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© 1997 Rainer Glaser. All rights reserved.
The University of Missouri at Columbia, Chemistry 416, Organic Spectroscopy, FS97

Collaborative Learning
in Chemical Learning Communities

Project #2: Creation of Problem Assignments


Good problems dealing with advanced 1-dimensional pulse sequences or with 2-dimensional NMR techniques are hard to find. It is the purpose of this group project to create one such problem. You will have to present the problem assignment orally to the class after the class had some opportunity to work on the problem. The presentation should begin with an explanation of the context in which you want to place the assignment, should be followed by a clear definition of the assignment, and then continue with a concise and precise discussion of a reasonable strategy to solve the assignment based on the information and spectra provided on the assignment sheet. The project will be evaluated via peer review after the oral presentation.


(1) Read the current literature (1994ff) and search for papers that employ advanced 1-dimensional pulse sequences or 2-dimensional NMR methods for the identification of organic compounds. Consider only top-notch peer-reviewed not-for-profit research journals so as to assure the highest quality.

(2) Identify one paper that you think illustrates an important point about an important method very well.

(3) Create a problem assignment based on this paper. Submit this problem assignment in electronic form along with a write-up (also in electronic form) detailing the process of the collaborative process.

(4) Present the problem and its solution to the class. Defend your presentation and face evaluation via peer review.

Submission of Write-ups

Your write-up of the problem assignment needs to be emailed to the instructor as an attachment and thsi write-up will consist in two separate parts. Part I contains the information about the groups identity and the groups actions and dynamics. Part II of the write-up consists in the created problem assignment. Incomplete submissions will be returned by electronic mail with comments as to what additions and improvements are required. The display of spectra is essential to this project and the necessary spectra should be scanned. You may want to edit the scanned images with a graphics editor to adapt presentation of the spectra to your needs. The write-ups can be prepared in either of two formats.

HTML Format. If you have expertise at writing HTML (hypertext mark-up language), then please submit your report as two html file with the names "group_n_project2_PI.html" and "group_n_project2_PII.html" where n is the number of your group. If you created any files that you want to link to the problem assignemnt page, start the names of these files all with "group_n_" and include these files as attachements as well. For example, this write-up contains images of spectra and these have to be supplied as GIF or JPEG files. In the end, I would like to have the group_n_project2_PI.html and group_n_project2_PII.html files together with all its local links in the Chemistry 416 site (for archival purposes).

WORD Format. You can email two WORD file to me that contain parts I and II. I will convert these files into a PDF files and post these file on the web. The submitted WORD files should be all inclusive, that it, they should contain all text as well as images of spectra.

The write-up of the project must contain the following information. Please stick closely to the sequence. Also, you should review the peer review instructions for this assignment before you write your report.

Part I: Group Identity, Actions & Dynamics. (Limited to 2 pages, line spacing 1.5 lines.)

(1) Group Name

(2) Group Members
The names of all group members and their e-mail addresses in the format Last Name, First Name, e-mail address with one entry per line.

(3) Group Meetings
Description as to how often the group has met to work on the Chemistry 416 Group Project #2. Include information as to where you have met. Include accurate estimates of the time spend in each meeting.

(4) Group Dynamics
Briefly describe experiences made while working on this project with the group. How useful was the group in the quest to identify a suitable paper on which to base the problem set? How many papers did you consider before you decided your selection? How many journals did you browse in the process? Mention advantages and be frank about problemes you encountered. Comment as to whether the collaborative learning went beyond working on the Chemistry 416 Group Project. Do you think you benefited on a personal level from the interactions you have had with your peers while creating the problem set? Do you think that the creation of a problem set has increased your analysis of the paper? Conclude by stating whether you would want to engage in such group activities again.

Part II: Project Title. (Limited to 3 pages, text with line spacing of 1.5 lines)

The project title should describe what type of NMR method is being used for what purpose. Use this title as the headline to the problem set. Leave one blank line after the headline and then give an authorline containing the names of the students in your group in alphabetical order. Leave two blank lines after the authorline.

The introduction should contain a complete reference to the paper on which the problem is based (use correct ACS format for the citation) and the first paragraph should contain a brief synopsis of the general goal of the paper (with chemical formulas). The second paragraph of the introduction should identify the specific problem which required the application of the special NMR method for its solution.

The spectrocopy section should contain the spectrum (or spectra) and relevant spectroscopic detail that suffice to answer the specific problem posed in the second paragraph of the introduction.

The question section should contain 5 questions that inquire about clarification of technical know-how, seek interpretation of the spectroscopic data given in the spectroscopy section and, finally, request a solution to the specific problem given. Read the section (vide infra) describing various types of questions. Your 5 questions should contain questions that belong to at least three different categories. In your write-up identify the question category for each question you create.

The class will be required to work the problem described in Part II of the write up prior to the presentation.

Types of Questions To Consider

Identification of Components and Relationships (ICR)
Questions in this category seek to emphasize pertinent pieces of information in the assignment. Questions of this type require the reader to identify essential pieces of information and identify their logical value (hypothesis, assumption, deduction, rationale, ...).

Seeking Clarification (SCL)
Questions that fall in this category seek closer definition of material or clarifying background information.

Reasoning Using Quantitative Data (RQD)
Questions in this category require the interpretation of spectra, graphs, tables, and figures or the manipulation of data therein.

Evaluation Process (EVL)
Questions in this category require judgement as to whether the conclusions is justfied by the evidence and whether the given interpretation is the only one interpretation possible. Questions in this category assess credibility.

Flexibility and Adaptability of Scientific Reasoning (FAR)
Questions in this category require the extension of concepts and information presented to unfamiliar situations. Questions of this sort often are useful to assess whether "the point really came across".

Presentation and Defense

Towards the end of the semester your group will have to present the problem to the class. At the time of presentation the class will have had sufficient time to study the problem you created and, if necessary and desired, to go back to the original paper to catch up on background information. The presentation should begin with the explanation of the problem and continue with the discussion of a reasonable strategy to solve the assignment based on the information and spectra provided on the assignment sheet. Answer the questions you asked and explain why you think these questions are particularly useful ones to ask. The presentation will be followed by audience questions.

Your group may organize the presentation in any way you like. You can have one speaker or you can have different speakers for different parts. A group of three might decide to have one session chair and discussion leader, one person presenting the paper and the problem derived from it, and the third person handling the discussion of the answers to the questions.

Relevant Dates and Deadlines

Approval of Topic Selection. Anytime.

Submission of Report. Friday, November 14, 1997. Extended to Monday, November 17, 1997, by midnight, due to Cume examination. NO NEW OR REVISED ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THIS DATE. If your complete assignment is not received by this date, all members of the group are assigned scores of zero.

Submission of Evaluations. Friday, December 5, 1997. Oral presentations will be scheduled prior to this date and evaluations should be submitted after the presentation has taken place.

Posting of Final Results of Group Project #2. Monday, December 8, 1997.

Absolument mon ami, l'excellence est une habitude.