemical structures.
  • Draw and represent organic molecules, using arrow notation to show the movement of electrons.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in identifying various classes of reactions (i.e. addition, elimination, arrangements).
  • Describe the thermodynamics of organic reactions using energy diagrams.
  • Analyze the stereochemistry of simple organic molecules and the stereochemical consequences of reactions.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Newman projections and conformations of cyclohexanes.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in determining whether alkyl halides will undergo a substitution or elimination reaction for a given set of reaction conditions.
  • Describe the basic reaction mechanisms of alcohols.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in calculating the degree of unsaturation of molecules.
  • Describe the basic reaction mechanisms of alkenes and alkynes.
  • Explain the concept of chirality, optical activity, and stereoisomerism.
  • Explain the concept of a carbocation, which is an ion with a positively-charged carbon.
  • Rank different carbocations according to their stability and/or reactivity.
  • Explain the differences between SN1 and SN2 substitution reactions and between E1 and E2 eliminations reactions.  

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt,.xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.