It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest difficulties students have in learning organic chemistry is in keeping track of all the reactions.
That’s why many of the summary sheets I’ve prepared for the different topics in organic chemistry contain itemized lists of important reactions. It’s also what led to the creation of the Reaction Guide last year, a guide to over 170 of the key reactions in introductory organic chemistry.
This has resulted in some interesting feedback. “Thanks for the summary sheets“, said one student. “I printed them out, cut them up, and used them as flashcards!”
After receiving several more emails like this where resources I’d developed for one reason ended up being repurposed for another, I started to take the hint: there’s a strong demand for organic chemistry flashcards. Although I don’t regard flashcards as an optimal long term strategy for learning organic chemistry, I’ve recommended them to students who find themselves in desperate circumstances.
So Rich and I have put our heads together and built an experimental first version of an organic chemistry flashcards app.
The first version of Flashcards is pretty simple. It contains cards for about 30 reactions in organic chemistry, focusing specifically on the reactions of alkenes. Here’s an example for oxymercuration:
Pressing the “forward” button reveals the answer:
The next reaction can be accessed with a swipe. Since each reaction has 3 variables (starting material, reagent, and product) there are 3 ways of testing the same reaction. Each reaction therefore has 4 flashcards associated with it, giving a total of about 120 in all.
For the moment we regard this app as an experiment. We’re looking for feedback. Is this app useful? What types of features would be good to include? How could it be better? If you could wave a magic wand and add features to it, what would you add?
The Organic Reactions Flashcards app is currently available free from the iTunes store. If you download it and try it, please leave a rating!