Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemistry

Group Work

Photocopy the problems rather than expecting students to download them from Blackboard, and take in only a few copies so that students have to share. They’re forced to work together. But that causes a problem at the end of the class if they all want their own copy, so you then have to go back and load it up onto Blackboard. But that sort of approach works quite well.

Present Solutions to NMR Problems

Get the students to present the solutions to NMR problems, with a bit of assistance. Point to a signal on the spectrum and say ‘have you thought about what that means?’ Give them some hints. Encourage the students themselves to be asking the questions about what the signals are or why you ignored a particular signal.

Models to Explain Symmetry

Utilise model making to display principles of symmetry. Make the model, show the NMR spectrum and use them together to explain the symmetry.

Examples of Symmetry

Use examples to demonstrate symmetry. For example, show 1H and 13C NMR spectra of ethyl benzene.

Tailor Your Teaching to the Group

First identify students' perceptions using a pre-test, then you know how to tailor your teaching. Don’t assume that every group is the same.


Do a discussion and use GroupMap to get a consensus.

Link to GroupMap

Student Questions

It’s very difficult to get students to ask questions because they feel they’re being picked on. But if they start putting up their hand and other students see that you’re prepared to be receptive to that then more and more will start putting up their hands. Invariably they’re good questions which still cover the topic. So you should have enough content for your lectures but not so much that you’ve got to force it to finish. The question that they ask, which they’re worried is a dumb question, is actually the question that probably nearly everyone else wants to ask but is afraid to ask.

Small Group Work

Use small group student-centred interaction using structured work sheets that logically develop students' conceptual understanding. It’s a learning cycle approach.


Using clickers, put up say four ideas, and say, who thinks A and who thinks B, C, D. Now in the groups they need to defend their answer, and to talk about it. That way you get the feedback but you don’t have to say Bill, Mary, Jim, Jack, what do you think? You can get them to click their answers.

Link to Peer Instruction Blog

Be Flexible

You shouldn’t be rigid in what you’re going to do. Go with the flow in the lecture. Don’t be rigid and think ‘I’ve got to get through these 15 slides today and if I don’t the world will end’ because it won’t.


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