A Scheme for a Hierarchical Organic Chemistry Course Organized as a Neon Electron Configuration Analogy

The author that proposes this course structure is Jef Struyf; a retired instructor of the Health and Technology Department, Katholieke Hogeschool Leuven (KHLeuven), Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, Be-3000 Leuven, Belgium. URL: http://www.khleuven.be, E-mail: jef.struyf@khleuven.be.


The course structure that is organized as a Neon Electron Configuration Analogy is shown in the textbox below. The Neon Electron Configuration Analogy is abbreviated by the acronym NECA.


The neon electron configuration analogy (NECA)


The first NECA shell presents the fundamentals of organic structures (1s NECA)

         The molecular structure of organic compounds

         Physical properties and their relationship to intermolecular forces

The second NECA shell presents organic reactions and mechanisms

The fundamentals of reactions and mechanisms (2s NECA)

         Oxidation level based reaction schemes

         Acid-base reactions and introduction to mechanisms

The mechanistic applications: three pairs of reaction mechanisms (2p NECA)


         Nucleophilic substitution (and competitive elimination)

         Nucleophilic addition (and consecutive elimination)


         Electrophilic substitution

         Electrophilic addition


         Free radical substitution

         Free radical addition


Publications of the author that support this hierarchical course structure are:






Publication 2 shows in six steps an overview of Lewis and condensed formulas for most functional groups of the course including their ionic derivatives. The periodic table is the prior knowledge to which functional groups are related.

Publications 3 and 4 compare boiling points for 22 homologous series. These publications choose the alkyl chain length as a variable to boiling points, which are compared to the boiling point of the corresponding alkanes. By this, the contribution of the functional group to boiling point and intermolecular forces becomes clearer. Both publications promote the comparison of boiling points for structure-property connections.

Publications 2 till 4 collect basic functional group knowledge in a few overviews, which is mostly scattered over many course modules. The latter publications made their content in line with the NECA course structure.