27 Jun 2016

Student Oral Presentations of a Communication from the Primary Literature

Literature Discussion

Submitted by Carmen Works, Sonoma State University

In the humanities it is common practice to read a piece of literature and discuss it.  This is also practiced in science and is the purpose of this exercise.  Each student is assigned a communication from the current  literature (inorganic, JACS, organometallics, J. Phys. Chem) and the student presents this paper to the class.  The class will also have the opportunity to read the article prior to the presentation, and I post each paper on my LMS page.  The presenter will be responsible for explaining the paper, and leading a critical discussion.  This is not an easy assignment since these papers are filled with chemical jargon, but an important part of their chemical education is to be able to tackle the literature.  In addition a lot of this jargon is covered during the semester.



Learning Goals: 

·      Students will learn to read a paper from the primary literature

·      Students will learn to present the a paper from the primary literature

·      Students will learn to create a group discussion

·      Students will learn how to relate chemical jargon learned throughout the four years of chemistry to the literature

·      Students will learn how to answer exam questions from the primary literature


Implementation Notes: 

I hand out selected communications during the second week of class.  Students are allowed to swap papers. They have the entire semester to read the paper and prepare a talk but the talks are during the last 3 weeks of class.  Each student is give 25 min to present their paper to the class.  The assignment is graded using the attached rubric and is worth 15% of their final grade.  I selected about 7 exam questions for the final exam and ask students to answer 5 of these questions.  I try to structure the questions so that they don't have to "know" every paper.  I have attached an example of such a question.  

Evaluation Methods: 

see rubric that is attached 

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence


This assignment is given in an advanced inorganic chemistry course at the end of the semester.  The papers are handed out at the start of the semester so the students have the whole semester to read and reread their assigned paper.  The presenation of their paper is during the last 3 weeks of the course.  

I am teaching a course in Peru and I will adopt your assignment.  I will have to modify it since I only have 3 students.

Thank you for sharing your rubric.

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