Preparation for General College Chemistry CRN 33505

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This is an online course

Summer Term: Course dates are March 23 - May 22, 2020

Instructor Contact Information:

Dr. Lara Baxley 

Student Help Hours:  TBA

In addition, you can set up a skype meeting by sending me an email to schedule an appointment.


Hello Students.  Welcome to Chem 201P Preparation for General College Chemistry.  This course is specifically designed for students who meet the prerequisites for Chem 201A General College Chemistry, but need additional preparation prior to enrolling in that course. Taking this course will strengthen your mathematical skills and problem solving abilities for material covered in your introductory or high school course. Enrollment requires earning C or better grades in a one year high school sequence or one term of college-level chemistry and algebra II.  This is a fully online class, which will take a certain amount of initiative on your part to make sure that you keep up with the pace of the class at times that fit your schedule. 

Time Commitment: 

The class is offered during the last 9 weeks in an online format. Even though it is a 2 unit class, because it is being taught in half the time of a regular term class, the commitment is more like that of a 4 unit class during a regular term.  This means that students should expect to spend 4 hours per week on "in class" activities - such as watching videos, reading Canvas pages, tutorials, quizzes, and exams - plus an additional 6-8 hours per week for "homework" activities - such as assignments, textbook reading, worksheets and other studying. 

Students should consider taking Chem 201P if they have met the general chemistry prerequisites AND:

  • Have had a significant time lapse since completing those courses (3 or more years),
  • Feel like their learning in the prerequisite course was insufficient,
  • Have attempted general chemistry and not passed due to not being prepared, OR
  • Need additional practice with mathematical skills and word problems.

Is Distance Learning for You? 

Before you enroll in a distance learning class, students need to make an honest assessment of their level of personal discipline and ability for independent learning style that an online course requires. You will be working on your own and teaching yourself with the help of computer software, internet forum discussion questions, tutorials, and videos. You have to be proficient with and enjoy working with computers. Please take the following exploratory Self-assessment survey Links to an external site. and judge for yourself.

Necessary Computer Equipment/Skills:

You must have a computer, either a PC with a recent version of Windows or a Mac, as well as internet access and e-mail. You can find specific requirements at the Technical FAQs pageLinks to an external site.. You will need an internet connection to complete the online lessons and access the course Canvas. Computer skills required are downloading and printing documents, using your Cuesta email account, accessing your Canvas account, uploading documents to Canvas, posting discussion questions, watching videos, and using the online homework system (TBD). Software and computer requirements for the online homework system will be posted.  Assistance with basic computer skills is not provided.  You must also have the ability on your computer or phone to scan a document as a pdf (there are free apps for phones).  Later in the semester, there will be an assignment to create a graph using Excel.  If you do not have Excel, there are computers in the library with Excel, or you will need to find a computer with Excel that you can use for this one assignment.

Participation and Access:

The course will be available through Canvas sometime during the week prior to the start date. Students must access Canvas and complete the assignments due during the first week of class to avoid being dropped.  Accommodations will be made for late adds.


email is the best way to contact me about the course, and Piazza (the online discussion board linked in Canvas) is the best way to ask questions related to HW or course material. Piazza posts are usually answered within 8 hours, usually much less.


Math 27 or intermediate algebra,   AND  Chem 210FL (grade of “C” or better) 

Course Description:  

Presents problem-solving and fundamental reasoning skills needed for success in CHEM 201A, General College Chemistry I. This course is designed for students who meet Chem 201A prerequisites but need additional preparation prior to enrolling in Chem 201A. Topics include techniques for chemical problem solving, dimensional analysis, unit conversion, chemical nomenclature, fundamentals of chemical reactions, and principles of stoichiometry including mass, mole, and volume calculations.

Required materials:

  • Canvas account (free)
  • You do not need to purchase a textbook for this course.  All reading assignments will be available free online.  However, if you plan to take Chem 201A at Cuesta, you may wish to purchase a copy of Chemistry A Molecular Approach, 4th ed by Nivaldo Tro.  For all textbook readings, I will assign an option of either reading the free online material or reading from the Tro textbook.  You do NOT need a Mastering Chemistry code for this course.  We will use a free Mastering Chemistry account for three assignments during the semester.
  • Either a scanner, or access to a scanner, or a scanning app on a smart phone or tablet.  You will need this to scan your written homework assignments and upload them as a pdf file into Canvas.  If you do not have access to a scanner or a smart phone or tablet, please contact me ASAP so that we can make other arrangements.  If you are on the Cuesta College campus, you may use the photocopier in the Student Success Center to scan documents and email them to yourself (see any tutor for help).  Some free scanning apps are:
    • For iPhone, try: Cam Scanner, Genius Scan, JET Scanner, or PDF Photos
    • For Android, try: Cam Scanner, easyPDF, or Image to PDF
    • Alternatively, you may write directly in the document using a tablet or computer and save as a pdf.
  • Scientific Calculator non-programmable with Exponential notation (EE or EXP on most calculators,) and logs (LOG and LN).  TI-30XIISLinks to an external site. is suggested (No TI-8X series calculators)
    Here are some good calculators:

calc 1.jpgTI_36X.jpgcalc 2.jpg

Student learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Solve numerical and unit conversion problems with correct units and significant figures.
  2. Solve problems related to chemical stoichiometry.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in chemical nomenclature.


I am here to help you learn and enjoy the course material.  If you are having trouble, please contact me early, and often.  If you cannot come to student help hours, please use Piazza discussion forums.  If you have questions that are not related to the content of the course, please send me an email.

Free online tutoring is available at Net TutorLinks to an external site. and in person free tutoring is available at Student Success CentersLinks to an external site. at both the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles campuses.


If you discontinue the course for ANY reason, you are responsible for making an official withdrawal.


The content for the course will be delivered through Canvas in Modules.  Modules are designed for the student to complete the material in a specific order.  There is one orientation module and 7 chemistry content modules.  Each module will be available at least one week before it is due.  See the schedule at the bottom of this page for module start and end dates for each module.  There will be assignments due during the time period for each module in order to keep students working through the module at an even pace, rather than cramming at the end.  Due dates will be announced at the start of each module. Several days will be given between each due date, but students are allowed and encouraged to complete assignments early. 


Homework:  Homework assignments will consist of online homework through the online homework system, written work to be scanned and uploaded to Canvas, multiple-chioce mini assessments throughout each module, and discussion forum posts.  Other types of homework may be assigned.  In addition to the homework problems, extra problems will be provided for students who need more practice.  If you are not able to complete the assigned problems without help (looking at the book or your notes, watching a tutorial, etc.), then you need to do more practice problems until you no longer need assistance. The goal isn’t just to do problems until you get them right; the goal is to do problems until you can’t get them wrong!

Discussion Posts:  Each student is expected to contribute to a minimum of one discussion post per week.  During some weeks, discussion topics will be assigned.  The assigned discussion post will count as the one post for the week.  During weeks when there is not a topic assigned, the student must post either a question on the course content for the week or an answer to another student’s question.

Quizzes:  There will be a quiz at the end of each module (1 orientation module and 7 chemistry modules-see schedule below).  These quizzes are designed to help you determine if you are ready for the larger assessments (midterm and final exam).  

Midterm Exam:  The midterm exam will be documents that you print, complete the exam, scan, and upload into Canvas.  The exam must be completed within a 48 hr period (see dates in schedule below) and will be limited to 2 hours.

Final Exam:  The final exam will be comprehensive.  The format of the final exam will be the same as teh midterm exam.  The exam must be completed within a 48 hr period (see dates in schedule below) and will be limited to 3 hours. 


Homework and Discussion Posts       30 %
Quizzes                                                 20 %
Midterm Exam                                     20 %
Final Exam                                            30 %

Letter Grades:

A            90-100%
B            80-89%
C            70-79%
D            64-69%
F             below 64%

Plus/Minus grades:   Plus/minus grading will be used in borderline cases, usually based on the final exam score (state law does not allow grades of “C-” at CA Community Colleges). Plus/minus grades will earned for totals of approximately 78-82% and 88-92%.

Academic Honesty:

The purpose of this course is to improve your mastery of chemical concepts in order to prepare you for general chemistry.  If you copy work from other sources (other students, the internet, your friend, etc.) for homework, quizzes or the final exam, this will be detrimental to your understanding of the material and will make it less likely for you to succeed in general chemistry.  Therefore, cheating will hurt you more than it will help.

Academic dishonesty in any form, including plagiarism, copying, or allowing another student to copy off of you will not be tolerated.  Do not copy anyone else's work!  This is not learning, it is cheating.  If you violate the academic honesty policy, you may receive a “0” for the assignment AND an equivalent assignment, or an F for the course.  See the Cuesta College CatalogLinks to an external site..

While you are encouraged to study in groups, assignments turned in must represent your own work, which means your own thoughts in your own words. No one learns effectively by merely copying someone's paper.

Regular and Effective Contact:

Regular and effective contact will be met through threaded discussion forums, announcements to students, email contact, and office hours. I will respond to questions posted in Canvas (Piazza) within 24 hours, and usually in less than 8 hours (sometimes I might not respond during the weekend). Assignments will be graded, with comments, within one week. Each student is expected to contribute to a minimum of one discussion post per week (see point distribution above).

Authenticating Student Identity will be conducted using the Learning Management System (Canvas) and the online homework system, which requires students to log into the program using a secure login and password to access. You must use your official Cuesta College email address for the online homework system (like

Netiquette and Online Course Participation:

  • Use respectful and professional language in your forum discussions. Respect the learning progress of your peers.
  • Please do not use texting language, lol (SCNR).
  • Emoticons are acceptable ways to show emotion.
  • Avoid ALL CAPS as they come across like YOU'RE SCREAMING.
  • You are expected to read all forum posts, and to make at least 8 posts or responses with specific details in the discussion forums this term. Try to give guidance rather than provide exact answers. Assigned posts do count towards your 8 post minimum.
  • All messages are public, so be professional and courteous when you post.
  • Make your posts and replies specific to a particular problem or issue.
  • Complete sentences and thoughts are mandatory for forum posts.
  • You must log into Canvas at least once per week.

Technical Issues? 

For issues related to accessing Cuesta's Canvas Site, email: Technical issues with the online homework system are best resolved by clicking the appropriate links in the MC system. 

Drop/Withdraw Policy

Students will be dropped if their Canvas or online homework accounts are not activated or not used for any period longer than 7 consecutive days. If you decide to withdraw, you must do so according to Cuesta’s drop policyLinks to an external site..

Note: If you have any special concerns or disabilities that could affect your learning, please see me or contact DSPS at 546–3148 as soon as possible. DSPS testing forms must be submitted at least 2 days prior to testing.  DSPS information can be found at the DSPS websiteLinks to an external site.

Chem 201P Schedule



Week 1

Module 0: Welcome to Chem 201P - Orientation
Module 1: Significant Figures and Scientific Notation.  
Last day to drop w/ a refund 3/28

Week 2

Module 2:Writing names and formulas for molecular and ionic compounds

Last day to add 4/2
Last day to add and last day to drop without a "W" 4/2

Week 3

Spring break

Week 4

Module 3: Balancing chemical equations, predicting products, writing net ionic equations 

Week 5

Modlue 4: Density and unit conversions 

Week 6

Midterm Exam: Must be completed on Monday or Tuesday (4/27 - 4/28)

Module 5: Moles, stoichiometry, and limiting reactants   
Last Date to drop with a "W" 4/28

Week 7

Module 6: Molarity calculations, solution stoichiometry, pH calculations, and graphing

Week 8

Module 7: Thermochemistry

Week 9

Final Exam Must be completed on Monday or Tuesday (5/18 or 5/19)  

This schedule is subject to change.  
Changes will be announced in class and posted to the Canvas Calendar.

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