This website is an online, one semester course in bioorganic chemistry offered by the Saylor Academy. The course begins by introducing the common mechanisms in bioorganic chemistry, and then addresses the structure of various biomolecules. It then covers several metabolic processes including lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, and nucleotide metabolism. It draws heavily on Biochemistry of Metabolism (Joyce Diwan), The Medical Biochemistry page (Michael W. King), Virtual textbook of Organic Chemistry (William Reusch) and Khan Academy. There are clear instruction for students taking the course as to what is needed to receive credit. Students must complete the assessments in different sections, and a final exam before receiving a grade. Taking the final requires to a login into the Saylor Foundation.
Type of Material:
This is a class on bioorganic chemistry and as such can be used by students wanting to learn the topic; by professors that want ideas or extra material on the topic; and as an introduction for those students that will be starting biochemistry soon.
Web browser (I primarily used Firefox to access the website, although it also seemed to work fine with Safari). Additionally some of the links require plug-ins (e.g., Adobe Flash) or the ability to open documents (e.g., pdf).
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
• Identify and characterize lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids, and nucleic acids.
• Recognize chiral organic molecules, and explain their biological significance.
• Explain the process of electrophilic and nucleophilic reactions, redox reactions, and enzyme catalyzed reactions.
• Define the role of coenzymes and allosteric regulators in enzyme catalyzed reactions.
• Compare and link terpenoid and steroid biosynthesis.
• Compare and contrast the biosynthesis and the break down of biomolecules in the cell.
• Predict the products of substitution, elimination, condensation, and redox reactions.
• Design enzyme catalyzed reactions that lead to high-energy compound products.
• Explain why certain lipids and amino acids are essential while others are not.
• Determine the significance of fermentation during anaerobic metabolism.
• Explain why certain metabolic pathways are called “cycles.”
• Explain what happens if a eukaryotic cell lacks oxalic acid, ribulose bisphosphate, or ornithine.
• Compare and contrast the Citric Acid Cycle and the Calvin Cycle.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate college level students that have finished organic chemistry.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should have covered general chemistry and organic chemistry before starting this course.
• Some of the reading assignments are primary literature sources.
• The material is very well organized.
• Time advisories are provided for each unit.
• There are no video lectures or assessments available in units 3-6 (only readings are provided).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• Learning objectives and prerequisite knowledge are clearly identified.
• A final exam is of 50 questions is available that provides immediate targeted feedback so students can identify which units they need to review further. This exam can be taken multiple times.
• Because the materials are from different sources, the course is not as cohesive as it could be and it is sometimes difficult to see relationships between concepts.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
It is absolutely well organized and very intuitive to use and follow. It does a great job at locating and organizing the materials from all over the internet for student's use.
• The course itself is text only (some graphics/pictures would make it more visually appealing).
• Some of the readings use text only where images with text would significantly increase the understanding of the content.
• Some of the websites assigned for readings/assessments required a Chime plugin to access some of the content and it wasn’t evident to me how to install it.
• While the first two units contain video lectures and assessments, there are none in units 3-6.
• There are no discussion boards or other means to interact with other students taking the course.
Other Issues and Comments:
• It would be nice if a study guide for the final exam were provided.
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