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CHEM 151 - Prep General Chemistry - Heidi McMahon

Course:Prep General Chemistry
Professor:Heidi McMahon
  • Hybrid
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Photograph of Professor Heidi McMahon

Welcome to the (almost!) start of our semester, and our adventure together in CHEM 151. Whether this is your first time taking chemistry, or you've seen it before, I'm sure that you have some questions, concerns, and uncertainty as we start this semester together. To try to help you all feel more comfortable and prepared for what is ahead, and so you hopefully know exactly what to expect, I have outlined the format/plan for our class this semester, which will hopefully answer questions you may have. Details about your specific section and our required class meeting times will be emailed to you separately, closer to the start of the semester. 


Course Description

Welcome to Chemistry 151 - 4.0 unit CSU, UC transferable course! This is a one semester preparatory course for CHEM 201 and provides intensive foundation in problem solving, basic atomic theory, stoichiometry, nomenclature, states of matter, and solution chemistry.  Laboratory experiences will enforce principles learned and will familiarize students with proper handling and maintenance of gravimetric and volumetric equipment. Students that need non-majors general education course should take CHEM 100.  4 units: UC:CSU  transferable  Grading: Letter Grade   Prerequisite: Math 060, or its equivalent as determined by COC Assessment Center.

Student Learning Outcomes:


1.   Analyze chemical problems and chemical reactions according to stoichiometric methodology.

2.   Examine the forms and states of matter, the structure of the atom, arrangement of electrons, and how this relates to the organization of the periodic table.

3.   Differentiate between the essential features of covalent and ionic bonding.


  1. Investigate chemical reactions with chemicals, scientific glassware, and instruments in a precise, accurate, and safe manner.
  2. Analyze chemical data, including graphical manipulation, and formulate meaningful conclusions based on the chemical data.

What to Expect in this Course

  1. Are we going to have scheduled lecture and labs?

This depends on which section you have registered for - hybrid or traditional. In both cases, we will be meeting weekly IN PERSON for lab. Attendance in your weekly lab section is mandatory in order to turn in/receive credit for that week's lab.

For those of you who have registered for the hybrid course, this is the only scheduled meeting time for the course - we never meet for lecture (that is handled 100% online). For those of you who have registered for a traditional section, with lecture periods twice a week, we will also be meeting for lecture together, in person, two times a week. 

  1. How are we going to do labs?

We will cover this much more in-depth during your first scheduled lab day (which, and this is important, you must attend or you will be dropped from the course!) but essentially these 3-hour periods each week will be used to perform experiments of course, but also to take exams and quizzes, and also work through some of the material that you have been covering the week leading up to it. So there will be a mini-lecture component involved most weeks.

  1. How will the course be organized?

The course in Canvas is organized in Modules for each week and the material in them will align with what we are covering that week (per the syllabus/schedule). On average, we will cover one chapter per week - so it means things go fast. Each Module will contain my lecture notes (pdf and PowerPoint formats), any pre-recorded lectures for you to watch, all assignments due for that week, and extra resources to help you learn the material.

  1. How are we going to be graded?

I try to create a variety of ways for you to earn points, not just tests.  We will rely on homework assignments, Guided Learning Activities, quizzes/exams, laboratory activities, projects, and discussion posts for assessment purposes. 

  1. How will we submit our assignments?

This is going to vary by assignment, but I will make sure you have clear, detailed directions for everything you turn in. Briefly:

  • Your homework assignments and some quizzes are turned in through their own website, CHEM 101.
  • Some assignments will be performed within Canvas, and so it will automatically submit your answers to me.
  • Some activities (like labs, projects, and GLAs for example) you will turn in paper copies of, in -person, during our weekly lab meetings. 
  1. Do I need any special materials if I am in the hybrid course?
  • You will need regular access to a reliable computer with stable, high-speed internet connection
  • Access and familiarity with Canvas (for technical support using Canvas, visit the Canvas Tech Support page for students
  • Access to (and frequent checking of!) your canyons student email address
  • You will need the following software on your computer:
    • Internet browser (Chrome works best with Canvas)
    • Microsoft Word (you can download the Microsoft Office Suite for FREE as part of your my.canyons email account)
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader. You need to be able to open, print, and save PDF files. To view PDF files you need a current version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

General Topics for CHEM 151

  1. What materials do I need for the class?

More detailed information will be available on this in the Introduction Module in Canvas as well as in our course syllabus, but briefly you will need:

  • Textbook: College of the Canyons OER textbook
  • Aktiv Chemistry Homework Access Code available directly through Canvas (or through the bookstore if required)
  • Lab Manual: available as a pdf to be printed in each weekly module or pre-printed at the COC bookstore (~$3)
  • Lab Goggles: Available for purchase in bookstore. These MUST be purchased by the second lab; without them you WILL NOT be allowed to participate in the laboratory and it will be marked as an unexcused absence/0.
  • Scientific calculator: Please see instructor prior to first exam to ensure that your calculator is appropriate for the course. NO graphing or programmable calculators should be used.


Types of Assessments

Assessments will take on a variety of different forms including: online homework assignments completed through Aktiv Chemistry, quizzes & exams, online discussion boards, weekly laboratory activities, Guided Learning Activities, and projects. 

Textbook Information

I will talk more about this on our first day together, so if possible I suggest you wait until our first meeting meeting to make your purchase.

Other Relevant Course Information

Remember, if you are registered for this class you must show up on the first day or you will be automatically dropped from the class, and your seat given to a student on the waitlist. For those of you registered for a section with lectures, this means you must be present in our first lecture period. For those of you in my hybrid section, this applies to our first lab period of the semester, plus the completion of our first discussion post.

If you are on the waitlist, you will only be able to add the course if a student that is currently registered drops - either sometime between now and the start of the semester (in which case, the system will automatically move students up the waitlist and into the course) or by not attending on the first day. I have no control over the order of the waitlist. Whatever your position is at the time you registered is how far down you are; I cannot make any adjustments or add out-of-order. You are highly encouraged to attend lecture on the first day of class, to ensure you get all of the important introductory information!

That covers the very brief, highlight version of our plan for next semester. Once it is available (closer to the start of the semester, generally about 1-2 weeks before), you should head into Canvas and start going through the Introduction Module – it will have far more detailed explanations on the things briefly mentioned here, as well as our course syllabus. Also, keep an eye out for another email from me about a week before the semester too - it will contain more detailed information about your specific section. 

At any point please email me with any questions you have at I will be away for the entire Winter break (including during the Winter session), but I will try to check in with my email occasionally during this time. Most importantly, know that I am here to support you!! I look forward to meeting you all very soon!

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 01/11/2024 Sub#: 394