CHE 230



CHE 230-001, Introduction to Organic Chemistry (3 credit hours)

Instructor information

Course information

Description: Fundamental principles and theories of organic chemistry.

This course is the first part of a two-part introduction to the principles of organic chemistry, the chemistry of the compounds of carbon. The content can be classified as structure, reactivity, and synthesis. You will learn how atoms are joined together in organic compounds, how we represent the structures of organic compounds, how organic compounds' structures affect their properties, and how organic compounds are transformed into other organic compounds.

Prerequisites: CHE 107 and CHE 113.

Required materials: Organic Chemistry, 3rd ed., by David Klein. A molecular model kit is strongly recommended.

Web site.

Learning objectives

CHE 230 and CHE 232 are two halves of a single year-long course. At the end of CHE 232, students will be able to:

  1. draw and interpret organic structures, including their three-dimensional shapes and their electron distribution, using the conventions of the field;
  2. understand and use correctly the vocabulary of isomerism and stereochemistry;
  3. analyze how a compound's shape and electron distribution affects its energy;
  4. identify various common functional groups, and describe how their presence in compounds affects the reactivity of those compounds;
  5. predict the products when organic compounds are subjected to certain reaction conditions;
  6. use experimental information to draw conclusions about reaction mechanisms, and vice versa;
  7. use the curved-arrow notation to describe the mechanisms of chemical reactions;
  8. design a synthesis of a given compound from simpler starting materials;
  9. use spectroscopic techniques to determine the structures of organic compounds, and predict the spectroscopic behavior of organic compounds;
  10. relate organic compounds' structures and reactivity to certain biological and materials phenomena.

In general, CHE 230 emphasizes objectives 1–3 and begins to cover objectives 4–8. CHE 232 emphasizes objectives 3–8 and adds objectives 9–10.

Our plan for CHE 230 is to cover the material in Chapters 1–12 in Klein in the order that Klein covers it, more or less.


You will have approximately 20 ACE Organic assignments of variable length throughout the semester. In ACE Organic, you formulate your responses in a Web browser, and ACE gives you immediate, response-specific feedback. Your performance on these assignments will contribute 12% of your overall grade. Your first task as a student in this class is to register with ACE.

I will assign a due date for each ACE assignment, but you will be able to give yourself extensions on the assignments. Here are the rules for giving yourself extensions.

  1. You will have a total of 20 days of extensions to give yourself over the entire semester. (You can use fractions of days.)
  2. You can give yourself an extension on an assignment anytime before the assignment is due.
  3. You can change the extension that you have given yourself, but only before the original due date of the assignment.
  4. Most assignments have a three-day limit on extensions. However, if an assignment is due right before an exam, and the exam will cover the material on that assignment, the assignment may not permit extensions at all.
  5. I can override the limits on extensions, so if you have a good reason (e.g., illness, unexpectedly heavy workload that week, an emergency at work) for needing a change to an extension after the original due date of an assignment, an extension longer than the one permitted for an assignment, or an extension that will result in your exceeding 20 days of extensions across the semester, please email me with the reason for your request and your desired extension. I might even grant an extension for a not-so-good reason (you forgot the assignment was due), as long as you don't make a habit of it.

In compliance with Senate Rule on Dead Week, your last assignments will likely be due during Dead Week or just before the final exam.

You may work together to solve the problems on the assignments; in fact, I encourage you to do so. However, you may not enter answers into another student's account; I consider that an act of plagiarism.


There will be three in-semester exams and a final exam. We will use ACE Organic to administer the exams. You may use your own laptop or a University computer. (I will ask in advance who needs to use a University computer.) The exams will be open-book, open-notes, and open-Web, but communicating with another person during the exam by any means and in any form is cheating and will be punished accordingly. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that because the exams are open-book, they will be easy or you won't need to study for them. All exams are cumulative: any subject covered on an earlier exam may reappear unexpectedly on any later exam.

Note that the in-semester exams are scheduled outside of regular class time. I will make accommodations for students who have conflicts with the scheduled times.

I will assign each of you an account to use for the exam when each exam is about to begin. After I have graded the exam, your results will be transferred to your regular ACE account, where you can look at them. If you were marked down for an answer that you think was correct, submit it to me with a brief written argument about why you think you deserve more credit. Generally, I do not grant requests for more partial credit for incorrect answers than I initially awarded. I will not entertain oral requests for regrading. Requests for regrading must be received within one week of the return date.

Each of the exams will contribute 22% to your final grade, and your cumulative percent score on the ACE Organic assignments will contribute 12%. The final assignment of letter grades will be based on the following schedule: A= 80+, B= 65–80, C= 50–65, D= 40–50. Grades are assigned on the basis of student performance, not proportions; in other words, students are not competing against each other for grades, and I am quite happy to give most of the class A's and B's if the class has earned them. The exams are acknowledged to be difficult — a 60 in this class is not the same as a 60 in General Chemistry — so don't be disappointed by generally lower scores.

I will post your midterm grades in myUK by the deadline established in the Academic Calendar. Your midterm grade will be based on your performance on the first two exams (44% each) and the ACE Organic assignments that were due before the second exam (12%).

Attendance and exam absences

This class meets MWF at 9:00–9:50 am in JSB 321. I don't take attendance in class, but I expect you to attend. I sometimes cover material that is not in the book, or I emphasize topics in a way different from the book, so please come to class.

If you miss an exam due to serious illness or the illness or death of a close family member, you are responsible for informing me of the reason for your absence within one week following the period of the excused absence. However, I would appreciate it if you emailed me as soon as you realize that you will be missing the exam. Senate Rule states that I have the right to request appropriate verification. If you are unsure whether you are too sick to take an exam or if your relative is close enough to allow you to receive an excused absence, please contact me by phone or email.

Students anticipating that a major religious holiday will prevent them from attending an exam must notify me by email no later than two weeks before the exam if they wish to be excused. Students anticipating a conflict between an exam and a University-related trip should notify me by email no later than two weeks before the exam; however, if the trip arose suddenly, you have until one week after the exam to notify me. "University-related trips" are defined by Senate Rule as trips for members of student organizations sponsored by an educational unit, trips for University classes, and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, including club sports registered with the university as well as varsity sports.

If you miss an exam for any other reason, please talk to me.

Academic integrity

Per University policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses. The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred. If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to expulsion from the University, may be imposed.

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct. Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Complete information can be found at the Academic Ombud's web site. A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty.

Senate Rule 6.3.1 states that all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression. In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work, they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission.

I have defined what constitutes cheating and plagiarism on assignments and exams in this course in the appropriate sections above.

Accommodations due to disability

If you have a documented disability, and you wish to receive accommodations for that disability in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC coordinates campus disability services available to students with disabilities. It is located on the corner of Rose Street and Huguelet Drive in the Multidisciplinary Science Building, Suite 407. You can reach the DRC via phone at (859) 257-2754 or via email. Please email me as soon as possible if you expect that you will need exam accommodations.

Nondiscrimination policy, and resources for students affected by discrimination or violence

The University of Kentucky faculty are committed to supporting students and upholding the University's nondiscrimination policy.

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability is prohibited at UK. If you experience an incident of discrimination, I encourage you to report it to the Office of Institutional Equity & Equal Opportunity.

If you experience an incident of sex- or gender-based discrimination or interpersonal violence, I encourage you to talk to someone about it. While you may talk to me or a TA, GA, or RA, understand that, as "Responsible Employees" of the University, we must report to the University's Title IX Coordinator what you share. If you would like to speak with someone who may be able to afford you confidentiality, please call or visit the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) program, the Counseling Center, and the University Health Service. You do not have to go through this experience alone!