Screenshot of a worked stoichiometry equation in the course.

Introduction to Chemistry[Enter Course]


This is a complete course in chemical stoichiometry, which is a set of tools chemists use to count molecules and determine the amounts of substances consumed and produced by reactions. The course is set in a scenario that shows how stoichiometry calculations are used in real-world situations. The list of topics (see below) is similar to that of a high school chemistry course, although with a greater focus on reactions occurring in solution and on the use of the ideas to design and carry out experiments.

Note: Our chemistry courses are about to be improved and expanded! Thanks to upcoming support from the NSF, a project to further improve online chemistry education will result in new and improved materials delivered through OLI. New materials will be available from 2012 through 2014!

Additional Course Details

Topics Covered:
Dimensional Analysis, the Mole, Empirical Formulas, Limiting Reagents, Titrations, Reactions Involving Mixtures.
Maintenance Fee (per student):
Free for both independent learners and academic students.
Additional Software or Materials Required:
You will need to have Flash, Quicktime, and Java installed. These programs are free. More detailed information is provided in the course under “Test and Configure Your System.”

In-Depth Description

The learning experience in the Stoichiometry course is constructed from the following types of components:

  1. Videos that introduce the scenarios and chemical concepts, and provide worked examples of stoichiometry computations.
  2. Scaffolded homework activities provide learners with hints and feedback on an as-needed basis, and fade this help appropriately such that learners remain challenged but not floundering.
  3. Virtual laboratory activities that couple the mathematics of the course with authentic chemistry experiments, helping learners see how their calculations relate to chemistry practice. The Virtual Laboratory is a simulation-based learning environment for aqueous chemistry. It allows learners to select from hundreds of standard reagents and manipulate them in a manner that resembles that of a real lab.
  4. End-of-module quizzes that help learners assess their knowledge.

The Open & Free Chemistry course does not include access to the end-of-module graded exams or to the course instructor. No credit is awarded for completing the Open & Free Chemistry course.

The course also uses a scenario, arsenic contamination of the Bangladesh’s water supply, to motivate and organize the content. Traditional courses tend to follow a bottom-up approach to learning chemistry. This traditional approach teaches abstract concepts and tools before discussing their practical application, which results in students learning bits of unconnected knowledge that are rarely usable let alone memorable. In this stoichiometry course, scenarios are used both to motivate the material and to provide a framework in which students can organize their knowledge.

Chemistry II Video Course [Enter Course]

This course is based on the 2005 version of Modern Chemistry II (course number 09-106) taught at Carnegie Mellon University. The course contains a full semester of lectures interspersed with concept quizzes, practice problems and virtual lab activities. The course is broken up by topic into units and modules. This course is quite different from other OLI courses, in that it is based on videos from a live classroom.

Experimental Chemistry Resources