CHEM201A - Summer 2020 Welcome Letter (CRN 50061, 50397)

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CHEM201A - General Chemistry I  (6/15/2020 - 7/24/2020)

Summer 2020 with Dr. Kelli M. Gottlieb

CHEM201A is the first of the two-semester general chemistry series at Cuesta College. This course builds the foundation for all future chemistry classes. Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. More specifically, CHEM201A focuses on:

  • defining matter (it matters!) and its properties and changes
  • atoms, atomic structure, and the periodic table
  • the phases of matter and their fundamental differences
  • an introduction to chemical reactions (the booms, the sparkles, the colors!)
  • analyzing the energy of reactions and processes (why do some combinations of substances warm up while others cool? What happens when water freezes?) qualitatively and quantitatively
  • quantitative analysis using chemical equations to predict amounts of reactants or products needed or formed, respectively (stoichiometry)

The laboratory component incorporates material from lecture and places a specific emphasis on measurement, data analysis, and observation.



Dr. Kelli Gottlieb (

Dr. Sean Gottlieb (

I am not in my office so I will not have access to my phone. Email is the best way to get in touch with me. If you email me, please allow at least 24 hours for a reply. I generally do not check my email after 8pm. I also often do not check email on Saturdays. Emails must be sent from either your CUESTA email or through Canvas. I will not send a meaningful response to any emails from non-Cuesta emails due to privacy (FERPA) concerns.


Course Information:

CHEM201A - CRN 50061 and CRN 50397

Course website: Canvas ( - log in with your Cuesta username)

Course dates: 6/15/2020 - 7/24/2020
Canvas Available: 6/12/2020
Final Exam: 7/23/2020 from 1-3pm

This summer, lab and lecture meetings will be fully online. We will not have any in-person class meetings. We do, however, have mandatory online meetings.

Mandatory Online Meetings:

You will be required to be on Zoom during the following times:

  • MTR 9-10am OR 11am-12pm (you must attend just one of these meetings)
  • MTR 1-2:30pm

You should only be enrolled in the course if you know you can meet during those times. The morning time will be for any necessary lab discussion and the afternoon time will be for lecture quizzes and exams. These times will not be the sum total of what you need to work on for this class; these are just the times you will be required to meet online.

We often won't use the full window of time but I reserve the right to do so. There will be times we won't meet but you should always have the time available. I will let you know if we will not be meeting.

The rest of the course is asynchronous, meaning that you will complete activities on your own. While they don't need to be completed in the exact time windows listed on ClassFinder, there will be due dates and times each day (detailed on Canvas). 

Summer session is extremely fast paced. We complete a week's worth of work each day we meet for CHEM201A over the summer (1 lab and 4 hours of lecture). There is a lot of work in-class as well as studying and work to be done out of class as well. You can count on the following each day:

  • something due in lab (a prelab, a lab report, and/or another lab activity)
  • an experiment to complete (we will have a new experiment nearly every day we meet)
  • Up to 4 hours worth of lecture to watch and an activity to complete with that lecture
  • A quiz or exam (you will have 1 exam per week starting Week 2 and a quiz every day we do not have an exam).
  • There will also be online assignments that aren't due immediately but that you'll need to work on regularly (online homework through MasteringChemistry, for example).

This list details the in-class time requirements. Outside of class, you'll need to study and do practice on your own to succeed in class. It is a very heavy workload, especially in the summer with the accelerated pace. You can count on 2-3 hours/unit per week and if each day is a week, it adds up to a lot of hours (your mileage may vary, depending on your comfort with the material - some people may take longer or shorter). 

If you are planning on taking a vacation or taking another course this summer, I strongly advise you to reconsider taking CHEM201A this summer. This is a 5-credit hour courseload with the work to match.


Is online education for you?

I am very excited to have you in class for chemistry. However, I would be remiss in my duties as an instructor if I didn't tell you that online courses aren't for everyone. Before committing to this course, make sure to address the following question: Is an online class suited for you? 

  • To answer this question, please access the Online Readiness Resources, and take the "self assessment survey". Answer the questions to yourself honestly. If you find that your answer to many of the questions is "no", then taking this class online is not in your best interest regarding student success and I strongly suggest you enroll in a traditional classroom section when available.
    • If you mostly answered "yes" but there are some questions to which you have answered "no", you can brush up on these skills using this Canvas tutorialLinks to an external site. that Cuesta has prepared for online students (it's free!). You can also use these tutorials to see if online learning is for you (you'll be using a lot of the skills in the tutorial - decide if you like using those skills since you'll need them in this course!). 

Class and Electronic Device Requirements

If you believe (based on your personal knowledge and your self-assessment survey results) that you can be successful online, you will need the following:

  • You must have constant access to a reliable computer (minimum specs for a reliable computerLinks to an external site.). This should be most days of the week, not just the days our class meets (you'll want regular access to our materials on Canvas). Your computer should have a webcam and a microphone as well. 
  • You must have a reliable Internet connection, meaning you can be on conferencing software, Canvas, and download and upload documents. 
  • A device for scanning. This can be a scanner or a phone app that scans (there are many free ones out there! I will provide some examples once we get started). 
  • You must have access to your email account (or have successfully set up email forwarding to your third party email provider).
  • You must have access to Cuesta College's Canvas learning management system (LMS).
  • You must have a backup plan in case your internet provider or computer goes down.  For issues related to accessing Cuesta's Canvas Site, email:
  • You must have a good understanding of the following online activities to succeed in this course: email, internet navigation, online communication, pdf creation (as well as other file-types), document uploading and downloading
  • Optional but highly recommended: a reliable way to print documents (like a printer). This isn't mandatory but will be really useful to you as we go through the summer session. It wouldn't be considered reliable if you need to pay a lot of money to be able to print (there will be alternatives). 


Required Materials

The following items listed below are the only course-specific materials you will need for this course.  Retailers may “suggest” or “recommend” additional items (e.g., lab coats, laminated Periodic Tables, study guides, etc.).  Those are not required for this course and you do not need to purchase them.  You will need:

  • Chemistry, A Molecular Approach, Tro, Nivaldo J., 5th Ed. (4th edition will work, won't match my notes perfectly but I'll have section differences indicated on Canvas)
    • Standard Book ISBN 9780134874371 (5th edition)
    • There is a Cuesta-specific version but that won't be necessary. You can also use the e-text, I won't mandate a physical copy. E-text access can be purchased with the next item.
  •  Modified Mastering Chemistry access code for 5th edition
    • This code is sold with any book purchased from the bookstore.
    • If you are buying the book from another location, this code can be purchased a la carte (or with the e-text) online through Canvas (use the link in the navigation ONLY).
    • If you aren't buying your book or code from the bookstore: Do not buy your code from anywhere else except Canvas (not even the Pearson webpage)!  There are a variety of codes available but very few are available that will work with our Canvas page. Also, if you buy your book used, do not pay for the code with the book; codes are one-time use.
  • Scientific calculator
    • Examples of acceptable models include the Texas Instruments TI-30Xa or TI-30XIIS and the Casio fx-115ES Plus models.
    • Scientific calculators in the $10-$20 range should be fine.
    • You will not need a graphing calculator; we'll be using scientific calculators exclusively in this class.
  • Internet-connected device with a webcam and microphone
    • You will need a reliable device to be able to connect to the internet to participate in class. You will need a webcam for Zoom-proctored exams and a microphone to communicate on Zoom.
  • A way to scan documents
    • This can be a scanner or a scanning app on a phone or other device with a camera.


Quizzes and Exams

Students will authenticate on Zoom prior to being able to take a quiz or exam. Quizzes and exams will take place during the mandatory online window from 1-2:30 on MTR. You will be proctored on Zoom during the quiz or exam. 

Attendance and Participation

  • You will need to participate in Canvas each day in order to stay caught up in the course.
  • If you do not participate for an entire week, you may be dropped from the course.
  • If you do not participate on the first day of classes, you will be dropped from the course. 
  • If you do not fail to complete four or more labs you will not pass the course, even if  you have a passing grade in the lecture portion of the course.

Drop Policies

  • If you no longer wish to be enrolled in the course, you must withdraw on your own. Make sure to check the financial aid or other implications with a counselor before you do so. (How to dropLinks to an external site.) (Drop/Withdraw FAQsLinks to an external site.)
  • If you do not participate in the course for an entire week you may be dropped from the course. 
  • If you do not participate in the course on the first day of classes, you will be dropped from the course. 



Students with documentation with DSPS. and require special accommodations should see the instructor during the first day of class for a confidential discussion. 


Academic Honesty

“Academic honesty is essential to the academic community. Students expect that Cuesta College faculty be fair, truthful, and trustworthy. Faculty expect that Cuesta College students share these same values. Students who violate these principles by cheating, plagiarizing, or acting in other academically dishonest ways are subject to disciplinary procedures.” – Cuesta College Academic Honesty Agreement

It is allowed and expected that you will work together on assignments and lab reports; it is also expected that each student will do their own work and write their answers in their own words. To avoid any academic honesty issues, it is best to talk about a question, discuss an answer, and then each student writes their answer in their own words. Perform all your own calculations; do not write the result of another student’s calculation.

Quizzes and exams are meant to be completed on your own. You are committing an act of academic dishonesty if you consult resources not provided with the exam, including notes, tutors, other people in your house, or other resources that weren't specifically included with the exam. Academic dishonesty also includes posting quiz or exam questions to online forums, regardless of if the question is answered or not. While you may ask for help from online tutors for other non-assessment assignments, quizzes and exams are meant to be taken ON YOUR OWN with only the resources I provide. 

Any student found to be engaging in academic dishonesty will receive a 0 on the assignment or exam in question, which may result in failure of the course. Academic dishonesty includes claiming work to be your own when it was not (copying off of another quiz or reporting data as your own when were absent from lab that day) as well as sharing your work with others.

Cuesta Academic HonestyLinks to an external site.




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