The Principle of Conservation of Structural Aspect: Facilitating Visual Communication and Learning in Organic Chemistry Instruction

20 May 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


An effective pedagogical method is presented for the visual communication of chemical reactions learned in organic chemistry undergraduate courses. The basis for the method is the preservation of the visual aspect of reactant and product structures so that the tracking of cleaved and formed chemical bonds is made self-evident. This consequently leads to improved clarity of presentation and a better understanding and grasp of proposed reaction mechanisms to explain product outcomes. The method is demonstrated for a variety of individual reaction types and synthesis plans. Various visual training exercises are also presented using ChemDraw Ultra 7.0 software and literature table of contents (TOC) graphics appearing in journal articles.


upper-division undergraduate
organic chemistry pedagogy
problem solving
organic synthesis

Supplementary materials



Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.