How do we make organic chemistry teaching interesting, especially for students who are focusing on health sciences and not studying (bio)chemistry? In his Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Neil Garg, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, explains how he focuses his classes on problem solving and creativity.
Rather than simply encouraging students to learn the correct answers, Garg’s material allows for different plausible solutions. Student innovation is encouraged, not only in coming up with unexpected solutions to problems, but also in the production of music videos, which helps associate organic chemistry with fun and creativity, thus increasing student engagement.
Other examples of resources developed by Garg and his students include Biology and Chemistry Online Notes (BACON), the app Backside Attack, and qrchem.net, which enables QR codes for interactive 3D chemical structures to be included in lecture notes. Garg closes by pointing out that student creativity and innovation are key, and the results from this approach are among the highlights of his career.
- Empowering Students to Innovate: Engagement in Organic Chemistry Teaching,
Neil K. Garg,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018.