CHEM 311L: Physical Chemistry Laboratory

Reader requirements: A basic knowledge of undergraduate physical chemistry.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information:

Instructor: Prof. Todd Woerner

Laboratory experiments designed to accompany CHEM 311: Physical Chemistry II.


Student Writing Assignment:

What are students writing? A journal article.

For whom? Professionally invested science educators, lay readers with an interest in Undergrad science education.

Where would such writing typically be found? J. Chem Ed, J Phys Chem.

Why would someone usually read it? To learn something new about chemistry, or to review a topic learned in the past.


These are the course deadlines, as they pertain to the Duke Reader Project:

  • Jan 31: All students who want to participate in the reader project must sign-up by this date
  • April 2: Student sends draft of intro (for final paper) to reader
  • Student arranges meeting with their reader no later than April 9 to discuss intro draft and receive their reader’s feedback
  • April 18: Student sends full draft of final paper to reader. Student should arrange a meeting with their reader to receive feedback ASAP. Please give your reader as much time as possible to review this draft so that they can offer you as thoughtful and productive feedback as possible.
  • (Optional) Meet with reader by April 22 to go over presentation for Oral Report.
  • Student schedules time to meet with reader to share and go over final paper no later than April 24 (Note from DRP Coordinator: Final paper is due on April 25, so the sooner you can get your final paper to your reader and schedule a time to discuss feedback on it, the better. Please don’t wait until the last minute to share your final paper with your reader and then expect them to have feedback ready for you within just a couple of days. Plan ahead in order to get as much benefit as possible out of their feedback and to not have to be make any herculean requests of their time!)


Giving Feedback (general information that will apply to most courses):

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s response questions (things for the volunteers for this specific course to consider when reading student’s work):

  • Does the student clearly place his/her research in context?
  • Does the student use charts/graphs/illustrations clearly to demonstrate the setup and outcomes?
  • Does the discussion offer a compelling and clear explanation of the project?