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If you are having problems understanding some of the concepts in organic chemistry, these tutorials may be of help. Below, you will find two types of tutorials. In the column on the left are a selection of Organic Chemistry tutorials made using Macromedia Director. The tutorials use 3D graphics, animation, and interactivity to illustrate organic chemistry concepts. On the right are tutorials called 'PreLectures,' which are movie files with audio narration. PreLectures can be used in various ways. In this author's organic chemistry class, they are used as starting points for classroom discussion. They can also be used to review the material or to gain a different perspective on a topic. The PreLectures can be viewed either within your browser by clicking on the titles below or by subscribing to the video podcast feed at the iTunes Music Store (iTunes required) by clicking on the following button . The PreLecture Project is made possible by a grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Click here to find out more about this project and to view PreLectures developed for general chemistry by Prof. Tracy Morkin of Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Shockwave Animations

Click on the text of the desired topic to see the tutorial as a Shockwave movie. If you do not have the latest version of Shockwave installed (ver. 11.5), you can get it by clicking on the button below.

Orbitals: What are orbitals? What do they look like? How are they used in forming bonds? Get answers to these questions and more by viewing this tutorial. (Size=402 KB)

Phases of Matter: This tutorial illustrates how molecules interact when they are in the solid, liquid, or gas phase. (Size=379 KB)

Boiling & Melting Points of Alkanes: This tutorial discusses the factors that affect the boiling and melting points of molecules. (Size=567 KB)

Ways of Representing Organic Structures: This tutorial introduces the different ways that can be used to draw organic molecules. (Size=364 KB)

Stereochemistry: This tutorial uses 3D graphics to illustrate the various terms used in stereochemistry. (Size=367 KB)

Cycloalkanes: Using 3D glasses, students are shown the intricacies of the cycloalkanes. (Size=500 KB)

Theory of NMR: This tutorial presents the very basic theory of NMR. (Size=286 KB)

Carbocation Rearrangements: Are you having trouble understanding rearrangements? This module shows you what's really going on. (Size=354 KB)

What is a Dihedral Angle: This module explains the dihedral angle and its significance in conformational analysis. (Size=299 KB)

Substitution Reactions: What's the difference between SN1 and SN2? Find out in this tutorial. (Size=466 KB)

Computational Chemistry: Find out what's going on when you use a computer to build and perform calculations on molecules. (Size=2.04 MB)

The Pinacol Rearrangement: This tutorial illustrates the mechanism of the pinacol rearrangement. (Size=270 KB)

Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution: This tutorial explores the ins and outs of this very important class of reactions. (Size=167 KB)

Mass Spectrometer Simulator: This is a computer-based simulation of a mass spectrometer that shows exactly what happens to a molecule in this important instrumental technique. (Size=111 KB)

The Michael Reaction: Learn how alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyls react with nucleophiles. (Size=138 KB)

Aldehydes and Ketones: This tutorial illustrates the various reactions that ketones and aldehydes undergo. (Size=176 KB)

Enolates: Find out how enolates are used in carbon-carbon bond forming (and other) reactions. (Size=164 KB)

Amines: Amines have important chemical and physical properties. View this tutorial to learn more about them. (Size=401 KB)


Click on the text of the desired topic to see the tutorial as a QuickTime movie. If you do not have QuickTime installed in your Plug-Ins folder, you can get it by clicking on the button below.

Lewis Structures: This tutorial provides a brief overview of Lewis structures for organic chemistry. An approach is presented for quickly identifying formal charges and drawing organic compounds. (Runtime = 21:31)

VSEPR: This tutorial discusses the concept of hybridization and explains how hybridized orbitals are the building blocks of organic chemistry. Using hybridization, VSEPR, and bonding theory, the tutorial shows how the shapes of molecules can easily be predicted. (Runtime = 29:18)

Resonance Structures: Resonance is a concept that is frequently used in ochem to explain chemical reactivity. This tutorial provides the basics of drawing resonance structures. (Runtime = 14:07)

Drawing Resonance Structures: Dr. J.C. Olsen covers many helpful tips on drawing resonance structures and also provides useful ways of thinking about resonance. (Runtime = 27:34)

Acidity and Basicity: This tutorial provides an approach for qualitatively determining the relative acidity or basicity of an acid or base. (Runtime = 19:29)

Representing Organic Molecules: Line-angle formulas, condensed structural formulas, and perspective formulas are introduced in this tutorial. (Runtime = 17:35)

Nomenclature of Alkanes: Your ability to name organic compounds (for the entire course) is grounded in your understanding of how to name alkanes. This tutorial covers the basics of alkane nomenclature. (Runtime = 20:51)

Nomenclature of Functionalized Molecules: This tutorial builds upon the previous one on naming alkanes by presenting a general approach to naming a few other classes of organic molecules. (Runtime = 13:20)

Conformational Analysis: This tutorial introduces the concept of conformations of molecules, and how we can discuss the different shapes that molecules can assume using a type of drawing known as a Newman Projection. (Runtime = 18:58)

Mechanisms of Reactions: Mechanisms are drawings that show the movement of electrons in reactions. This tutorial introduces this method of presenting the way reactions proceed. (Runtime = 9:24)

Visualizing in 3-D: This tutorial provides some practice in manipulating molecules in 3-D space. It is intended to help those who may have difficulty visualizing in 3-D. (Runtime = 10:03)

Chirality: This tutorial presents the idea that many objects, including molecules, have left and right handed versions. (Runtime = 5:47)

R/S Nomenclature: Learn how to name compounds that contain stereocenters using this tutorial. (Runtime = 12:39)

R/S Nomenclature Revisited: Learn how to tackle more difficult R/S stereochemistry naming problems. (Runtime = 5:59)

Optical Activity: This tutorial explains the concept of optical activity, a special property of chiral compounds. (Runtime = 6:50)

Reaction Energy Diagrams: This tutorial introduces the concept of Reaction Energy Diagrams and the wealth of information that they provide. (Runtime = 16:47)

Alkene Reactions I: This tutorial covers the hydrohalogenation and hydration of alkenes, two alkene addition reactions that involve the formation of a carbocation. (Runtime = 29:45)

Alkene Reactions II: This tutorial covers several reactions that involve the formation of 3-membered rings as either intermediates or final products. (Runtime = 36:25)

Alkene Reactions III: This tutorial covers, catalytic hydrogenation and hydroboration-oxidation, two reactions that involve simultaneous addition of two groups to the pi bond of an alkene. (Runtime = 17:23)

Alkyne Reactions I: This tutorial covers, hydrohalogenation, halogenation, and hydrogenation, stoichiometrically controllable reactions of alkynes. (Runtime = 16:12)

Alkyne Reactions II: This tutorial covers hydration reactions of alkynes (including the keto-enol tautomerization that follows hydration) and the use of acetylide ions in synthesis to form carbon-carbon bonds. (Runtime = 16:04)

MO Theory: This tutorial introduces the concept of conjugation and molecular orbital theory for conjugated systems. (Runtime = 31:31)

Additions to Conjugated Alkenes: This tutorial covers the concepts of kinetic and thermodynamic control in hydrohalogenation reactions of alkenes. (Runtime = 12:26)

Synthesis: This tutorial discusses how to approach synthesis problems using a technique known as retrosynthetic analysis. (Runtime = 17:07)

The Diels-Alder Reaction: This tutorial covers an important reaction for forming carbon-carbon bonds and for forming 6-membered rings. (Runtime = 30:02)

Nucleophilic Substitution: This tutorial provides a basic overview of the SN2 and SN1 reactions. (Runtime = 6:48)

beta-Elimination: This tutorial provides a basic overview of the E2 and E1 reactions. (Runtime = 17:46)

Alcohol Reactions I: Alcohols contain the hydroxyl (ľOH) functional group, which is a poor leaving group. This tutorial discusses reactions that convert hydroxyl groups to good leaving groups so that they can be used in substitution and elimination reactions (Runtime = 21:13)

Alcohol Reactions II: This tutorial describes what it means for an organic compound to be oxidized or reduced in the context of chromium-based oxidations of alcohols (Runtime = 12:14)

Reactions of Ethers and Epoxides: Ethers are a relatively unreactive class of organic compound, which makes them useful solvents in organic reactions. There are, however, two common types of reactions that ethers undergo. These two reactions are covered in this tutorial. (Runtime = 17:06)

Organometallic Compounds and Reagents: This tutorial discusses an important class of organic compound known as an organometallic compound. Organometallic compounds are carbon nucleophiles and allow us to perform reactions that form carbon-carbon bonds. (Runtime = 19:20)

Radical Reactions of Alkanes Although alkanes are a relatively unreactive class of organic compound, there exists one laboratory reaction that allows us to convert them into haloalkanes. This reaction, the radical halogenation of alkanes, is the subject of this tutorial. (Runtime = 23:07)

Degrees of Unsaturation: This tutorial shows you how, just based on a molecular formula, you can quickly and easily propose possibilities for a molecule's structure. This technique will come in handy when doing spectroscopy problems. (Runtime = 14:21)

Carbocation Rearrangements: This tutorial is an introduction to molecular rearrangements involving carbocations, a process that can change the expected outcome of reactions such as alkene addition reactions, substitution reactions, and elimination reactions, to name a few. (Runtime = 10.47)

Mass Spectrometry: This tutorial covers the common trends and fragmentation patterns observed in mass spectrometry. (Runtime = 32:52)

Spectroscopy, part 1 of 4 In this first tutorial of a three part series, you are introduced to the 3 most common types of spectroscopy encountered in an organic chemistry course. (Runtime = 11:09)

Infrared Spectroscopy: This video is a brief tutorial on interpreting IR spectra. (Runtime = 25:28)

Spectroscopy, part 2 of 4 This 2nd part of the series shows you how to approach combined spectral problems. Specifically, you will be guided through the solution of two problems in which you are given a molecular formula, a mass spec., and an IR spectrum for each. (Runtime = 13:24)

Aromaticity This prelecture is an introduction to aromaticity, a very strong driving force for stability in organic chemistry. (Runtime = 30:11)

Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution (EAS) This tutorial discusses a very important class of reaction that benzene rings undergo. (Runtime = 32:33)

EAS - Reactivity of Benzene Rings This tutorial extends the discussion of electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions to polysubstituted benzene rings. It answers the question "where will a reaction take place on the benzene ring if it already contains a substituent?" (Runtime = 24:18)

Spectroscopy, part 3 of 4 This tutorial covers 13C NMR spectroscopy. It's purpose is to act as a summary of how you can use 13C NMR to solve structure problems. It is NOT meant to be an introduction to the topic, but rather a guide for you to refer to AFTER you have read the text or attended the lecture on the topic. (Runtime = 18:47)

Spectroscopy, part 4 of 4 This tutorial covers 1H NMR spectroscopy. It's purpose is to act as a summary of how you can use 1H NMR to solve structure problems. It is NOT meant to be an introduction to the topic, but rather a guide for you to refer to AFTER you have read the text or attended the lecture on the topic. (Runtime = 22:40)

Nucleophilic Acyl Substitution Nucleophilic acyl substitution is a reaction that is ubiquitous to carboxylic acid derivatives. This tutorial shows how these compounds undergo a common mechanism regardless of the starting material or nucleophile. (Runtime = 11:14)

Ketone and Aldehyde Reactions I This tutorial covers irreversible nucleophilic addition reactions to ketones and aldehydes. Specifically, the video presents the reactions of carbon nucleophiles and hydride readucing reagents on the carbonyl carbon of ketones and aldehydes. (Runtime = 22:30)

Ketone and Aldehyde Reactions II This tutorial covers reversible nucleophilic addition reactions to ketones and aldehydes. Specifically, the video presents the reactions of nitrogen nucleophiles on the carbonyl carbon of ketones and aldehydes to form imines and enamines. (Runtime = 12:38)

Ketone and Aldehyde Reactions III This tutorial covers reversible nucleophilic addition reactions to ketones and aldehydes. Specifically, the video presents the reactions of oxygen and sulfur nucleophiles on the carbonyl carbon of ketones and aldehydes to form hemiacetals and acetals, or hemithioacetals and thioacetals in the case of sulfur. (Runtime = 19:21)

The Aldol Reaction The aldol reaction is the reaction of an enolate of a ketone or aldehyde with the carbonyl carbon of another ketone or aldehyde. It is one of the most useful ways to form a carbon-carbon bond. This tutorial covers the basics of the reaction. (Runtime = 25:01)