Back to top

Molecules of Life Syllabus - Fall 2017

Chemistry 10055 -- Online -- Molecules of Life
Fall 2017

Printable Version

Contact Information

Dr. Clarke W. Earley
Kent State University at Stark
421 Main Hall
Phone: (330) 244-3421
Office Hours: View schedule or by appointment.
Web site:



Required: "General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry", by L. Frost & T. Deal; Published by Pearson.  This should be available through the any Kent campus bookstore.  Any edition or format is acceptable.

In addition to the assigned textbook, you will need to access all of the material on this site. While not required, you might find it convenient to print some of this.



While there are no specific courses required as prerequisites, students are expected to be able to read and write at a college-level and be able to perform basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions).  Note that you will be allowed to use a calculator on exams.  No prior chemistry coursework is required.


Course Description

Molecules of Life is an introductory chemistry course designed to introduce students to a broad range of basic chemical principles and apply these to living organisms. Topics to be covered are listed on the course schedule. In all cases, the emphasis will be on demonstrating how the chemical principles being discussed apply to biological systems.

This course will cover a rather large amount of material. If you feel you are falling behind, it is essential that you get help as soon as possible. The pace of this course and the fact that concepts build on each other makes it extremely difficult to catch up once a student falls behind.



Grades for this course will be based on the following:

  • Examinations - 300 pts
    Students will be required to take three proctored examinations for this course.  For students near the Stark campus, I will administer exams on campus as outlined in the Examinations section below.  Students who choose not to attend these sessions must complete their exams within the specified time periods at any KSU Regional Campus Testing Center or at another approved location.  For locations other than KSU Testing Centers, arrangements must be made and approved by Dr. Earley by the end of the second week of the semester (September 8, 2017).  Because these will be pencil-and-paper exams (not computer-based), ProctorU will NOT be an acceptable option for taking these examinations. See the Proctored Exam Options Page for additional information.
  • Online Quizzes - 50 pts
    The online modules will either directly contain or provide links to most of the content for this course.  Periodically, students will be required to take unproctored, online quizzes to test their understanding of the topics covered in these modules.  These quizzes will be used to monitor student progress through these modules.
  • Discussion Board - 20 pts
    Each week during the semester, a discussion prompt will be posted. You will be required to create at least 10 posts of at least 100 words (worth 2 points each) on the discussion board during the semester. You will be given credit for up to two posts for each topic (provided the content of these posts is significantly different), so you are not required to respond to every prompt.
  • Paper - 20 pts
    Students will be required to write one paper on a scientific topic. This paper will be shared anonymously (based on an alias you provide) with other students in the class. In addition to being graded on the content of this paper, students will be required to comment on other students' papers.
Grading Scale
90+% 88-90% 82-88% 80-82% 78-80% 72-78% 70-72% 60-70% <60%
A B+ B B- C+ C C- D F

All course grades will be posted on Blackboard Learn, but the GradeBook link located near the top of the left-column on the course website will provide a more up-to-date summary of your grades for the online quizzes and papers.



The format of the proctored, pencil-and-paper examinations will be varying combinations of multiple choice, true/false, calculations, drawing chemical structures, and short answer.  You will be allowed to use a non-programmable calculator on these exams.  Unless approved by the instructor in advance, each exam must be taken within the one week periods listed below. See the Proctored Exam Options page for details on selecting a site to take your exams.

  • Exam #1 -  At an approved site between September 25-29, 2017 OR Tuesday, September 26, 5:30 pm: 317 Main Hall, Stark Campus.
  • Exam #2 - At an approved site between October 30 - November 3, 2017 OR Tuesday, October 31, 5:30 pm: 317 Main Hall, Stark Campus.
  • Final Exam - At an approved site between December 11-15, 2017 OR Tuesday, December 12, 5:30 pm: 317 Main Hall, Stark Campus.

While the content of this course can change significantly between semesters, copies of old examinations will be made available on this web site. You will be allowed to use a non-programmable calculator during the exams. Note that you will not be allowed to use your phone as a calculator.


Initial Requirements & Course Content

The first time a student logs into this course, he or she will be prompted to create a password (for security, do NOT use your Flashline password).  They should also create a name ("My Alias") that will be shared with other students for all material posted on this site.  To obtain full access to all of the material on this site, students must first select a Testing Site for taking the required proctored exams by editing their User Profile.

The topics covered in this course are divided into three sections (one for each exam) on the Course Content page.  Within each section are links to the Learning Modules, which provide the content for this course.  The calendar (located near the bottom of the left-column of the course website lists due dates for upcoming assignments and should be consulted regularly.


Learning Modules/Quizzes

Each of the topics covered in this course is broken into sections.  While the content of these sections will show significant variation, sections will typically contain a reading assignment from the course textbook, pages containing audio or video summarizing important topics, handouts, links to web pages covering aspects of this topic, practice problems, and online quizzes.  It is expected that students will work through this material in the sequences given.

The online quizzes are generally short (less than 10 questions) and must be completed by the due dates listed in each section for full credit. You may repeat these quizzes as many times as necessary. Only your best quiz score will be used. These quizzes will remain open all semester, so you are allowed to take these after the posted deadlines (but will not receive credit for this).


Discussion Boards and Online Identity

Each student should create an alias, and only this name (not the student's real name) will be shared with the rest of the class. While all of the student posts on this site do not include individuals' real identities, students are still expected to be courteous in all of their posts. Personal attacks, demeaning or inflammatory language, or other posts deemed inappropriate by the instructor will be deleted. Repeated occurrences of this behavior will result in at least loss of access to some or all of the material on this site. Depending on the nature of the offense(s), additional sanctions may be applied that are consistent with University policy.

Most weeks during the semester, a discussion prompt will be posted. You will be required to create at least 10 posts of at least 100 words each on the discussion board during the semester. Each of these posts will be worth 2 points. In many cases, you will be responding to other student's posts. To encourage discussion, you will be given credit for up to two posts most weeks (provided the content of these posts is significantly different). While it is not necessary to participate in the discussion board every week, you will need to respond to more than half of the prompts, so I encourage you to not get behind on this.



The shared paper is designed to give students the opportunity to research scientific topics and write a paper summarizing this information. In this paper, students will generally be defending a position and will need to present facts to support this. Full details will be provided in the appropriate section of the the course content pages.


Office Hours/Instructor Access

For most students, e-mail will be the most convenient method for contacting me.  There is an answering machine on the phone in my office, so feel free to call any time at this number. I will generally respond to email messages and phone calls within 24 hours during the week, and within 48 hours over most weekends.

Note that I may have very limited availability from September 5-7, 2017, so you should not count on any responses during this time.

In addition, I will hold physical office hours (421 Main Hall) at the times listed on my schedule.  Students on the Stark campus can come at any of these times without an appointment.  If you are not in the area, these would generally be good times to call.


Learning Outcomes

The following Learning Outcomes were created and approved by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand atomic, molecular, and ionic structure
  • Be able to represent ionic and molecular species, including more complex organic structures, correctly
  • Understand the role of polarity and geometry in determining behavior at the molecular level
  • Describe the role of equilibrium in chemical systems
  • Understand the role of energy in chemical reactions and its application to metabolism in a living system
  • Understand important aspects of solution chemistry and its application to the chemistry of a living organism
  • Understand the chemical basis for the functioning of biomacromolecules such as proteins, lipids, and DNA


Additional Information

In addition to the information on this page, the links listed below provide information about various University policy statements (Academic honesty, Students with disabilities, etc.), and other general information (email accounts, posting of grades, etc.).