Chem 201P Welcome Letter Summer 2020

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Preparation for General College Chemistry CRN 50912

This is an online course

Summer Term: Course dates are June 15-July 24, 2020

Instructor Contact Information:

Dr. Lara Baxley 

Office Hours: 

During the summer, I won't have regular office hours.  However, you can contact me via email and we can set up skype appointments.  For a skype meeting, please send me an email to schedule an appointment.


Welcome to Chem 201P!  I am excited to be your guide through this chemistry class, which is designed to help you to get ready for General College Chemistry.  If you have taken either high school chemistry or introductory chemistry, but feel that you could use extra preparation before taking general chemistry, this class is right for you! Taking this course will strengthen your mathematical skills and problem solving abilities and help to prepare you for some of the important concepts in General Chemistry. The prerequisite for this course is a C or better grade in a one year high school chemistry or one term of college-level chemistry and algebra II.

Important Course Dates

All due dates and exam dates can be found in the Course Schedule.

How much time should you expect to spend on this class?

The 2-unit class is offered in an online format during the 6 week summer term. Because this is a short term class and fully online, expect to spend 15-18 hrs per week on this course.  This equates to 6 hours "in-class" time (watching lecture videos, participating in online discussions, and taking quizzes and exams) and 9-12 hours of "at home" time (reading assignments, completing worksheets, completing online homework assignments, studying for tests).  Some students can complete the work in less time, but it's best to schedule extra time just in case.

Students should consider taking Chem 201P if they have met the 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? 

You CAN succeed in an online class, but it does take extra self-motivation and organization.  Before enrolling in a distance learning class, students should 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 Mastering Chemistry online homework system. Software and computer requirements for the online homework system will be posted.  Assistance with basic computer skills is not provided. 

In addition, you must have the following:

  1. The ability on your computer or phone to scan a document as a pdf (there are free apps for phones). 
  2. A webcam for recording you while you take exams and quizzes.
  3. The ability to use 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.  Google sheets is reasonable, but doesn't work as well as Excel.

Accessing the Course and Early Participation:

The course will be available through Canvas sometime during the week prior to the start date.  An email will be sent to all students with login instructions on the first day of class.  Students must activate their Canvas account and complete assignments that are due during the 1st week of class.  Failure to do so will result in the student being dropped from the course.  Accommodations will be made for late adds.

Class Participation/Late Work

All students in this class must work through the material at approximately the same pace so that they can help each other and participate in class discussions.  Therefore, it is important to keep up with the material and submit all assignments on time.  Late assignments or quizzes will lose 1-5 pts during the first two days late (1 pt for 3 pts assignments, 5 pts for 20 pt quizzes, and anything in between).  Assignments submitted later then two days after they are due will receive a score of zero.  Quizzes will not be available beyond three days after they are due.  The midterm exam and final exam can only be submitted on one of the days specified in the course schedule below.  If you have an illness or other serious issue that keeps you from keeping up with the material, contact me as soon as possible so that I can work with you on any possible accommodations.


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.

How to Get Help with Course Material:

I am here to help you learn and enjoy the course material.  If you are having trouble, please contact me early, and often.  For questions about course content, 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.


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 has several assignments within it and a quiz at the end.  The assignments must be completed in the order that they appear within each module and all assignments in a module must be complete before taking the quiz for that module.  See the schedule at the bottom of this page for module start dates and due dates for each module.  


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)
  • MasteringChemistry account (we will use a free trial account)
  • 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, (3rd, 4th or 5th 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.
  • 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)

calc 1.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.


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).  Quizzes may only be taken after completing all assignments within the module.  Any quizzes taken before completing the module assignments will receive zero points.

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 the 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, using the internet when instructor not to 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 else's assignment or using the internet.

Drop/Withdraw Policy

Since participation is important in this course, students must continually participate in order to stay in the class.  Students who continually turn in assignments late, or who miss a significant number of assignments will be dropped if this occurs before the "W" date. If you decide to withdraw, you must do so according to Cuesta’s drop policyLinks to an external site.

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. 

Disability Services: If you have a disability that could affect your learning or participation in this course, please contact DSPS at 546–3148 as soon as possible. They will work with me to provide any necessary accommodations.  Quizzes and tests for this course will not be timed, so there is no need for extended time accommodations.  However, if you require other accommodations for this course, please take advantages of the services that DSPS provides.  DSPS information can be found at the DSPS websiteLinks to an external site.


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