Course Design

Welcome to CH-1223 Chemistry II with Dornshuld. This page serves to outline the design of this course that has evolved from years of constructive student feedback.

Where Should I Begin?

Read and understand the syllabus. Here you will find

and more.

Is this course online?

Sort of. All course materials are available online. The only non-virtual components of this course include

  • Lecture
  • In-person exams

Do I have to come to class?

You don’t have to do anything. I track attendance via the attendance scanners in the back of the room but it is not a part of your class grade. Missing lecture is not advised. However, if you have to miss, be sure to get notes from a friend including any information regarding any important announcement(s) I may have made. Missing class means you will less likely know what is going on! If you come to class, go ahead and scan in to show you were present!

So I don’t have to come to class right?

Correct, but you should attend class! In fact, I don’t even need any documentation (sort of) for your absence since it does not count for a grade!

I don’t have to submit documentation for an excused absence?

With a couple of exceptions, that is correct. Here are the exceptions… If you miss an an exam, you must obtain an excused absence in order to be allowed a make-up! That is the only time I would want any sort of documentation from you, especially because most exams are online with a large time window to complete them.

If you have documentation for an absence, great! Give it to your other professors! However, outside of the stated exception above, I really don’t need it for anything.

So what do I do if I miss class?

See the Missing Class Tips, a compilation of what your peers in the Fall 2021 class suggested.

What if I attend class but forgot my ID to scan in with?

You won’t be able to scan in! Please don’t ask me to fix attendance. Just remember to bring it with you next time.

What is that Wednesday night time in my schedule for? Recitation?

Nope. There is no recitation in this class so after this, we will never have to use that word again.

The Wednesday night time slot is for your Fundamentals and Comprehensive Exam only. We will not be meeting on Wednesday night every week so rejoice.

How does this class work?

Great question!


Okay so, we have class and I give a lecture. I generally lecture on material that I have provided online (remember, course materials are available on the internet). Most lecture content is derived from the required, online textbook. My lecture materials come from the online handbook. Lecture will include a mix of presentation (from the handbook), discussion, and board work. No Powerpoints! I generally provide a copy of my own written notes that I bring with me to class on a “Class Progress” page (no promises). See the 2022 Fall notes here.

The tentative lecture schedule (by chapter) is given in the syllabus. The listed chapter corresponds to the chapter in the textbook. Note that while I list the chapter start date, this is a bit misleading. Many topics of Chemistry overlap with each other. For example, I will be folding in content from Ch. 13 and 16 while we are in Ch. 12. This schedule does not really reflect that.

Canvas Exams

After class, I usually have one or more short assessments called “Canvas Exams” that will open up on Canvas. These are formative exams that directly relate to what I lectured on that very day! There are going to be around 30 of these exams given throughout a semester. Fear not. These online exams are open-note/open-book and will be open for two weeks. Also, you will have an unlimited number of attempts to complete them. The idea is to encourage you to engage the material early and often. Putting off learning is a surefire way to lower your chances of being successful on in-person exams where you must demonstrate knowledge on your own. Many of your peers will often wait until the end of the second week to even do the Canvas Exams which means they are two weeks behind in their learning. That’s a lot.

I recommend completing these exams within 48 hours of them being posted.

HW Exams

HW Exams are like Homework assignments, but they are exams! They differ from Canvas Exams in that they cover a chapter’s worth of material and require you to write out your work, a very important aspect of the learning process. These assignments are generally due at the conclusion of a chapter. You should start these HW Exams the moment we begin a new chapter. Do the problems that we have covered in class. Don’t wait until we finish a chapter to do these. You will find yourself frustrated and it will adversely affect your learning.

The HW Exams come out of your CH-1223 Coursebook. Be sure to follow the HW Exam Policies listed in the syllabus. These exams are uploaded as a PDF to Canvas. Be sure to read the HW Exam Submission Procedure.

Summative Exams

Summative Exams are ones in which you demonstrate knowledge that you have obtained from your learning. Summative exams are closed-note/closed-book exams and must be done on your own without any help from any other person… after all, you are here to demonstrate your knowledge, not someone else’s.

These bad boys are worth a majority of your overall grade. We begin with the Fundamentals Exam which is offered online and is a rather short exam covering the basics of Chemistry I.

Comprehensive Exam I and II are cover Ch. 10–12 and Ch. 10–16. Read the feedback of your peers regarding this exam on the Comprehensive Exam II Feedback page. By the way, these exams are in-person so you must show up for them.

The Final Exam is like an even bigger Comprehensive Exam (covers Ch. 10–17, 21) and it is standardized. You read that right! The final exam is the standardized ACS Chemistry II exam. I don’t write it so nobody can blame me for the questions on there (ha!). This is also an in-person exam that you must do on your own.

Incentive to actually learn material

I have a built-in carrot for those that demonstrate knowledge well on the Comprehensive/Final Exams. Rather than simply receiving your exam score, I have included a percent bonus to your overall class grade depending on how well you did on these exams! See the Incentive Table. I am trying this new carrot this semester in order to see if it affects the recurring behavior of procrastination.

What happens if I turn in an assignment late?

Well, it would get a zero. See the Late Assignment Policy on this. Keep in mind you can turn things in early as many times as you want! A catastrophe at the last minute that makes something late is unfortunate because a zero is still given. There is no need to ask me to accept something late so please don’t do so.

Are you serious? I’m asking because I don’t think you’re serious.

Yes, I’m serious, though there always are some who still won’t believe me.

Okay, so everyone says this class is hard. What can I do to be successful?

Firstly, understand the syllabus, policies, and expectations that I’ve set forth for this class. Next, understand the Course Design and the Structured Approach to Learning. Usually, I find that many of us know what to do to be successful; however, many decide that it is not worth the effort to actually do those things.

Where is all the practice problems?

The desire for more practice problems was probably the most requested thing I got from students in the past. Today there are more practice problems available than ever before! Each chapter in the Textbook and the Handbook have example problems with fully worked out solutions. You should start there. Next, Canvas Exams and HW Exams are all ways you can practice your Chemistry solving skills. Timed Assessments are great practice problems that put you under a timer. Solving problems is one thing. Solving them in a reasonable amount of time is another and is just as important to demonstrating knowledge. Finally, the end of every chapter in the Textbook and Handbook contain numerous problems to attempt. Fun Fact: The end-of-chapter problems in the Handbook are real exam questions that I have given before in the past. Finally, your Coursebook contains practice exams as well. These were real exams that I have given before in the past.

So, I can succeed in this class?

Yes! Follow my recommendations, study effectively and efficiently, and actually learn the material! All of the exams outside of the Comprehensive and Final Exams are structured to lower the anxiety barrier of approaching the material and is worth about 30% of your overall grade!

Where do I get help?

A few places.

  1. Supplemental Instruction (SI) - Your SI leaders have taken Chemistry II before and have done well in this class. They hold office hours and SI sessions that cover course topics outside of class.
  2. Office Hours - I highly encourage anyone to take advantage of my office hours. Come with good questions and be prepared to answer a bunch of mine! It’s great for learning!

Please utilize these resources for help.

Can I just email you?

Most inquiries that involve learning is better suited for in-person discussion. Please utilize the structured help for this course before resorting to email.

Can you clarify what assignments I can and cannot get help on?

Sure! See the table below.

Exam Open-Note/Book Class Peers SI Leaders TAs Professor
Canvas Exams × ×
HW Exams
Fundamentals Exam × × × × ×
Take-Home Exam × × × × ×
Comprehensive Exam × × × × ×
Final Exam × × × × ×

✓ = yes; × = no

Also, never post any of the exam content online on any website, social app, etc. Doing so is not allowed and will be considered as getting unauthorized help and is a form of cheating as well as operating outside of the limitations shown in the table above.