Organic Chemistry

The Best of the AAMC Pre-health Collection & Call for Submissions
Organic Chemistry Teaching & Learning Resources
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has developed the Pre-health Collection (PHC) within
MedEdPORTAL’s iCollaborative. In the PHC, free learning resources are readily accessible for student and
faculty use. With its online format, the PHC serves as a forum where instructors can share, rate, refer and
access a wide variety of teaching and learning tools organized by seven content areas: biochemistry,
biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, psychology and sociology. Pedagogical tools include
worksheets, case studies, homework problem sets, animations, webpages, videos, and other instructional
resources and the content includes resources for both lower and upper level study. The PHC also includes
videos and problems sets developed in collaboration with Khan Academy.
Below is a sampling of some of the excellent, diverse resources
currently available in the area of ORGANIC CHEMISTRY:
Spectral Zoo (Jennifer Muzyka, Centre College)
When teaching spectroscopy it often is challenging to find lots of examples to present to a class for
practice. Spectral Zoo is a site where teachers can project high quality IR and proton NMR spectra of
compounds to students for the purpose of structural identification. There are 78 compounds to identify
(formulas provided) with 13 or fewer carbons. One can easily zoom a particular region of a spectrum, and
can adjust (normalize) the integration as necessary to match the number of hydrogens in the formula.
After solving the problem the teacher (or a student doing homework) can click for a jsmol structure of the
compound than can be easily oriented for easy viewing.
Mastering Organic Chemistry (James Ashenhurst, McGill University),
A collection of resources for both students and teachers of organic chemistry, this site covers a variety of
topics from both semesters of a year-long course. In addition to having lecture notes (and sometimes
videos) for the majority of topics in both organic I and organic II, there are also sections entitled “getting
started”, “study and exam tips”, and an immense collection of reaction guides and summary sheets. Both
the reaction guides (e.g. reduction of aldehydes) and the summary sheets (e.g. alcohols) require payment
to access the full collection, but a few are available on the site for free.
Stereochemistry Tutorial (Nicola Burrmann, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Tutorial is in the title, and that is what this is: a tutorial on all aspects of stereochemistry, from providing
basic definitions (chirality, enantiomers, optical activity, etc.), to the numerous ways there are to draw
molecules and communicate stereochemistry (wedge-dash, Newman, sawhorse, Fischer, and Hayworth
diagrams), and how to assign priorities for determining absolute stereochemistry. There are numerous
examples / practice problems that students can work on, or which instructors can use in class one step at a
time. The best part is that at there are four separate 15-question quizzes available to test one’s knowledge
and understanding!
Organic Chemistry, on ChemWiki (UC-Davis)
ChemWiki is an NSF sponsored open-access textbook environment that covers all areas of chemistry. The
organic chemistry section provides in-depth information on all traditional functional groups (nomenclature,
properties, reactions, and synthesis), and includes a set of 78 named reactions, spectroscopy tutorials (IR,
NMR, MS, UV-Vis), types of reactions (addition, substitution, elimination, radical, rearrangement, redox),
and a substantial coverage of the logic of organic synthesis (with numerous worked out published
examples), among others. As this is open-access, the content is being written and re-written by students
and faculty, thus some of the content is incomplete.
Organic Chemistry at CU Boulder (University of Colorado, Boulder)
This site looks like a traditional course website, but there is so much here! There are exam archives (with
answer keys) for both organic I and II accessible for students and faculty alike to use for study (or choosing
exam questions). There is also an impressive section, under the “Lab Technique” tab, covering lab safety,
chemical information, lab equipment, and procedures and techniques (for example, how to perform
crystallization, or a GC analysis), and each topic is concluded with an online quiz. The lab safety section
covers (among others) use of fire extinguishers, handling chemical waste, and a link to CU Boulder’s fun and
informative YouTube video on organic lab safety.
HW / Exam Questions for Acetals and Imines (Bruce Branan, Asbury University)
The PreHealth Collection is very interested in accepting and making available all levels of faculty-generated
teaching resources. This set of questions covers the basic definitions of acetals and imines, their
mechanisms of preparation (and hydrolysis), and interesting examples of where they appear in biological
compounds such as carbohydrates or nucleic acids. There are 20 questions, with a complete answer key
Call for Submissions in ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
The PHC welcomes submissions. Worksheets, case studies, homework problem sets, animations,
webpages, videos, and other instructional resources that will assist students and instructors are sought.
To submit, you can go to:
The submission process takes about 15-20 minutes with the bulk of the time dedicated to filling out
questions. To submit a resource, begin by setting up your own free AAMC account. Authors should read
the submission agreement which grants AAMC non-exclusive rights to display and promote the materials.
As part of the submission form, you will fill out facts pertaining to the title, authors, content and
information needed for successful indexing of the resource including format and indication of what
foundational concept is covered. Foundational concepts are fairly broad and are identified through pulldown menus on the submission form. After submission, the resource is reviewed for content by faculty
reviewers in each content area. Once the resource is approved, users can access its content and are
encouraged to offer feedback.
Prepared by:
Bruce Branan, Ph.D., Asbury University
Janet Hart, Ph.D., MCPHS University
Patricia Kreke, Ph.D., Mount St. Mary's University