(1) Student choses and reads a journal article of his/her choice that is related to a topic we have discussed during the semester. (i.e. atomic structure, MO theory, group theory, solid state structure, band theory, coordination chemistry, organometallics, catalysis). Suggested journals include, but are not limited to JACS, Inorg. Chem., Organometallics, Angew. Chem., JOMC, Chem. Comm.)
(2) Student answers the following questions regarding their chosen article:
(a) Describe, in 1 or 2 sentences the goal of this work.
(b) Define the primary topic(s) from our course that relate to this work.
(c) Do you feel the authors achieved their goal? Why or why not?
(d) What questions remained about the work?
(3) Student prepares a brief (~15 min) PowerPoint (or equivalent program) presentation describing the article. The question set should aid the student in developing the presentation.
(4) Students are encouraged to ask questions following each other student’s presentation.
• Students will improve their overall reading comprehension with regards to chemical literature.
• Students will be able to identify the relationship between current chemical literature and key concepts in inorganic chemistry.
• Students will improve their ability to present chemical research in a concise but detailed manner.
• Students will become critical observers of other’s presentations, being able to formulate and ask insightful questions.
I have this assignment due the last few days of the semester. It may be valuable for the students to see the professor summarize an article in this manner first, although I do not do this. It may be valuable to make the journal articles available to the other students prior to the presentations. This might help them formulate insightful questions for the presenters.
I typically weight this assignment as one-half of an exam, i.e. 50 points when exams are worth 100 points each. The question should be worth a portion, perhaps 10 points with the remaining points coming from the presentation. Another option could be, if it would be appropriate for your class, to dedicate a few points to students preparing questions of other presenters. For large classes, they need not all be asked, but simply handed in to you prior to each presentation. then YOU could ask a few of them. As far as a rubric for the presentations, this could vary greatly. I typically count off for things like incorrect information, extremely vague descriptions, or very weak question answering. Specific deductions may vary. Other evaluation options could include student evaluations on each other's presentations, giving a post-presentation quiz (covering all presentations), or possibly including questions on the final exam over the presentations.
I generally give good grades for this assignment if I can tell the students put in an appropriate amount of work. Students tend to enjoy this assignment (more so after completing it, of course), as they can truly take ownership of their work. They seem to have a good sense of accomplishment after tackling a difficult journal article and breaking it down so they can understand it.