CHEM408-001                                     Physical Chemistry II (CRN 20423)                                           Spring 2021

Synchronous Instruction MWF 11:00-12:15, Monday on campus (3 credit hours)

Lecture and Homework Schedule


Professor Maria C. Gelabert Artiles

803-323-4939 (voice messages go to e-mail)

Office Hours – Zoom: TW 9:30-10:30, F 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

No F2F appointments in Sims offices

University Competencies

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. You will deepen your understanding of chemistry and practice various levels of problem-solving.

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. By furthering your knowledge and skill, you practice scientific responsibility.

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. You will connect with your instructor and peers, with the understanding that good communication translates into effective science communication to the broader community.

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. You will practice written and oral communication.

Course Content

The second semester of physical chemistry contains the major topics of quantum mechanics, bonding, and spectroscopy, with statistical thermodynamics and an introduction to solid state chemistry. We will progress from atomic to molecular structure with different qualitative models and computational chemistry, then extend to rotational, vibrational and electronic spectroscopy. The solid state section will include bonding, defects, electronic behavior, optical properties and nanoscience.

Learning Outcomes and Products

Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate their mastery with problem solving skills:

·      Identification of specific physical chemistry topics and applicable mathematics;

·      Ability to use and carry mathematics forward for problem solving;

·      Critical assimilation of simple problem solving to handle more complex tasks.

Required Materials

Physical Chemistry, Ball, Cengage Learning 2015. (print or eText)

Spartan Student Edition, v. 8 ($25 with coupon code WINTHROP25)

Recommended Materials

Barrante, J.R. Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry, 3rd ed. Waveland Press: Long Grove, 2016.

Engel, T. Quantum Chemistry & Spectroscopy. Pearson: New York, 2013.

Smart, L.E. and Moore, E.A. Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction, 3rd. ed. Taylor & Francis: New York, 2005.


Homework (2-3 problems) will be assigned after every lecture, to be completed, as much as possible, before the next lecture. Students are encouraged to ask specific homework questions at the beginning of every class (especially Mondays). Keys are available on the course page. Four half-hour quizzes, consisting of 1-2 problems, will be administered; the lowest quiz grade will be dropped (if you miss any quizzes for any reason, drop up to one). Seven half-hour sessions are dedicated to problem sessions (described below). Two exams and cumulative final exam are scheduled; the final is scheduled for 8:00 am, Thursday, April 29. The highest exam score, including the final, is worth an additional 10%. All quizzes and exams are closed-book and include formula sheet, fundamental constants and periodic table. Percentages and minimum letter grades are below.

Quizzes (4)                  15%                             100-90    A, A–

Problem Sessions (7)  20%                             89-80      B+, B, B–

Exams (2)                    30%                             79-70      C+, C, C–

Final Exam                   25%                             69-60      D+, D, D–

Highest Exam              10%                             ≤59         F

Problem Sessions and Quiz Grade Credit

Seven half-hour Problem Sessions are dedicated to student-led problem presentations on the board, where students present, in detail, one homework problem. Students will divide into self-selected groups of 2-3 to prepare/present all assigned Problem Session problems. On Problem Session day, one of those will be chosen by me for your group presentation. Presentations must be distinct from any available keys. 15% is based on quality of content and presentation, and the remaining 5% is for attendance. You must attend all the Problem Sessions (any absences must be college-sanctioned) to earn the full attendance grade.

Quiz Grade Credit is designed to improve your skills, review, and explain any previous errors for the quiz from the previous week. On problem session days, due at the beginning of class by Blackboard, you may submit a single, corrected quiz problem for up to half of the missed points: a full, step-by-step methodology of the problem as well as an explanation of the original errors. Attendance at Problem Sessions is required for additional Quiz Credit.

Lecture Logistics

Mondays will be reserved for all problem sessions, quizzes and exams; Wednesday and Fridays will be online Zoom lectures. After quizzes and problem sessions, remaining class time will be used for Q/A and student group planning discussions for problem sessions. Approximately half of Monday meetings will be on campus, [online sessions] indicated with square brackets on the Lecture and Homework Schedule. All class meetings will be synchronous, and no Monday meetings will be recorded.

Student Conduct Code

As noted in the Student Conduct Code: ''Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.'' The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in Section V of the Student Conduct Code in the online Student Handbook.


Winthrop requires that all students adhere to safety practices that will minimize the transmission of COVID-19 within the campus community. Accordingly, students are expected to engage in social distancing and wear a cloth face mask while on campus. Failure to comply with this requirement in the classroom will result in dismissal from the current class meeting. Repeated violations will be reported to the Dean of Students as a violation of the Student Conduct Code. Students with conditions that prohibit the wearing of a face mask should discuss this with their instructor and/or contact the Office of Accessibility to arrange appropriate accommodations.

Note that masks are required, completely covering the mouth and nose, in the entirety of Sims. If you haven’t already, I urge you to familiarize yourself with Winthrop’s Return to Learn protocols. Let’s keep each other healthy and help Winthrop be a COVID-19 bubble!

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education. If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290 or Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.

Campus Resources for Online Learners

Students who are enrolled in hybrid/online courses are entitled to the same campus resources available to on-campus students. These resources included admissions counseling, library, student services, and recreational facilities. A list of these resources is provided in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources, found in Blackboard.

Communication Expectations

For a general course or content-related questions, please first check the “Ask the Instructor” forum to see if any other students have asked your specific question. In the spirit of a learning community, students are encouraged to help each other by responding to questions from other students. For personal messages to the instructor or another student, use email rather than the discussion forum.

Course Communication

1.    Plan to be “present” in the course by logging in at least 3-4 times weekly and completing all assignments by their due dates.

2.    It is essential that you use your Winthrop email account for communication in this course. I usually respond within 24 hours except during the weekends.

3.    If you have general questions that might be asked by other students, please use the “Ask the Instructor” forum. If another student poses a question there, and you know the answer, you are encouraged to respond. The quality of the learning experience will be better for all if we act as a learning community and support each other.

4.    When interacting with your fellow students online, in discussion forums, Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, or email, remember to communicate with the same level of clarity, professionalism and respect that you would practice in face to face communication.

5.    If you are participating in a live video conference, present yourself in a professional manner, with attention to your voice clarity, sound quality, lighting and film environment.

6.    For backup purposes, compose messages and posts in a word processor, then copy and paste the message into the discussion or message.

7.    For private messages to the instructor or another student, use email and not public discussions.

Student Responsibilities in an Online Course

Many students find that responsibilities for online courses differ significantly from traditional courses. The following statements outline some of your basic responsibilities for this course, developed as hybrid/online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you believe you will have difficulty meeting these responsibilities, it is essential that we find a way to maximize your learning experience. Please be in contact with me about any challenges, and pledge the following:

1.    I will ask questions immediately if I don't understand instructions or due dates for assignments.

2.    I will organize my time in order to complete assignments in a thoughtful and on-time manner.

3.    I understand that failure of technology is not an excuse for turning assignments in late.

4.    I will review the technical support information in the Blackboard Tutorials & Campus Resources and Introduction modules, contacting support services as needed.

5.    I understand that there are other sources of technology for me to use if my primary source fails, such as libraries, campus labs, or friends' computers.

6.    I will participate fully in assignments by following the instructions, responding to my lab partners respectfully and completing my contributions on time.

7.    I will log in to class at least 3 times per week and spend an appropriate amount of time each week completing course materials.

Attendance, Make-up policy and Syllabus changes

No make-up quizzes will be administered. Early or make-up midterm exam will be considered for university-sanctioned absences or unanticipated absences accompanied by appropriate documentation. Regular attendance is expected and crucial for satisfactory performance in this course. Any syllabus changes will be to the lecture schedule only, communicated on Blackboard via a modified lecture schedule/homework file.