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Rice University

Chemistry: Concept Development and Application

Rice University via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


This course will cover an introduction to the atomic molecular structure of matter, similar to a typical first semester General Chemistry course.  The fundamental concepts will be introduced via the Concept Development Approach developed at Rice University and utilizing a free on-line textbook, Concept Development Studies in Chemistry, available via Rice’s Connexions project.  In this approach, rather than simply telling you the concepts you need to know and then asking you to memorize them or apply them, we will develop these concepts from experimental observations and scientific reasoning.  There are several reasons for using this approach.  One reason is that most of us our inductive learners, meaning that we like to make specific observations and then generalize from there.  Many of the most significant concepts in Chemistry are counter-intuitive.  When we see where those concepts come from, we can more readily accept them, explain them, and apply them. A second reason is that scientific reasoning in general and Chemistry reasoning in particular are inductive processes.  This Concept Development approach illustrates those reasoning processes.  A third reason is that this is simply more interesting.  The structure and reactions of matter are fascinating puzzles to be solved by observation and reasoning.  It is more fun intellectually when we can solve those puzzles together, rather than simply have the answers to the riddles revealed at the outset.


Course Outline
  1. The Atomic Molecular Theory
  2. Atomic Masses and Molecular Formulae
  3. The Structure of an Atom
  4. The Electron Shell Model of an Atom
  5. Quantum Electron Energy Levels in an Atom
  6. Electron Orbitals and Electron Configurations in Atoms
  7. Covalent Bonding and Electron Pair Sharing
  8. Molecular Structures
  9. Energy and Polarity of Covalent Chemical Bonds
  10. Bonding in Metals and Metal-Non-Metals Salts
  11. Molecular Geometry
  12. Measuring Energy Changes in Chemical Reactions
  13. Reaction Energy and Bond Energy

Taught by

John Steven Hutchinson


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