Summary-Notes (and other visual representations of knowledge) for Chemistry
developed by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.
These visually organized summaries are part of a web-portfolio (showing some things I've done during my journeys along a road less traveled) that begins with an introduction describing how I've learned to enthusiastically embrace the developing-and-using of verbal-and-visual representations for education.
Many parts of my summaries are not intended to be self-explanatory. Instead, they are "reminders" of ideas that are explained clearly, one step at a time, in class. While I'm talking about these ideas in class, I refer to the notes (verbally and by pointing to relevant parts) so students will know that the basic ideas are in the summaries. This lets them feel more free to focus on the real-time thinking activities of listening-and-thinking and seeing what I write on the board. I encourage students to review the summaries soon after class, while they still have fresh memories of what they were hearing, seeing, and thinking while they were in the class.
In class, I also comment on the compact format of my summaries, which don't have as much of the abundant "white space" that students see in textbooks. I explain how, if students want to make a summary easier to mentally process, they can either personalize their summary by colorizing it — they can study the colorized summary I make and link-to, for ideas about doing this — or make their own summary notes.
Below, all courses are offered in the Chemistry Dept at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
For Chemistry 108 — which is a course about "chemistry in context" with applications for nuclear radiation & environmental issues & human physiology (cancer, suntan/sunburn, nutrition,...) & plastics & biopolymers & more, developed by Cathy Middlecamp — to summarize ideas and organize them in logically meaningful ways so students could more easily learn these ideas, remember them, and use them for thinking, I made summary-pages, printed and distributed black-and-white versions as handouts, and made colorized versions available online.
A links-page for Chem 108 has these idea-summaries, along with tips for using them more effectively.
Chemistry 103 — ( I.O.U. - These are comprehensive [26 pages] and will be available later, maybe by the end of 2013. )
Chemistry 104 — ( I.O.U. - These also will be available later, maybe in early 2014. )
and later there will be more.