Foundations of Organic Chemistry

Course No. 1185
Associate Teaching Professor Ron B. Davis Jr., Ph.D.
Georgetown University
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Course No. 1185
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What Will You Learn?

  • Take a detailed look at atomic structure and chemical bonding: the roots of organic chemistry.
  • Discern the various types of chemical reactions: substitution, elimination, and addition.
  • Take a biologically-oriented look at the foundations of organic chemistry with carbohydrates and sugars.
  • Learn about purifying by recrystallization, distillation, extraction, and chromatography.

Course Overview

Chemistry is defined as the study of matter and its properties. With regard to this definition, the roots of the study of chemistry can be traced back to more than one ancient civilization. Most notably, the Greeks and Chinese each independently postulated thousands of years ago that there must be a small number of elemental substances from which all other things were created as admixtures. Remarkably, both civilizations theorized that air, earth, water, and fire were among those elements. It was much more recently, however—just about 300 years ago—that famed French nobleman and chemist Antoine Lavoisier correctly identified one of the elements experimentally. Lavoisier’s discovery is often cited as the event that heralded the birth of chemistry as a proper science. Theorizing based on observation of natural systems began to give way to controlled testing of the properties of matter, leading to an explosion of understanding, the echoes of which are still ringing in modern-day laboratories.

Organic chemistry is the subject dedicated to the study of a deceptively simple set of molecules—those based on carbon. Even today, centuries after the most basic governing principles of this subject were discovered, many students struggle to make sense of this science. At the university level, professors are often in a race against time to dispense the vast body of knowledge on organic chemistry to their students before semester’s end, leaving little time for discussion of exactly how this information came to be known or of just how new experimentation might change the world we live in. This course endeavors to fill that gap.

As humanity’s understanding of chemistry grew, so did the library of elements that had been isolated and identified, yet even as this library of elements grew, one of the simplest of them—carbon—seemed to play a very special and indispensable role in many small molecules. This was particularly true of the molecules harvested from living organisms. So obvious was the importance of this role that chemists dubbed the study of the fundamental molecules of life “organic chemistry,” a science that today has been expanded to include any molecule relying principally on carbon atoms as its backbone.

In this course, you will investigate the role of carbon in organic molecules—sometimes acting as a reactive site on molecules, sometimes influencing reactive sites on molecules, but always providing structural support for an ever-growing library of both naturally occurring and man-made compounds.

Other elements will join the story, bonding with carbon scaffolds to create compounds with a stunningly broad array of properties. Most notable are the elements hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, chlorine, and bromine. The presence of these elements and others in organic chemistry spices up the party, but none of them can replace carbon in its central role.

The goal of this course is to take the uninitiated student on a tour of the development and application of the discipline of organic chemistry, noting some of the most famous minds to dedicate themselves to this science in the past few centuries, such as Dmitry Mendeleev (of periodic table fame), Friedrich Wöhler (the father of modern organic chemistry), and Alfred Nobel (the inventor of dynamite and founder of the most influential scientific prize in the history of humanity). You will also meet some very famous scientists from other fields whose forays into organic chemistry helped shape the science, such as Louis Pasteur of microbiology fame and Michael Faraday, the father of electromagnetism.

Approximately the first half of the course is dedicated to building the foundations of understanding modern organic chemistry. In this portion of the course, you will investigate the structure of the atom, the energetic rationale for chemical bonding between atoms to create compounds, how specific collections of atoms bonded in specific ways create motifs called functional groups, and ultimately the ways in which the bonds in these functional groups form and break in chemical reactions that can be used to convert one compound into another.

Next, you will apply that understanding of organic fundamentals to more complex, but often misunderstood, molecular systems, such as starches, proteins, DNA, and more. In the final portion of the course, you will turn your attention to how organic chemists purify and characterize their new creations in the laboratory, investigating techniques as ancient as distillation and as modern as nuclear magnetic studies.

After completing this course, the successful student will have all of the tools needed to have a meaningful dialogue with a practicing organic chemist about the theory behind his or her work, the interpretation of the results that he or she obtains in the lab, and—most of all—the impact that modern experimentation in organic chemistry might have on the future of humanity.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Why Carbon?
    Start exploring organic chemistry is foundations with a review of the basic science of chemistry (including atomic structure and the periodic table). Then, get an engaging introduction to organic chemistry: its origin, its evolution, its relationship to carbon, and its fascinating applications in everything from food to fuel to medicine. x
  • 2
    Structure of the Atom and Chemical Bonding
    Take a more detailed look at atomic structure and chemical bonding. What exactly drives an atomís desire to bond? What are the differences between ionic bonds, covalent bonds, and polar covalent bonds? How does the hybridization of atomic orbitals work, and how does it explain the complex geometries of carbon frameworks? x
  • 3
    Drawing Chemical Structures
    Investigate some of the key methods scientists employ to communicate the right structural information about molecular compounds, including their identity, the ratio of elements that comprise them, and their connectivity. Methods youíll explore include Fischer projections, Newman projections, and stereoimagesóall of which help us overcome the challenges of conveying the three-dimensional positions of atoms. x
  • 4
    Drawing Chemical Reactions
    Youíve learned how to depict molecules as they exist at a single point in time. How about as time passes? The answer: much like a cartoonist. Here, learn about this scientific art form, including writing reaction schemes, expanding them into elementary steps, using curved arrows to chart molecular progress, and more. x
  • 5
    Acid-Base Chemistry
    Focus on the first of several fundamental classes of reactions youíll encounter throughout this course: the proton transfer reaction. Youíll learn the three classifications of acids and bases; the Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, and Lewis definitions; how chemists predict proton transfer reaction outcomes; two kinds of intramolecular proton transfer reactions; and more. x
  • 6
    Stereochemistry-Molecular Handedness
    Make sense of a crucial concept in organic chemistry: the handedness of molecules, or, as chemists call it, ìchirality.î Topics include the definition of chiral tetrahedral centers; the creation of stereoisomer sets via inversion of handedness; and intriguing examples of stereoisomers (including enantiomers and double-bonded stereoisomers) and their unique chiral centers. x
  • 7
    Alkanes-The Simplest Hydrocarbons
    Start examining various classes of organic compounds with alkanes, whose hydrocarbons consist entirely of hydrogen and carbon. How can a few simple carbon atoms lead to millions of possible alkane structures? How does structure affect their physical properties? And what curious role did they play in 19th-century whaling? x
  • 8
    Cyclic Alkanes
    Turn now to cyclic alkanes, in which the closing of a loop of carbons forms a whole new class of alkanes with properties all their own. As you learn more about this new class of hydrocarbons, youíll cover the phenomenon of ring strain, the equilibrium between chair conformers, and bicyclic hydrocarbons. x
  • 9
    Alkenes and Alkynes
    How can pi bonds change the chemistry of hydrocarbons? How did one of the greatest rivalries in chemistry lead to an understanding of trends in stability among regio- and stereoisomers with the same molecular formula? Why do terminal alkynes have such unusual acidity? Professor Davis has the answers to these and other questions. x
  • 10
    Alkyl Halides
    Explore alkyl halides, hydrocarbons where one or more hydrogen atoms are replaced by a halogen atom. Youíll examine how larger halogen atoms decrease the volatility of alkyl halides compared to their alkane counterparts (which radically changed the science of refrigeration). Youíll also learn about the reactivity of alkyl halides and the phenomenon of carbocation rearrangements. x
  • 11
    Substitution Reactions
    Investigate substitution reactions: one of the fundamental mechanisms by which one compound becomes another. The simple molecules youíve encountered so far can be altered in targeted ways and once you understand how these reactions work, Professor Davis says youíve reached ìa palpable threshold in the study of organic chemistry.î x
  • 12
    Elimination Reactions
    Cover the second class of organic reaction: eliminations, the primary method for producing alkenes. As youíll learn, elimination reactions proceed with the production of a byproduct formed by the leaving group; in contrast to substitution reactions, they involve a significant increase in entropy because they make more molecules than they consume. x
  • 13
    Addition Reactions
    Complete your mastery of the trifecta of fundamental organic reactions with a lecture on addition, which adds new groups to unsaturated molecules by sacrificing pi bonds for more stable sigma bonds. Youíll explore the basics of addition reactions; the hydrogenation of alkenes and alkines; the ways addition has helped create food additives; and much more. x
  • 14
    Alcohols and Ethers
    In this lecture, consider the important role of oxygen in organic chemistry. Among the topics youíll learn about here: the oxygen atom in sp3 hybridization states; techniques for synthesizing alcohols and ethers; and methods for activating alcohols into more reactive leaving groups (specifically sulfonate esters, phosphinate esters, and tosylates). x
  • 15
    Aldehydes and Ketones
    Continue exploring oxygenís role in organic chemistry. Here, Professor Davis introduces you to the properties and reactivity of two simple carbonyl compounds: aldehydes and ketones. What do we know about these oxygen-containing compounds and their chemistry? And whatís their curious connection with how you feel after a night of heavy drinking? x
  • 16
    Organic Acids and Esters
    Carboxylic acids and esters are two oxygen-containing compounds that possess multiple oxygen atoms with different hybridization states. First, look at two ways to prepare carboxylic acids. Then, examine how Fischer esterification produces esters. Finally, learn about retrosynthetic analysis, a tool that helps organic chemists address synthetic challenges. x
  • 17
    Amines, Imines, and Nitriles
    Turn now to nitrogen, which has played an important role in the chemistry of life since it began. Learn the chemistry of primary, secondary, and tertiary amines, the simplest of nitrogen-containing compounds. Also, consider imines (containing a pi-bond to nitrogen) and nitriles (where two pi bonds are present), including the simplest and most well-known nitrile: hydrogen cyanide. x
  • 18
    Nitrates, Amino Acids, and Amides
    Nitroglycerine, dynamite, TNT. What do these explosives have in common? They all contain highly reactive compounds that combine nitrogen and oxygen in organics. Look closely at these and other materials in this in-depth lecture on functional groups containing nitrogen and oxygen that covers everything from nitrate esters to trinitrotoluene to amino acids. x
  • 19
    Conjugation and the Diels-Alder Reaction
    Start by examining the phenomenon of conjugation involving multiple, resonating pi bonds and the extra stability that they endow on organic compounds. Then, explore two reactions (including one that resulted in a Nobel Prize) involved in conjugated diene reactivity. Finally, spend some time investigating the relationship between frontier molecular orbits and thermally activated reactions. x
  • 20
    Benzene and Aromatic Compounds
    Get better acquainted with benzene and a class of compounds known as aromatics, as well as the role aromaticity plays in dictating the acid-base properties of organics. Also, learn about polynuclear aromatics, buckminsterfullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and carbon fibersóall at the forefront of cutting-edge research going on in labs around the world. x
  • 21
    Modifying Benzene-Aromatic Substitution
    Build on your understanding of aromatics by investigating a very useful class of reactions: electrophilic aromatic substitution. Whatís the general mechanism by which these reactions occur? What are some of the many modifications chemists can make to benzeneóand how can these already modified benzenes be further modified? What role did this reaction play in the synthesis of one of the most infamous organic compounds of all time, DDT? x
  • 22
    Sugars and Carbohydrates
    Start taking a more biologically oriented look at the foundations of organic chemistry by investigating compounds known as carbohydrates. Examine Fischer projections of their two main classes, aldoses and ketoses; learn how cyclic sugars help create disaccharides and polysaccharides used in everything from fruit preserves to body armor; and more. x
  • 23
    DNA and Nucleic Acids
    Professor Davis introduces you to ribose, the central component of both RNA and DNA. Starting from individual molecules and motifs, youíll progressively work your way up toward a full model for the structure of the sub-units involved in our genetic code. This lecture is proof of organic chemistryís powerful role in establishing who you are. x
  • 24
    Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins
    Proteins make up 20 percent of your bodyís mass. They mediate almost every chemical reaction in the human body, and theyíre found in everything from medicine to detergents. Here, make sense of the intricate, beautiful structures and interactions of proteins. Also, take a peek at how theyíre created in labs for further study. x
  • 25
    Metals in Organic Chemistry
    Probe the connections between biology and metals with this lecture on some compounds and reactions in the field of organometallic chemistry. As youíll quickly learn, organometallics have a range of practical applications; one example youíll encounter is Dotarem, an organometallic compound used to help detect tumors in cancer patients. x
  • 26
    Synthetic Polymers
    Complete your survey of organic compounds with the largest organic molecules of all: polymers. To better understand this versatile class of compounds, youíll learn about the two general classes of polymers (addition and condensation), how theyíre designed, and how theyíve changed the world (one example: vulcanized rubber). x
  • 27
    UV-Visible Spectroscopy
    How do organic chemists actually prove the behavior of molecules and chemical structures youíve learned about in the preceding lectures? The answer: spectroscopy, which entails the observation of the interaction between matter and light. In the first of several lectures on the topic, focus specifically on observations made with the UV-visible spectrum. x
  • 28
    Infrared Spectroscopy
    Transition to the other side of the visible spectrum and discover how infrared spectroscopy provides chemists with different information about structures. In doing so, youíll come to see molecular structures in a new light: not as rigid constructs but as dynamic, vibrating frameworks with bonds that can stretch and bend. x
  • 29
    Measuring Handedness with Polarimetry
    Continue your in-depth look at spectroscopy with a focus on the plane polarization of light, and the ability of chiral molecules to rotate plane-polarized light. Who discovered this scientific phenomenon? How is it observed, and with what specific tools? Find out in this lecture that deftly blends science and history. x
  • 30
    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
    Visit the radio portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for insights into how tiny, atom-sized magnets in organic molecules interact with radio waves (and each other) to produce a complex set of magnetic resonancesówhich are one of the gold-standard identification tools used in modern organic chemistry. Topics include Zeeman splitting, magnetic spin-spin coupling, and multiplets. x
  • 31
    Advanced Spectroscopic Techniques
    In this final lecture on spectroscopic techniques, discover the importance of modern NMR spectrometers, which use superconducting magnets and radio receivers to collect spectra with more speed and precision (and in different ways) than other techniques. Also, get an intriguing lesson in the human elementóand limitationsóinvolved in spectroscopy. x
  • 32
    Purifying by Recrystallization
    How are organic materials purified for both study and practical use? One staple technique is recrystallization, which relies on the tendency of organic molecules to form highly ordered crystals. Topics here include the effect of impurities on organic crystalline solids; the phenomenon of incongruent melting; and more. x
  • 33
    Purifying by Distillation
    Another purification method is distillation, used for producing potable water, refining oil, and more. First, examine the fundamental laws governing this influential chemical technique. Then, get a closer look at distillation apparatuses commonly used for vaporization and condensation. Finally, learn about azeotropesómixtures of liquids that are impossible to distill. x
  • 34
    Purifying by Extraction
    Discover how solubility makes for an extremely effective tool for isolating non-volatile organic compounds through liquid-liquid and solid-liquid extractions (part of a larger phenomenon known as partitioning). As you delve into these processes, youíll learn one way to better understand extractions: making a perfect cup of tea. x
  • 35
    Purifying by Chromatography
    Chromatographyóin which partitioning between stationary and mobile phases leads to predictable rates of movement for compoundsóis one of the most powerful separation techniques ever developed. And, when done properly, it allows chemists to isolate almost anything they can imagine. Witness a technique at the core of Professor Davisís laboratory experience. x
  • 36
    The Future of Organic Chemistry
    Finish the course by peering into the future of this fascinating field. How can groundbreaking chemical advancements help us stave off global famineóand even help us live on other planets? By exploring questions like these, youíll truly understand how organic chemistry can help us build a better world. x

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  • Download 36 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 296-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 296-page course synopsis
  • Photos, illustrations & diagrams
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Ron B. Davis Jr.

About Your Professor

Ron B. Davis Jr., Ph.D.
Georgetown University
Dr. Ron B. Davis, Jr. is an Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry at Georgetown University, where he has been teaching introductory organic chemistry laboratories since 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to teaching chemistry at the undergraduate level, Professor Davis spent several years as a pharmaceutical research and development chemist. Professor Davis’s...
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Foundations of Organic Chemistry is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 82.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from VERY DETAILED The lecturer is very well informed with excellent graphics. I was not expecting to get into the weeds as much as this course does. I am well educated in engineering with only a casual contact with organic chemistry. I was expecting more of an overview than this detailed study.
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Nice catchy title I bought this for a person that is interested in Chemistry, I have not even given it to them yet.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very accurate description I love it!! Although I have recently taken a chemistry course in college, this course actually help to put many of things I have already learned into perspective. I also subscribe to the "The Great Corses Sigature Subscription Channel," and I also love those. Michelle
Date published: 2018-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent teacher and course This probably is the best course in math and science that has been produced. The lessons review the basic chemistry so you are not left behind. Caution you must have had a good chemistry course to even begin this course. Evaluate your knowledge before trying the course.
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well organized I always wanted to learn more about organic chemistry. This course provides an excellent opportunity to learn the basics of organic chemistry.
Date published: 2018-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good graphics and explainations As I chemist with formal training 40 years ago, it is a very nice refresher.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from for gifted children, a must have Just ordered two more copies for each of my youngest kids, kids. This is the purpose of grandma's, get them ready to take the Merit Scholarship testing, etc.
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from right on! I bought this to learn more about bonding in DNA and related chemical bonds. I found what I was looking for.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from General Suggestions 1. Provide full transcript of lectures not just course outline. 2. Choose more scholars of religious literature that allow for the possibility that what it teaches could validly be interpreted as true. 3. My wife buys me courses under her account, and I have course under my separate account. How can they be merged?
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Davis is excellent. I'm only up to lecture 9 but Professor Davis is well organized and his presentation is clear. The visuals are well done. It is clear from the presentation that the viewer is expected to have had basic college chemistry and ideally, organic chemist. That could be said for all of your university level academic courses. I personally benefit from the inclusion of history and persons in any science or mathematics course. It helps me retain the scientific or mathematical content.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Difficult I admit that I watched only seven or eight of the lectures. They were over my head and I'm not really qualified to say how useful this course would be to someone with a chemistry background. I'm reviewing only to point out that this course, unlike the other science courses from The Great Courses, requires a background in chemistry. My 14-year old niece is interested in the sciences, and though this course is not good place to start, I'll pass it on to her if she really does pursue science.
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too Abstract for the Uninitiated I worked through this course four times. I also bought "Chemistry and Our Universe" same professor. I discovered that after working through Chemistry and Our Universe, the Organic Chemistry course made a lot of sense. However, the Organic Chemistry course devotes 18 lecture to foundation which are never placed into context with graphics and examples from the real world. Emphasis is on notation, atomic and molecular structure, both as abstractions with no or scant real real examples and lacking visual aids. This course is fantastic for anyone working in the industry, working for a chemist, or scientist in a capacity where knowledge of every scientific chemical notation would be required. To state this is for the so-called 'uninitiated student' is totally not true. I still believe it is a superior reference course, and having it to look up material is very valuable to me. I wish it had been presented in the same manner as his newer course Chemistry and Our Universe, with graphics, and real world examples of the various molecular substances presented.
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1.5 years packed into 36 lectures I learned more in these 36 lectures than I did in an entire 3 semesters of organic chemistry taught at the Bachelor of Science level. Dr. Davis is excellent and does a great job of breaking down a difficult subject into understandable lectures.
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Organic Chemistry explained so we can understand Review of Foundations of Organic Chemistry by Ron Davis 5 Star Very good. Extensive coverage of most major topics in Organic Chemistry. Clear, enthusiastic & knowledgeable speaker. Looks at the TV, feels like he is looking at me & interested in explaining many concepts directly to me. Has very good, and unusual graphics, including holograms in 3 D. Good meaningful demonstrations, clearly explained. Viewer should have some background in general chemistry before. Not designed for audio. Some people fear such a course. This should dispel any fear & I found great excitement about the subject. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation I am 70 years old. I received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1968. I have a Doctor of Optometry degree. I have had faculty positions at Washington University St. Louis School of Medicine and the University of Missouri, St. Louis School of Optometry. I appreciate excellent teaching. I would recommend this course for every college level Chemistry student as an adjunct to the classroom curriculum. The course allows you to delve into the details while maintaining the overall view of the subject matter. Well done.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My error - I needed "fundamentals" I have taken about six dozen of the Great Courses and this is the first I am sending back. The scope of the course, the level of detail, the organic chemistry language and the rapidity of the material covered were too much for me. Back in my days I did well and enjoyed college chemistry but that is not enough background to prepare me for this course. Please note that I have rated the course 5 stars everywhere. The fact that I couldn't keep up does not justify my evaluation being anything other than 5 stars. The computer generated visuals are stunning. The professor knows his material and knows how to present it. If one has studied organic chemistry, this course would be a stroll down memory lane with the GC visuals being a bonus. If one is taking college organic chemistry, I would think this course would be a powerful adjunct and the GC visuals enlightening. If one is a "civilian" to organic chemistry as am I, I can't recommend it. Metaphorically speaking I have asked the bus driver for a transfer ticket and am waiting at the bus stop for an organic chemistry course whose title would contain words like "fundamentals", organic chemistry 101, and/or "for dummies". My thirst is not quenched.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Organic chemistry I got these videos a couple months ago. They helped me a lot with my organic chemistry 1 course. I like the digital copy because I can watch it anywhere on my phone.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from optimizing brain fitness I have yet to begin the chemistry course for i am in the process of updating the internet . However i have begun optimizing Brain Fitness and will say thank you. For busy adults these courses allow the Plasticity of the brain to occur.See i am reading the material!
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You're going to love it! I just finished the course. The value of the course and my enjoyment of it exceeded my expectations. If you love chemistry you'll really enjoy this course. Prof. Davis is a great teacher. He makes being a science nerd "cooler" then those other guys. If he produced more courses I'd buy them. Keep it up Ron! Farmer Dave, MD.
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from organic chemistry Good course but a real stretch for me as I am much older and went to school 60+ years ago.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very engaging for myself and my 17 yr. old daughte My 17 yr. old homeschooled daughter chose this course, and has been watching it with rapt attention. I joined her for a lecture to see what I thought, as I enjoyed chemistry in high school, and found myself not willing to walk away! I'm enjoying the course very much.
Date published: 2016-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good, no nonsense bottom up course This is my first peep into the world of organic Chemistry. Prior to this course I did take the other major TGC course on chemistry - “The nature of matter…” which did very well in refreshing my high-school level chemistry and served me well in this course as well. The course was fantastic! Professor Davis did a splendid job in explaining, from the ground up, the basics of organic chemistry. He then built upon this basic foundation building upon this basic knowledge more and more layers of complexity. The lectures always started with a historical overview of the main characters that were involved with the major discoveries of the phenomena that are going to be covered in the lecture, and then promptly dived into technical and in depth explanation of organic chemistry. Although these soft entrances were interesting and worthwhile, their addition to the lecture seemed a bit synthetic. I’m still glad they were added though… The technical aspects of the lectures were very well done. Professor Davis is a very clear presenter and seemed extremely enthusiastic about the subject matter and the opportunity to teach it. And the lectures were well structured and thought out. They are heavily laden with content and one must constantly pay attention lest critical information be missed and make the ongoing discussion hard to follow. It occasionally felt like the goal of teaching so much organic chemistry in thirty-six lectures is just too challenging and one must use other resources in order to be able to fully follow along… Indeed, after reading the reviews I understand that other reviewers who have taken organic chemistry courses in the past came to the same conclusion and used textbooks to follow along. The visual tools are crucial for understanding the course and they were extremely well made. I can’t imagine being able to understand organic chemistry without these models. My training is in Physics, and this background definitely came in handy in almost all of the lectures; the lectures about analyzing organic compounds using optical absorption techniques are a prime example. I believe that this background, though helpful, is not necessary for understanding the course. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in the subject. Overall this has been a tremendously enjoyable and mind broadening course for me, and I am very glad I decided to take the time to view it.
Date published: 2016-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Foundations of Organic Chemistry This is an excellent course. I studied General Chemistry many years ago, approx. 1980-1981, and chemisty always stayed with me that I wanted to learn more especially about Organic Chemistry. I am an older adult and love the idea of just learning for the sheer enjoyment of it. Professor Ron Davis is excellent. Can't say enough good about this most interesting subject and also the professor. Thank you very much.
Date published: 2016-08-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Foundations of Organic Chem: No 'Big Picture' The course dives directly into the details of chemical structures and various compounds. It's biggest failing is that it does not provide a foundation of Rules that the 'student' can apply generally. As a result I found it tedious and without much value.
Date published: 2016-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Foundations of Organic Chemistry Dr. Davis is a great teacher. He uses clear, simple examples to illuminate what for many of us is a very difficult subject area.
Date published: 2016-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Organic Chemistry This is a good basic course for anyone wanting to study Organic Chemistry. The instructor presents the information in an easy and straight forward format that is clear and readily understood. It is a great beginning for anyone just starting in the field of study. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2016-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fine content and presentation; overproduced The lecturer is knowledgeable, well-organized and clear, and that's very valuable. But the course is over-produced. The latest tech is fine to enhance visuals. But I dislike the magician-like hand-waving that the professor sometimes does when the image of a formula emerges over a table, the frequent sound effects inserted to convey transitions, and the video of the professor that is often inset on part of the screen when the sole focus should be the information being displayed on the screen. Show the professor or show the graphic, but not both simultaneously. I also don't see why the professor keeps rotating around the room; but it seems that professors do the same thing in other courses, like one on the French Revolution and Napoleon. I have more experience with audio-only versions of the Teaching Company's courses. But, visually, I prefer the approach in "Understanding the Human Body," with Goodman just sitting in front of his monitor and notes. The camera angle changes, but Goodman doesn't bounce around. Interest in a college-level exposition of a subject has to be assumed. The cause of communicating the information is not helped by flourishes that have nothing to do with it and tend to distract. What will engage or fail to engage the student is the lecturer's content and how he clearly and engagingly he presents it.
Date published: 2016-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Professor speak up. A fascinating and intriguing course in general but the Professor does mumble on occasion therefore is difficult to understand at times. The video clips graphics and animations are excellent, however and this Course is still worthy of a recommendation.
Date published: 2016-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Overview But you need lots more I come from a background of writing/designing adult industrial training programs for teaching machines and classrooms. It is WONDERFUL that Dr. Davis' course exists, but it does not teach organic chemistry as, for example, Dr. Dorian-Ross's course teaches Tai Chi, in small steps with you learning each step and repeating it. Dr. Davis' course is overwhelmingly quick, a gigantic information dump, with little attention to slow steps, repetition, and (even imaginary) feedback from students. "Here is the information, it is up to you to learn it." You need both Dr. Davis' course AND background materials to study to actually learn organic chemistry. I am personally trying viewing Dr. Davis' course lessons as an overview, then studying the background materials McMurry is listed in Dr. Davis' course materials), then going back to the course as a refresher. Materials I am using are : Organic Chemistry 8th Edition by John E. McMurry Study Guide with Student Solutions Manual for McMurry's Organic Chemistry, 9th Edition by John E. McMurry Pushing Electrons by Daniel P. Weeks A Short History of Chemistry: Third Edition (Dover Books on Chemistry) Third Edition Edition by J. R. Partington Actually I'm using 6th editions of the two McMurray books as they get more and more expensive the newer they get. You will notice that the "Pushing Electrons" book/course is done is a format that actually elicits a response from you, it is a sort of programmed instruction workbook. If Dr. Davis' video course could somehow incorporate this it would actually teach much more. But, of course it would be prohibitively long. But even with the above materials, learning the material presented in this video course takes/will take a long time, perhaps years. McMurry's wife, Susan McMurry, who wrote the Study Guides up to the 7th Edition, said in an introduction something to the effect of "many students even after completing the course do not understand organic chemistry."
Date published: 2016-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Learning Experience I am not a chemistry person...never took chemistry in school but was very interested in learning about organic chemistry. The course is exceptionally well presented. The app worked perfectly and was very easy for me to go back over some things as it was presented so that I could understand it. It is college level and not for children. The visuals were really well done using 'hologram' presentations to make visualization much easier. I have viewed half of the course so far and am eager to view the rest. For me I will certainly watch the entire course again picking up things I am probably missing the first time through. The instructor, Professor Davis, is very good. Highly qualified Ph.D. and thoroughly professional in presentation (NOT dull, dry, professorial).
Date published: 2016-01-28
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