19 Jul 2012

Writing assignment series related to topics discussed in organometallic chemistry - Assignment 3 Literature Critique

Literature Discussion

Submitted by Abby O'Connor, The College of New Jersey
Categories
Description: 

Searching and reading the literature is an important tool in teaching organometallic chemistry. This overall project focuses on the improving students' writing skills and to begin to think critically about articles in the literature through a series of different writing assignments. This project is used in a semester long course on organometallics and reaction mechanisms. The first assignment (this LO) is a summary, the second is related to the NSF highlight, and the third is a literature critique. Each assignment is evenly spaced out through the semester. For VIPEr, This project has been broken down into smaller individual components that can be used piecewise in an inorganic course when discussing organometallics chemistry. All three projects will be linked together.

This  LO is the for the third part of the project, the literature summary. The student chooses a journal article from the literature that relates to the topic of oxidative addition/reductive elimination. The handout I provide to the students is attached below.

AttachmentSize
File Literature Assignment 3.docx95.25 KB
Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to:

properly cite outside literature using the ACS style

convey chemistry topics to different audiences 

relate topics taught in lecture to material presented in the literature

establish what new knowledge has been added to the field 

determine a journal's impact factor and understand the concept of impact factor

critically evaluate the literature 

Implementation Notes: 

Grading this assignment can be extremely time consuming, especially when you have a large class. I have the students upload their documents as word files and comment/track change to provide feedback as fast as I can. 

 

Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

This literature assignment is graded and I provide the student with a rubric that breaks down the point distribution. The rubric is attached.

 

Evaluation Results: 

I have done this writing assignment with 2 sections of Inorganic II classes, which were comprised of senior chemistry majors. The students struggle a bit with this assignment. They do enjoy looking at the literature and finding articles they are interested in reading but are linked to topics taught in this inorganic course.  The largest challenge most students face is determing strengths and weaknesses in the scienve presented. Most students are only capable in finding weaknesses in the writing style than in the science. I hope to improve this skill in the future.

In general, the students really appreciate my feedback (positive and negative) on writing assignments. The students' writing skills  did improve during the semester. Also, this was the only course in which students actively had to search the literature for a course at my institution. Many students commented about how useful these assignments were in my evaluations.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence

Comments

This year I changed this literature assignment to focus on an article related to a seminar speaker that was to attend TCNJ. This may have been a mistake as Hurricane Sandy prevented the seminar from occuring on our campus. (Chip can attest to this) Some students did attend the talk about another local institution. I hope to try this again in the future as it was a good way for the students to use the literature to better grasp the material at our seminars. 

I am attaching the assingment below. Most students summarized the article very well and were excited about the seminar (if we had it, it would have been better). 

I got half my class to travel to another institution to hear the same speaker. I highly recommend not having a hurricane when you plan events like this.

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