“Embedding Benchtop NMR in the Undergraduate Curriculum”
Following our Series 2017 we had a webinar based once again on the implementation of NMR processing for undergraduate students.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a key technique that enables the atom connectivity of a molecule to be deciphered. Despite its importance, teaching in undergraduate chemistry programmes places emphasis more on the theoretical underpinnings of the technique rather than gaining practical experience.
Institutions often implement an NMR service for undergraduate laboratory experiments and projects; although students experience making the samples and interpreting the data they obtain, they never experience the data collection component. This lack of experiential learning can hamper some student’s ability to link the theory to the practical aspect.
We have begun to implement the use of benchtop NMR in to undergraduate laboratory practical experiments and coursework elements to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience of this technique. Specifically, we have developed a small practical for a year 2 module in which groups of students are tasked with obtaining both 1D and 2D 1H NMR data of two unknowns using a benchtop NMR device followed by processing using Mnova. This data is then used in conjunction with other spectroscopic data to elucidate the structures of the two unknown compounds. Previously, this was solely a paper-based exercise in which students were provided the relevant spectra.
Qualitative questionnaires indicated that the students enjoyed the practical and that the experiment provided hands-on experience of collecting NMR data and its subsequent analysis. Students felt empowered that they could perform the experiment again for different molecules and also that they could take ownership of the data for themselves.
All the students surveyed indicated that the experiment had helped forge links between theory and practical NMR elements. Some students even indicated that they felt their job prospects may be improved by having had this experience. In addition to this practical, other laboratory practical experiments will be discussed to highlight how NMR can be implemented in to the undergraduate curriculum.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr. Ryan Mewis
Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Dr. Mewis graduated from the University of Hull with a MChem (Hons) in 2005 and subsequently obtained a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the same institution by working on the “Synthesis of Tetraazamacrocycles: Biomedical Applications” under the supervision of Drs Archibald and Boyle.
In 2009 he joined the group of Professor Simon Duckett at the University of York as a Postdcotoral Fellow to work on a project related to the hyperpolarisation technique SABRE (Signal Amplification By Reversible Exchange) entitled the “Chemical Aspects of Hyperpolarisation”. This project, which was part of a joint collaboration with Professor Gary Green (University of York), was focused on developing what is primarily a spectroscopic technique, to one that can be used in clinical diagnosis.
In February 2015, Dr Mewis joined the staff at Manchester Metropolitan University as a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016.