Multiple Authors, OpenStax
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 978-1-9381683-9-0
Conditions of Use
This textbook has a thorough coverage of general chemistry, and has good coverage of subject matter I rarely am able to touch on in a general read more
This textbook has a thorough coverage of general chemistry, and has good coverage of subject matter I rarely am able to touch on in a general chemistry course, such as coordination compounds and the chemistry of the representative elements. The text has sufficient depth and breadth, and incorporates some historical references as well to assist in the explanation of concepts. The book is laid out in a logical pattern, and has a useful table of contents and index, as well as multiple appendices replete with useful information.
The information contained in the chapters I read thoroughly was accurate and gave excellent explanations of the topics. I did find a few errors here and there, typographical in a few figures, but you find typos in every textbook, every edition. The actual text of the book I read appeared to be without error. Quotations were accurately referenced (I checked the one by Lagrange). Most of the topics covered in general chemistry have had little change for years. There appeared to be no apparent bias in the information presented in the textbook. I found it to be informative and fact-based.
There are several instances of examples that have come from recent events around the world, as well as those that are traditionally included in chemistry textbooks. I would find it difficult to think the textbook would fall out of date, as the material in a general chemistry class would have little variation over time. The examples that are primarily “real-world” appear to be separate from the bulk of common textbook information, a design feature that lends itself to efficient updating for future information to be included, revised or revisited.
The language used in the textbook is appropriate and adequate for explanation of chemical concepts. In fact, at times it reads more like a lecture than a textbook, which I think helps the student with more detailed information than that of other textbooks. Having the learning objectives listed for each section assists the students in understanding what they will learn and should understand.
The textbook layout varies little from the textbook I currently use and could most likely be used by reordering the chapters in this text with little effort. There is a logical grouping of information, and there is a similar presentation throughout the textbook. I saw little variation in the explanation of material between this text and others.
As I mentioned above, the textbook could be used with little rearrangement in my current classes. The chapters, due to limited crossover in the text, are capable of being arranged in a different order than the current version. I like the fact that the book even provides an “atoms first” order, suggesting the alternate pathway through the material. I believe this text can be organized easily and effectively for the students based on the faculty member’s choices.
The organization of the textbook is similar to other general chemistry textbooks I’ve seen, so there isn’t anything surprising it the structure of the chapters or the flow of the text. I have rearranged lectures in the past based on the books I have used, so that I don’t have to introduce material in later chapters to explain the material in the current chapter. I believe this book would help alleviate this issue.
I used a bound copy to evaluate, but also looked at the textbook online. It appears nearly identical. The only difference is that in the print version, examples were numbered while those online were not. Figures have numbers in the hard-bound version while they are in-line with the text online. One benefit of the online version is that after each section, the end-of-chapter questions are right there. The only thing that was distracting is that the examples in the book seem to extend on to the next page, and tables stretch over two pages also. It would make more sense to start the table at the top of a page and have it all together.
I found no grammatical errors in the chapters I read thoroughly. It reads well, and is put together well.
I found it to be very relevant to the times technologically, and did not see anything that would be offensive or insensitive to any particular group. I appreciate the effort of putting scientist features in the text, and would suggest incorporating more of these features with a wider variety to benefit outreach for chemistry as a whole. Also, I had to flip through each chapter to find information on scientists, as there was no index for those features.
Looking over the textbook, and considering the very low cost for students, I am seriously considering using this textbook instead our current text. Before looking at the text, I had been a bit wary due to a colleague in a different discipline who struggled with open resources that were disjointed, and had terrible figures. After reviewing this book, I found the pictures to be clear, concise, and useful. Additionally, the text itself is well-written and organized in a logical fashion.
The book is quite comprehensive and covers all the material I want it to. read more
The book is quite comprehensive and covers all the material I want it to.
Content is accurate. Does still include d-orbitals in hybridization, which has lately fallen out of favor.
I think the book is relevant and should be easy to update if necessary.
The level seems appropriate for first-year college students.
The book uses a consistent vocabulary and terminology. It is easy to keep track of the new words being introduced.
The book seems fairly easy to break into smaller reading sections. However, compared to other chemistry texts, there are fewer subsections per chapter. This occasionally means the professor has to say "We won't cover the information on the bottom of page 105" rather than simply saying "We'll skip section 4.3."
The topics are fairly logical. Occasionally, it feels like the book makes a right-hand turn (for example, ionic equations are given very sudden and swift treatment) and starts covering a subject for which the background has not been fully established.
The interface is quite nice.
I have not found any grammatical errors.
I always wish chemistry texts would find a way to highlight non-white, non-male scientists, and this text is no different.
A side by side comparison of this text and two others currently on the market (Silberberg/Amateis and Atkins/Jones/Laverman) reveal a nearly read more
A side by side comparison of this text and two others currently on the market (Silberberg/Amateis and Atkins/Jones/Laverman) reveal a nearly identical coverage of overall content/subject matter. There are differences in sequencing at times but I value Openstax's explicitly presented alternative sequencing scenario. The other two texts have significantly more detailed tables of contents, glossaries, and indexes. In my opinion, however, this detailed presentation of contents is over-rated in terms of effectiveness for the student's learning and while it distinguishes one text from another, if cost and access are the issues to be addressed here by the existence of open textbooks, then the Openstax Chemistry text does the job. Modern textbooks are, again, my opinion, regurgitations of each other. Nothing is missing from Openstax that is found in other texts.
I believe accuracy is the most difficult trait to "review" since I usually only find errors during the close reading done while I am teaching from a text (and from having students do close reading and problem solving from a particular text). That being said, I see no errors, glaring or otherwise in my page by page comparison of several definitions (Ksp, dissociation, Hess's Law, Dalton's atomic theory). Though the latter is broken down into 5 postulates compared to the traditional 4...but that's really just a result of style of presentation of that particular item. I find no accuracy issue to report here.
ALL of the tradition/conventional/necessary/foundational content is included here. There are certainly no too many necessarily updateable examples/figures/photos. Up to date is an interesting way to try to assess a basic chemistry text...fact of the matter is that the subject matter does not change!!!!!
Chemistry is, by nature, a "second language". But Openstax does no more or less jargon usage than is necessary and the clarity is absolutely consistent with the best products on the commercial textbook market. In addition, the absence of "margin notes" makes the open page of the Openstax text a calm proposition. I believe the STUDENT is well-served by the Openstax level of clarity.
Yes! In addition, it is consistent with the best products on the commercial textbook market!
I've no issues at all with the modularity. In fact, I prefer the look of the Openstax page. Modern textbooks are WAY too jam-packed with information per page and that makes them hard to read! There are plenty of sub-units to allow for instructor-initiated alternate reading scenarios. I comment on some modularity issues that are also flow issues below.
Indeed, the organization is nearly identical to best-selling products currently on the market. Organization/structure/flow is always a personal preference on the part of the instructor; with respect to this issue, I have no critical comments to offer for the Openstax text.
I did find a number of Tables (2.3, 2.4, 4.2, 10.4, 15.1, 18.2, as examples) and Examples (7.11, 10.6, 11.3, 11.4, 20.10 for example) that continued to the next page. Those are just representative cases...the book is FULL of this particular interface issue. I don't believe Tables should EVER continue to a next page in a textbook (though that is certainly necessary for bound volumes of tables like the CRC!) and while it is not at all uncommon for Examples (example problems) to need to run to the next page, the examples I list here have only the title of the example problem on the bottom of the page and then the worked example in its entirety on the next page...I believe this to be particularly distracting. Tables in other texts with which I am familiar are far more densely packed and subsequently more difficult to read but at least they are all contained on a page. Honestly, though, I'm only going to knock one point off of my rating, below, because I don't think most students care about this especially now that they are moving to reading in digital format...really they care about how much that textbook costs. One thing I really like about the Openstax text is the complete lack of "margin" information. Those margin notes have become way too distracting. In modern texts, the "margins" are full of dense material, not "notes". The pages of the Openstax text are calmer, more spaciously presented, less colorful...good stuff.
I see no glaring errors in the Openstax text with spelling, punctuation, super and sub-scripting, capitalization, etc. I find third person prose a tedious read, but that is convention and the Openstax text, sticks to it!
The Openstax text does a good job of minimizing persons in photos where their presence is of no consequence but if I'm being hypercritical (as a reviewer should!) I'm wondering why we have a large photo of Walter Kohn and a blurb but no photo of Dorothy Hodgkin? And there are a number of figures and photos that could be changed to include persons of color; the text is overwhelmingly Western and white. That's pretty traditional in the discipline and it needs to change.
Hands down worthwhile for the $$$. I would teach from this text without hesitation. Though at this time our department uses a common text, making individual instructor preference irrelevant. If there existed a non-majors basic chemistry text, I would not hesitate to class test it!
The text is quite comprehensive. Standard areas of general chemistry are covered very well, at level above that found in most currently used texts. read more
The text is quite comprehensive. Standard areas of general chemistry are covered very well, at level above that found in most currently used texts. The numerous and well chosen examples and exercises are well designed to help students master the material
The text is accurate. I have found it free of errors and bias.
The main concepts of introductory chemistry such as atomic theory, the periodic table, equilibria etc. have been well established for many decades. Relevance is introduced through use of common everyday examples in the home, environment and industry. Well chosen illustrations and PhET animations help make this a modern text. Numerous modern examples, like new materials, devices and environmental aspects of chemistry are highly relevant today, but may be relatively easily updated with future scientific progress.
The text is clear, well organized and easy to read. Well designed and carefully chosen illustrations are a great help in understanding the concepts.
The treatment of is consistent, a single style/voice maintained through text. Terminology use is well explained.
The text is well designed for modularity. Every chapter has multiple well delineated sub-sections. Re-ordering chapters to emphasize a more atoms-first approach is easy.
The book is well organized, topics are introduced in a clear and logical fashion, with new material building on previous knowledge. Introductory and closing sections ensure a smooth flow of information.
Navigating the text is easy (I read the PDF version through a web browser). One feature that I disliked was splitting tables across pages.
The text is grammatically correct.
The 'Portrait of a Chemist' vignettes introduce the reader to the achievements of a diverse group of chemists.
This is an excellent text, comprehensive, clearly written, well organized. I especially liked the multiple examples of chemistry in everyday life. I am recommending this book for use in my department.
This book is an excellent as a choice for a one quarter or two quarter chemistry class. The subjects cover all the essential information. The read more
This book is an excellent as a choice for a one quarter or two quarter chemistry class. The subjects cover all the essential information. The glossary is complete. There were many subjects included that are not included in my current textbook that is used for Introductory Chemistry.
Book has been great so far. I (and my students) have not uncovered any mistakes.
Having an online presence can make updating the book a much simpler process. The content was very up to date. Examples given were timely and still relevant to today's student.
Text was easy to follow and clear for students. Not too overly wordy with nomenclature.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology. Words that are defined early on in the text are used again later.
I appreciate the shorter chapters. Smaller reading sections make it seems less daunting to students and easier to break up assignments.
I think the topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion. It makes sense to the introductory student, and as an instructor I don't have to skip chapters and then come back to them later.
Interface looks and works great. Navigating through the pdf and clicking on links embedded in the text is a great tool for expanding on ideas in the classroom.
None found (yet).
I found no examples that were insensitive or offensive in any way.
I am very happy with using the textbook in my class. I know my students are thrilled about the price. I usually have the pdf open on my classroom's workstation. If I need to refer to a diagram I can click to it immediately and show it on the big screen. I can also click on links to further enforce ideas and show some great application and demonstration videos.
This textbook covers all of the typical areas addressed in the (many) General Chemistry texts that are on the market. The layout is very similar to read more
This textbook covers all of the typical areas addressed in the (many) General Chemistry texts that are on the market. The layout is very similar to the one that we are currently using and the coverage in each subject area is equal to or better than our current text. There is an effective and highly functional (using embedded links in the pdf file) table of contents and index. There are also cross-links within the text to all of the Tables and Figures as well as to external sources, including the excellent PHeT simulations maintained by the University of Colorado. Nearly every section and subsection includes an example problem that is keyed to the material. This allows for ready integration of the quantitative and qualitative levels of understanding that is critical to success in General Chemistry.
The book is accurate and almost entirely free of typographical errors (we would presume that there would be few errors of substance in a subject as well-developed as General Chemistry). Some of the "real world" examples touch on areas that can be considered politically controversial (like Global Climate Science) but these are well done and stick to unimpeachable facts, so their accuracy is a strength of the text. To my eye, these sections are pretty neutral and unbiased. The majority of the content is comprehensively and accurately presented and there is little controversy in the presentation of the science behind General Chemistry, most of which is decades, if not centuries old. I have not carefully checked the veracity of the answers to the problems at the end of each chapter (of which there are a very good number) but I am a pretty good copy editor and I only found three typographical errors in the six chapters that I carefully read. This book therefore has less errors in it than all of the commercially produced editions that I have used in the last twenty years.
As I mentioned in the point above, the vast majority of the content in a General Chemistry textbook hasn't changed in decades and isn't likely to change much in the foreseeable future. The "real-world" examples and artwork are the things that I can see will need updating. As they currently exist, they are very topical and well-chosen and all show high relevance to the sections that they were placed in. There are a few examples of reuse of artwork of examples, but these are actually useful in showing the students the "connected-ness" of the material and to reinforce the concept of building a topic from fundamentals upward. The beauty of the open-access format is that updating these "extra" sections of the text will be relatively painless and I could even imagine a user-forum where students or faculty could submit their own contributions to the list of connections and relevant examples. I also expect that the use of video (instead of stills) within the chapters will continue to become seamless, allowing much more accessible illustrations of the material. Obviously these types of things will never be easy to implement in a hardcopy text.
The text is easy to read and is careful to explain the first (and in some cases repeated) occurrence of necessary jargon, which a study of Chemistry is obliged to include. The sections are relatively short and avoid long explanations of the application of equations and other actionable concepts by including clear and relevant example problems. The explanation of the key concepts was as clear or clearer than that in the text we are currently using. The links to the external sources should significantly improve the students comprehension of the material, since it allows them to clearly visualize the material that is described in the text. All of the links that I followed connected cleanly and quickly to the targets, all of which were on-point to the material in that section.
Again, this is a bit of a given in General Chemistry texts, where there is broad agreement on the presentation of the content, including symbology, terminology, and algorithm. This book is both internally consistent in its treatment and externally consistent with the accepted approach (at least in the traditional sense, since the new atoms first approach represents a slightly different paradigm). I should note that each chapter also stands on its own allowing some freedom in choosing the order in which they are presented. At my institution, which is on quarters, we save Chapters 5, and 9 for the second term and then progress through to Chapter 13 in the rest of that quarter, and I see no problems in that order for the presentation in either of the first two terms.
The book is wonderfully modular with clearly encapsulated sub-sections, nearly all of which have example problems and related end of chapter homework. Almost every sub-section has an external link to help illustrate the material or a "real-world" example to improve the currency. We (faculty who teach General Chemistry) tend to follow the same rough order of presentation, as I noted above, but at my institution, we also use a POGIL workbook, which does not always align exactly with the order of topics in the text. I think it would be easy for faculty (or even students, who are not always used to using an index or table of contents) to identify the subsections (often referred to as modules in the text) that relate to a given POGIL assignment. None of the modules in any of the six chapters that I read carefully would require more than a half-hour of dedicated study time for the initial reading by an average student.
Again, this large scale organization of this book is similar to the large majority of General Chemistry textbooks on the market, so it is a bit of a given that this is the right way to do it. But as noted in the point above, the small scale organization of this text into small digestible modules, most of which incorporate relevant example problems and external links or examples is what makes it so readable. There are always difficult transitions and/or conceptual cul de sacs in the material in a General Chemistry class, but this text does a better job than many of easing those transitions and attempting to show how the material fits into the bigger picture.
I must confess that I only used the pdf version of the text (there is also an online reading tool and a hardcopy that can be printed and mailed to the student) but I did try it out on a computer, ipad mini, and older Blackberry device and it was quite usable on all three. The operating system on the Blackberry was old and out of date, so that was the only device where the links in the text didn't work properly. On both the ipad and my desktop and laptop, the links worked quickly and were never broken. The illustrations (tables and figures) were clear and faithfully displayed on all of the devices as is typical of the modern generation of adobe pdf files/readers. One real advantage of this reading mode is the access to the page thumbnails or bookmarks and the "last view" button that allow a reader to hop back and forth between the beginning and end of the book, chapter, etc. The one oddity that I did note is that some Example problems and other content would split between pages in the pdf, which most people would avoid during compile-time by inserting new pages. This was minimally distracting, but presumably easy to fix(?)
As noted above, I am a pretty decent copy editor and I detected few typos and no clear grammatical errors (being somewhat generous in attributing the source, I'll allow) in the text. In general the authors adopted a clear, concise style and tried to keep sentences short and simple.
It is difficult to make a dry subject like chemistry culturally inclusive (or even exclusive) but the authors did select both male and female scientists to highlight, which is appreciated. Some of the slightly politically touchy areas like the real-world connections to climate change science will probably cause some readers discomfort, but they are scientifically correct and uncontroversial in their limited conclusions. We aim to teach students the scientific method, so they should begin to grapple with areas where demonstrable facts are in contradictions to their previously held beliefs.
I was very pleasantly surprised in reading this book. It is a very high quality General Chemistry textbook and I think we will take a serious look at adopting it.
Within the confines of the two-semester, general chemistry sequence, the text is comprehensive. Index is a mess. Glossary of key terms at the end read more
Within the confines of the two-semester, general chemistry sequence, the text is comprehensive. Index is a mess. Glossary of key terms at the end of every chapter is good.
The content is accurate and almost error-free.
The basic science doesn't change all that much. Modern texts try to make the subject relevant to the everyday experiences of students. Periodic updates will be needed.
All chemistry texts are written in a rather impersonal style. This text is just fine with regard to voice and word choice.
Excellent. The "editors" have been vigilant and done a good job.
The book is very fine grained in terms of modularity.
Topics are presented in a clear, logical fashion.
Interface is no problem. In the pdf verison, worked example boxes are sometimes split between two pages. Just a little harder to work with than wehn all on one page.
The text is well over 1000 pages. I am not convinced that it is free from grammar errors, but there are so few that they are not a distraction.
Not so good here. The writers are aware of some gender problems, but a broader interpretation of diversity is lacking.
I teach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I have held a full professor’s position since 1989. Prior to that I was, for 13 years, a faculty member at Loughborough University in the UK. Umass Amherst offers a two-semester, general chemistry sequence for non-chemistry STEM majors, and a two-semester general chemistry sequence for chemistry majors. Students in STEM majors, who are also members of the Honors College, also take these courses. I have taught only the first semester of the non-chemistry general chemistry course, which I have done on 10 occasions (summer 95, 96, 2015; fall 2001-4, 2010, 2014 and 2015). Until the fall of 2014, we have used various editions of “Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity” by Petrucci and Harwood, and “General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications,” by Kotz and Treichel. From 2014 onwards, we have been using “General Chemistry OWL” by Vining, Young, Day and Botch. Full disclosure: Bill Vining used to work at Umass Amherst, but is now at SUNY Oneonta; Roberta Day and Beatrice Botch are retired Umass Amherst faculty. Our decision to adopt was taken by the instructors of both the first and second semesters courses. This OpenStax College text is comparable is all respects to the other texts with which I am familiar. The order of the chapters is exactly in line with current thinking (the alternate “atoms first” approach is also described), the depth of coverage is the same (the book is 1393 pages long when viewed as a pdf file), and the ancillary material is, if anything, broader in scope (there are links to simulations and videos, boxes featuring famous chemists—both living and dead, and boxes showing connections to (a) everyday life and (b) other sciences). The book is visually appealing with plenty of photographs, colorful line drawings, worked examples on a blue background, and plenty of white space. The authors use the full width of the page and so there are no wide margins in which material might be placed in parallel with the text; everything is presented serially. The text is inelegant in places, particularly in the writing of chemical equations: fractions (such as ½) are given with full size numerals and there are no spaces between stoichiometric coefficients and the associated formula. Although some 16 individuals have contributed to the text (including three senior authors), there is excellent consistency between the chapters. This has been helped, no doubt, by the input of some 54 reviewers (two of whom are my colleagues at UMass Amherst). There are also very few typos or word processing errors (the substitution of “special” for “spatial” by well-meaning spellcheck software, will I fear, cause some confusion; others, such as the missing final “l” of “final” are less problematical). The authors have decided to distinguish between “weight” and “mass,” and there are almost no instances where a writer has not done so correctly. They have also decided to use the IUPAC numbering of the groups in the periodic table. The writers have, I think, tried to be sensitive to gendered stereotypes and several examples of the activities of scientists refer to “she.” Of the 12 “Portrait of a Chemist” entries, 4 feature women, and for the two living ones, there are pictures. Of the male chemists featured, only two do not have pictures. Why not take this one step further and include some racial diversity in the picture? The text needs a close read (and some editing) from a diversity viewpoint. It is clear, for example, that the writers of the very first sentences in the book think that all chemistry students own fancy electronic alarm clocks, cells phones, and a car (in which they drive to campus to attend their chemistry classes). The first chapter, the hardest in many ways to compose, is perhaps not as good as those is some other texts. The authors do not indicate whether prior knowledge of chemistry is assumed and start as though the reader knows little or nothing, but the chapter soon strays into territory where prior knowledge is definitely needed. One of the problems at the end of the chapter requires a knowledge of “amu.” Each chapter starts with a statement of the learning goals and concludes with a list of key terms, key equations, a summary of each section, and a large number of exercises and problems (nearly 100, for example, at the end of Chapter 1). In the pdf version, there are answers to the odd-numbered problems; in the web version there is a link to “show solution” for some of the problems, but for those that I followed, only the answers were given. The OpenStax website indicates that an instructor’s solution manual is available (as well as PowerPoint material). I have not looked at either of these. The web version of the text features an “ask us” tab that tracks the reader. When I clicked on this, I was presented with a dialogue box asking for my question, some details, and my name and email address. On providing these, I received an email message to the effect that I would get a response within one business day (as I submitted my request on a Saturday morning and am writing this on Sunday morning, I am still waiting). I am not competent to provide detailed commentary on the treatment of the “second-semester” topics (chapters 10 – 21), and so I have confined my examination of text to the treatment of the first-semester material, which is covered in Chapters 1 through 9. The balance between the coverage of the two semesters is appropriate: the first-semester material occupies 532 pages, leaving 715 pages for the second-semester material. There are 13 appendices (61 pages), answers to the odd-numbered problems (77 pages) and index (8 pages). The index must have been machine generated and is badly in need of attention: initial capitalization produces a separate entry (for example Alkane and alkane), as does the addition of “s” to make the plural (as in alkene and alkenes), as does the insertion of a hyphen (such as base-ionization constant and base ionization constant). But what’s the point? A pdf text can be searched electronically with the “find” feature, ditto the web version of the book. The results of my, admittedly small, sampling of the “interactives that engage” simulations and videos, of which there are 50 for the first 9 chapters (out of 97 in total), were mixed. A simulation of experiments related to density was excellent, but a video about “plasma” was not. This latter was embedded in a website where in inadvertent click of the mouse presented me with many images of scantily clad, grossly overweight, former celebrities from which I could escape only with some difficulty. I applaud the inclusion of plasma as the fourth state of matter and was delighted to see that it was mentioned as a component of “specialized analytical instruments used to detect trace amounts of metals.” However, as is always the case with general chemistry texts, the widespread application of atomic emission (and absorption) spectroscopy in chemical analysis was not mentioned at all in the later relevant chapter. Now that I have shown my analytical chemistry hand, I can report that this text is not really any better than others in the treatment of analytical topics. The topics of precision and accuracy are dealt with competently when first introduced (though an archery target with what looks like bullet holes may baffle some students), but the terms are not deftly handled at some later points of the text. There is also lax use of the terms “analysis” and “determination.” However, more important topics at the early stages of student’s introduction to chemistry, such as the mole concept, are handled entirely satisfactorily. I have no negative critical comments to make about such topics; the book does an excellent job once we are passed the rather clunky first chapter. There are 42 “Chemistry in Everyday Life” features that supposedly tie chemistry concepts to everyday issues and real-world application
The book provides a fairly complete overview of what your would expect to see in a general chemistry textbook. This text provides additional read more
The book provides a fairly complete overview of what your would expect to see in a general chemistry textbook. This text provides additional information not directly related to the chemistry content (e.g. portrait of a chemist) that may be interesting or important to some users, both through text boxes in the book and numerous links to material on the web, taking good advantage of the ebook format. The book contains a thorough, linked index and a glossary at the end of each chapter. There are a significant number of questions at the end of each chapter and some effort has been made to include conceptual questions and questions integrating multiple topics.
Overall, the book seems to have been carefully prepared and reviewed. I didn't see any major issues with accuracy.
The book does a good job of choosing interesting applications of general chemistry (e.g. respiration and low pressure weather systems when talking about the behavior of gases) that won't become less relevant with time. My only concern would be that the numerous links to external resources may become dead if the content is deleted or moved but this would seem to be a straightforward update.
The text is clearly written and easy to understand. There are an adequate number of examples for which the important steps are clearly explained. I was particularly impressed with the large number of generally useful figures included in the text which is often a significant shortcoming of open resources.
There didn't seem to be any significant issues. Terminology is maintained throughout and the approach to solving problems relies on a regular, consistent approach.
There aren't enormous blocks of uninterrupted text but I wish that the book were divided into more sections that can be navigated using the table of contents. The thermochemistry chapter, for example, is presented in only three sections. The fact that the authors do a good job of breaking these sections with subheadings partially mitigates this problem. It's not possible (or desirable), to avoid referring back to previous material in later chapters, but it doesn't appear that it would be a large problem to cover material out of order to suit the needs of a particular class.
The textbook adopts a "chemistry first" approach, though the authors provide an alternative framework in the introduction for an "atoms first" or "molecules first" approach, with a minor caveat about modularity. Within the framework that the authors have chosen, the book is sensibly structured and organized. The chapter and section organization seem to have been carefully considered.
For the most part, graphics and figures look fine, even in the lower quality version of the PDF. There are some minor issues with the formatting, such as the heading for a textbox falling on one page, and then the vast majority of the text ending up on the next page. I think some of the end of chapter questions could have profited from a little more blank space in between problems to make it easier to locate specific questions. The fact that the index and the table of contents are both linked make navigation convenient and easy.
I didn't see any significant problems with the spelling or grammar.
In the "Portrait of a Chemist" sections the authors have made an effort to include a fairly diverse group of chemists.
I was impressed with the book overall. The authors have clearly put forth a substantial effort to construct a resource that can be an adequate substitute for an expensive hard copy textbook. As mentioned above, I was particularly impressed with the large number and good quality of the figures which are often not available in open texts. Between the ancillary materials that the authors have provided and the numerous links to other resources on the web, I think the authors have been mindful of some of the biggest obstacles to adopting open resources and have made a good effort to address them.
The textbook covers all areas one would expect in a general chemistry textbook. I really liked how in many of the sections there were great particle read more
The textbook covers all areas one would expect in a general chemistry textbook. I really liked how in many of the sections there were great particle level examples as well as links to Phet animations and tutorials to help solidify concepts. I also liked how many of the concepts were simply stated. The style of writing was very clear. The amount of detail in many cases would be perfect for my community college general chemistry course. I know writers of many textbooks feel as if they need to include more difficult concepts or added detail to add to the rigor of the text. As I am not looking for pages and pages of thermodynamic equations and derivations for a 1st year general chemistry course, I did not miss them. I am not sure if this text would be appropriate for an honors level general chemistry course. It did, however, provide a nice in-depth discussion of molecular orbital theory with a blurb on LEDs as well. For the majority of the text, the succinctness without excess verbiage was a plus. The risk is, of course, that an instructor may find certain sections under explained. For example, I thought some of the detail and examples were a little sparse in the Collision Theory discussion in the kinetics section which would benefit from more particle level images and animations as found in the other chapters. It would be something easily supplemented by the teacher.
As it is a general chemistry textbook without much interpretation of feelings and events as found in liberal arts classes, the text came across as unbiased. While reading through the text, I did not find any errors. I feel for most texts these tend to pop up in the worked problems and solutions which I did not fully explore.
I really like how each chapter made a significant effort to contextualize the chemistry content and relate it back to student's everyday lives. As it is included in the introduction section of each chapter I imagine it would be very easy to update over time. If I had any complaint here it would be that I would like to see even more contextualization throughout.
As I mentioned previously in the comprehensiveness section of the review, I thought the book was very clearly and simply written. Perfect in my mind for the 1st year undergraduate science student or honors chemistry high school student.
The writing tone is consistent throughout. The lead editor did a good job putting their voice to the content. The only inconsistent aspect in my mind is that some sections were great relating the particle level view to chemistry concepts while others seemed a little underdeveloped.
At PCC we don't just run through the topics of a text in order as we use a guided inquiry workbook created by Moog to lead our discussions. We then assign various sections of the text to provide reinforcement of a topic. After reading through this text I felt it would be very easy to assign individual sections. They all appeared to be very 'stand-alone' in nature.
The topics were presented in an "atoms first" type framework which is fairly common among general chemistry textbooks.
I found the text very easy to use on my PC. It was a minor annoyance that the loading of a number of images had a bit of lag time which was a little distracting. I wonder if the size of the images could be reduced without loss of educational value? I also tried to read the on-line version from my iPhone. It also had the same issue of slow loading time for the images. I tried the molecular shape Phet simulation on my iPhone as well and it loaded but did not work properly versus on the PC where it worked fine. For some reason I could not get the Polarity interactive tutorial to work on my PC but will reboot and try again.
Well edited and written.
Chemistry is a notoriously difficult topic to try and tie into other cultures as much of the recent advancements took place in Europe or the US. I don't feel it is impossible however. I think it would great to include more historical references to different cultures such as gunpowder in china for the stoichiometry chapter as well as the historical advances made in the middle east. There is also room to discuss the advancement of women in chemistry. Marie Curie was briefly mentioned for her notable two Nobel prizes in the section on nuclear decay but again I think an emphasis on diversity could be taken up a couple notches. Do note that this book is average in respects for the general textbook industry meaning most texts approach cultural awareness in a similar fashion, thus the average rating. It is not deficient in any way compared to standard textbooks. I would like them all to improve as a whole.
I would like to convince my department to adopt it. We don't "teach from the text" but rather use the textbook as a resource to supplement our guided inquiry activities in class. This would work fine. I also like how it offers a number of resources for the instructor in terms of powerpoints, testbanks, as well as different options for affordable on-line homework systems. It is an improvement over ChemWiki in my opinion due to the contextualization (which could be expanded) and the particle level images and embedded animations and tutorials.
The text is very comprehensive and includes all of the content areas expected in a comprehensive general chemistry textbook for use in a two-semester read more
The text is very comprehensive and includes all of the content areas expected in a comprehensive general chemistry textbook for use in a two-semester general chemistry course. The text also includes an extensive set of appendices including a section on essential mathematics and the usual tabulated data (physical constants, thermodynamic data, standard potentials, etc). Extensive open-source art has been incorporated into the text along with all additional features that extend the text beyond just content and allow customization of the text for use in a variety of general chemistry courses.
Content is accurate and can easily compete with any other general chemistry textbook offered by the major publishing companies.
The general chemistry content is up-to-date and reflects some of the best practices in presenting core chemistry concepts to students including extensive use of graphic visualizations both in the content body as well as practice problems and worked examples. Applications used within the text are current and most will hold over time, however, some examples and side notes may become irrelevant with time such as the use of statistical figures. Updates to these applications, facts, and figures would be easy and straightforward and they do not impact to the core content of the text.
The text is written with a nice balance between introducing technical terminology and ideas while supporting learners who are just starting out in college-level chemistry. The book is certainly written to a college-level and some descriptions and explanations may be difficult to follow for learners with language difficulties or weaker science backgrounds. Nonetheless, the book is well-written and edited such that most statements and explanations are kept concise and to the point which should make the information more accessible to wider range of learners.
The text is very consistent with a clear framework for providing explanations, supporting examples, and practice problems.
The book has a similar modularity to most general chemistry textbooks which is limited without further customization. For students using the text as a reference source, the different content areas easily standalone assuming an appropriate prior knowledge background. As pointed out in the preface, the chapter content could be rearranged. However, as with most general chemistry textbooks - the topics in later chapters build upon some topics in earlier chapter. This is mostly a function of the nature of general chemistry itself coupled with the comprehensive structure of this textbook.
The book is organized in the typical structure of nearly all general chemistry textbooks. The advantage in the open-source structure is the ability to customize and adapt the sections and chapters for use in a variety of course designs. The book has been written in a traditional topic order but includes a description of a potential atoms-first sequence for faculty desiring that sequence. However, the preface warns that the reordered sequence may require careful consideration of textual consistency. Nonetheless, the adaptive and customized nature of the book allows adopters to make any necessary changes as they see fit for any desired alternate sequencing in the content.
The online interface is clean and professional looking. Navigation requires a small learning curve, but quick links allow you to readily jump from topic to topic. The system seemed to be fast, but occasional server lag was noticed upon linking from topic to topic as each page was loaded. In addition, due to the open-source nature, 'please donate' screens appear periodically and break the usability and flow of the textbook. These donation screens can be off-putting from a faculty side and certainly could be damaging to learners when trying to quickly find and use the information in the book.
The text is well-written and appears to have been heavily edited to omit and avoid grammatical issues.
The text makes good use of references to a wide variety of interesting applications and issues across a range of cultural aspects. The use of freely available open source images and links to web-based supplements hint at global sources of information. While the book is not culturally-offensive, the examples and applications are certainly US-centric. This US-centric view may limit the books attractiveness to the international audience.
Openstax Chemistry is an exceptional starting point for a free, open-source textbook. The content, examples, and supporting materials are on-par with most publisher textbooks. However, the customizable and adaptable nature of the Creative Commons licensing makes the book an ideal option for breaking away from the grip of publishing companies. This general chemistry textbook is a viable and excellent alternative for any faculty member who has struggled with textbook adoption and has spent far too many hours haggling with publishers and sales reps over student pricing, bundling of 'extras', and the inevitable 'how many students in your class' mentality. Whether you teach a class with 30 students or 300 students - this textbook provides a reliable and 100% customizable general chemistry for free. No haggling, no dealing with sales reps, and no 'new editions' every 2-3 years just for the sake of new editions.
Table of Contents
- Essential Ideas
- Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
- Stoichiometry of Substances and Mixtures
- Stoichiometry of Chemical Reactions
- Electronic Structure and Periodic Properties of Elements
- Chemical Bonding and Molecular Geometry
- Advanced Theories of Covalent Bonding
- Liquids and Solids
- Solutions and Colloids
- Fundamental Equilibrium Concepts
- Acid-Base Equilibria
- Equilibria of Other Reaction Classes
- Representative Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals
- Transition Metals and Coordination Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Nuclear Chemistry
- The Periodic Table of Elements
- Essential Mathematics
- Unit and Conversion Factors
- Fundamental Physical Constants
- Water Properties
- Composition of Commercial Acids and Bases
- Standard Enthalpies of Formation, Standard Free Energies of Formation, and Absolute Standard Entropies
- Ionization Constants of Weak Acids
- Ionization Constants of Weak Bases
- Solubility Products
- Formation Constants for Complex Ions
- Standard Electrode (Half-Cell) Potentials
- Half-Lives for Several Radioactive Isotopes
About the Book
Chemistry is designed for the two-semester general chemistry course. For many students, this course provides the foundation to a career in chemistry, while for others, this may be their only college-level science course. As such, this textbook provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of chemistry and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them. The text has been developed to meet the scope and sequence of most general chemistry courses. At the same time, the book includes a number of innovative features designed to enhance student learning. A strength of Chemistry is that instructors can customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom.
OpenStax College has compiled many resources for faculty and students, from faculty-only content to interactive homework and study guides.
About the Contributors
Paul Flowers, PhD, University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Klaus Theopold, PhD, University of Delaware
Richard Langley, PhD, Stephen F. Austin State University
Mark Blaser, Shasta College
Don Carpenetti, Craven Community College
Simon Bott, University of Houston
Andrew Eklund, Alfred University
Don Frantz, Wilfrid Laurier University
Paul Hooker, Westminster College
George Kaminski, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Jennifer Look, Mercer University
Carol Martinez, Central New Mexico Community College
Troy Milliken, Jackson State University
Jason Powell, Ferrum College
Vicki Moravec, Trine University
Tom Sorensen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee