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CHEM355-A Flipped Analytical Chemistry Course

I teach the lecture part of this course in a flipped format. Content can be found on prezis and a free pdf book, Analytical Chemistry 2.0 by Harvey. Class time concentrates on problem solving using a course shell on Sapling Learning. There is also a companion site on facebook for comments and questions.

Feel free to contact me with correction, comments, and questions at

What is CHEM355?
CHEM355 is a junior level combined lecture/ laboratory, 4 credit course required for BA Chemistry, BA Biochemistry, BS Chemistry and BS Biochemistry majors. It can also be used towards the chemistry minor. Class sizes is small (typically 8 to 14 students). Analytical chemistry can be defined as the application of chemical principles to the characterization, identification and measurement of chemical species. It involves the study of instrumental and non-instrumental techniques in addition to statistical methods, calibration and validation, sampling strategies, and sample treatment.

What makes it a flipped classroom course?
The ‘flipped’ refers to requiring students to learn course content at home and doing assigned problems in class. An advantage of a flipped course is that it allows for increased interaction between instructor and students. Students in science courses typically struggle with mathematically problem solving more than course content. The flipped approach allows me to work more with students on areas where they have difficulties.

How is class time organized?
Students are required to view a Prezi presentation (incorporating slides, simple animation, voice over and video) and review the relevant section of the textbook before class. The students are given the opportunity to identify areas of difficulty on a course Facebook page prior to the class. Class starts with a short quiz to test if students have reviewed the material appropriately. I will then spend a couple of minutes to review material that students identified as problematic and stress important concepts. Students then work through assigned problems in groups of three. Questions are provided on an online platform (Sapling Learning). The instructor circulates to help students and give hints to the class when necessary. Most questions are completed in class, any uncompleted questions are the responsibility of the student to complete before the deadline.

View my prezi presentation about the course here.

Pros and Cons of Flipped Courses

The flipped classroom is a form of blended learning which puts the emphasis of learning course material on the students in order to free up time in the classroom for active learning activities. As with any teaching method, there are pros and cons of the approach:


  • Increased interaction between instructor and students. Traditional lectures tend to be passive learning experiences with little interaction between instructor and students.
  • Allows more problem solving and active learning experiences. Education research suggests that these experiences improve student learning.
  • More effective use of instructor time. Instructors can spend more time helping students with activities they find challenging and less time teaching content students may find easily understandable.
  • Earlier intervention. The flipped classroom allows learning difficulties to be recognized earlier, whether class-wide or individual students.
  • Develops teamwork. Students can be organized in groups for classroom activities.
  • Peer learning. Students help one another which is beneficial for students of all abilities.


  • Preparation time. To prepare an effective flipped classroom course can take significantly more time than a traditional lecture.
  • Student response. Although I haven’t seen it in my course, the “I had to teach myself” criticism in likely.
  • Effectively replacing the lecture. Lectures are effective mechanisms for providing information. The difficulty is how to effectively replace them. Effective use of technology can help here.
  • Ensuring compliance. How do we make sure students are completing assigned work in their own time. Quizzes can help. Ultimately students are hurting themselves by not completeting assigned work.
  • Class size. My class is relatively small. Effective active learning for large classes may require different strategies

Quick Guide to Prezi

Prezi is cloud-based presentation software using a story telling approach to present ideas on a virtual canvas. The main advantage of prezi is in the ability to present material in a non-linear way (in contrast to Powerpoint). Material can be presented as a concept map and students are able to “dip in” at any point. Prezi allows for voice overs, simple animation, videos, web links and images in addition to text.

Official Prezi intro video

To view a prezi:
-go to the url to go to the prezi (or click one of the chapter links below)
-the prezi can be viewed small or full screen using the fullscreen button on the right of the grey tool bar (press ESC to escapre full screen mode)
-move through the prezi in sequence by pressing the right arrow on the tool bar or the right cursor button on your keyboard
-moving the mouse over the canvas should bring up the zoom buttons and a home button (to view the whole canvas) and a restart button to start the prezi from the beginning
-you can start the presentation at a different point by dragging the circle on the toolbar to the desired location or by double clicking at any point on the canvas
-you can also click and drag the canvas with your mouse

Chapter Prezi’s:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Basic Tools of Analytical Chemistry

Chapter 3: The Language of Analytical Chemistry

Chapter 4: Evaluating Analytical Data

Chapter 5: Calibrations, Standardizations, and Blank Corrections

Chapter 6: Equilibrium Chemistry

Chapter 7: Collecting and Preparing Samples

Chapter 8: Gravimetric Methods

Chapter 9: Titrimetric Methods

Chapter 10: Spectroscopic Methods

Chapter 11: Electrochemical Methods

Chapter 12: Chromatographic and Electrophoretic Methods

Chapter 13: Kinetic Methods