Here it is, the syllabus in all of its glory. It may be a bit long,
but that is because it is full of valuable information. ;-)
- For "lecture"-101
Seaver Hall, 8:00- 8:50 MWF
- For lab- 117
or 119 Seaver Hall, select one of the eight sections
- Physics for
Scientists and Engineers by Ray Serway and John Jewett (Brooks/
Cole- Thomson, 2004) We will cover most of volume one this semester
and volume two is the focus of physics 201.
Reserve at the Library
- Used Math
by Clifford Swartz (AAPT, 1993) This is a review (or crash course) of
everything from graphing to complex numbers. It can be rather handy
math reference book.
- If you purchased
a new textbook, you should have received an access code for Physics
Now, which is Brooks/ Cole- Thomson’s companion web site for our
book. (www.ilrn.com or www.pse6.com) If you bought a used book, you
can still access the site for a $30 fee. The site is completely optional,
however it may be worth looking at if you want some additional help.
The site has several useful features. You’ll notice that at the
end of each chapter in our book several question are marked as having
solutions and hints on the web. One nice way to use this feature is
to use the “work in steps” option. This basically acts as
a coach to help you through each step in a complicated question. The
active figures and chapter quizzes can give you additional practice,
but they lack significant feedback.
- Who am I?: Jeff
Phillips (a.k.a. Dr. Jeff)
- Where I "live":
106 Seaver Hall
- When I tend to
be "home": M 1:00- 3:00, T 1:30- 3:00, W 12:00- 1:00, F 9:00- 10:00
I’m normally around my office and more than willing to meet with
you at other times. You may want to set up an appointment with me if
you want to avoid a trip to an empty office. One note about office hours,
you’re more than welcomed to stop by even if you just want to
work on homework and have me serve as a “consultant.” You
don’t have to have specific questions to justify a visit, sometimes
the most valuable discussions are ones that aren’t planned.
- Other ways to
contact me: phone-338-7811 and email- email@example.com
Student responsibilities include (but not limited to):
- Coming to class
prepared which includes actively reading the text, trying various example
problems, and studying any additional handouts.
- Attempting all
homework, this can be done either individually or in study groups with
your classmates (simply be careful not to rely on your classmates so
much that you cannot solve problems by yourself on tests).
- Asking questions
when material is unclear, this can be done during office hours, in class
or via email.
- Regularly check
email for schedule or policy changes.
Dr. Jeff’s responsibilities include (be are certainly not limited to):
- Being receptive
to student feedback and suggestions concerning both course content and
- Providing opportunities
for students to assess their own progress.
- Employing several
modalities (verbal, visual, tactile, etc) when introducing topics so
as to accommodate different learning styles.
- Maintaining a
respectful and student-centered environment.
Behind the Course Design
will be taught in a “student-centered” style using various
strategies designed to promote active engagement with the material. Most
of our class time will be spent asking and answering questions, doing
demonstrations, and participating in group activities. This design is
not based on a whim, rather it stems from years of educational research
by some rather smart people.
|Tell me, I'll
Show me, I'll believe.
Involve me, I'll learn.
Native American Proverb
|I hear and I
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
(drum roll please)
Please read this
section carefully. (Okay, I hope you read all of the sections carefully,
but I know this one is of particular interest to you.) As I mentioned
in the opening section, people tend to learn a skill best by practicing
it. This is probably common sense to you. After all, one hardly
becomes a great quarterback by simply watching Monday Night Football every
week. If you want to be a better athlete (or musician or painter
or poet or…) you would practice the fundamentals of that activity as well
as prepare for "game situations" (or concerts or whatever). You
can think of our homework as the practices, the tests as games or concerts,
and me as a coach.
With that said,
I also understand that not everybody learns the same way. Some people
can study an activity from a distance and become quite proficient.
Some people may feel as though they learn physics best on their own and
not attending class discussions. For those students I want to allow
you to study as you feel is best. This means that I’m offering two
grading options- one is test-intensive and the other is practice-intensive.
Each student is free to choose either option; you know yourself better
than anybody. However, I would strongly suggest the practice-intensive
You choose an option
by signing the contract handed out on the first day of class. You
may change your contract for a given unit by submitting a new contract
no later than the unit’s second class session. Your grading option
automatically reverts to test-intensive if your homework score at the
end of the unit is below a D.
The weight for
various aspects of the course are as follows:
As you can see our semester is divided into five units. You can
refer to the schedule at the end of this document for more information
on which sections of the text correspond to which unit. The following
sections describe the tests, problems, and exercises in detail.
All grades in this
class will be based on a fixed scale, which means that you shouldn’t feel
any need to "compete" with your classmates. The grading scale we
will be using is as follows:
|87- 89= B+
83- 86= B
|77- 79= C+
73- 76= C
60- 69= D
0- 59= F
Within The Units
Each Unit will feature
three separate phases. In phase builds on the others. First we begin
with a qualitative investigation and discussion. This will help us to
understand what we trying to study. Then we develop a model (or theory
if you like) of what we have seen. The final phase is really the fun
part- this is where we apply our hard work to interesting and challenging
situations. For what it’s worth this structure is based on what
educational researchers call the Learning Cycle. Many others have shown
that this format is one of the most effective at helping students learn
new material, particularly the science.
Investigation- In the first phase we will make careful observations
of the world through demonstration, experiments and videos. Before
we start to create theories or jargon, we want to simply describe
what happens in our own words.
Model Formation & Testing- This will be the bulk of each
unit. Here we will create a model (or theory) of what we observed.
These models will be described very carefully using specific terms
and/ or mathematics. Once we think we understand what is going on,
we will try the model on similar systems. Think of this as your
time to tinker, and allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t expect
that you’ll get it right all of the time- nobody does!
Application- After we feel comfortable with our model, we
can then apply it to new situations. Here we can take what we discovered
with simple experiments and apply it to “real-world” situations.
This is where the power of physics can be seen.
may be wondering- where the textbook fits into all of this “exploring”
and “model testing?” Most science texts are very dense and
take some thought to read. The good news is that they have an incredible
amount of knowledge within them; almost too much. You need to remember
that it has taken some of the world’s smartest and most persistent
people hundreds of years to figure out what is written in our text.
In order to compress all of this knowledge into a somewhat reasonable
size, most of the “superficial” information has been stripped
out. Unfortunately, this includes the questions which these clever individuals
were trying to answer. What good are the answers without the questions?
It’s not impossible to make sense of the information, I’m
just saying it will take some work.
Within our unit structure,
it would be a good idea to read the text while we are building and testing
our models. After all, this is what it does best. The practical message
is this: you should read the text actively, and complete all of the
reading for a unit within the first couple days. That way you’re
either ready to ask questions about the reading or apply the ideas to
exercises and problems.
Some "problems" you will
encounter will be more straightforward than others. This is not
to say that they will always be "easy". Think of this type of homework
as the drills you might run over and over in practice or the scales you
play until you can play them without thinking. All of these simplified
practices can be referred to as exercises (which will help to differentiate
them from problems). Before you can move on to playing Mozart you
need to know your scales. Similarly, you won’t be solving physics
(or engineering) problems without first mastering the fundamentals through
exercises. Exercises are usually (but not always) characterized
by certain features:
- They may involve
only a single application of one major principle, so that deciding on
an approach to the problem is simple.
- The question
is clearly stated as the need to find some specific physics quantity,
e.g. velocity, energy, force, so that the relevant physics description
is often suggested by the problem itself.
- Just enough information
has been provided for you to determine a numerical value of the desired
quantity, so that describing the situation and problem approach are
- They often resemble
other exercises which you may have recently encountered (from either
class or the text). Because the objects described in the exercise
and their relationship are similar to other examples given, visualization
of the problem is simpler.
- Exercises are encountered in the testing / model formation
and application phases of a unit. These exercises are meant to help
us refine our thinking and get a better grasp of the ideas were are
Often exercises will
be given to you in the form of a worksheet that is related to either what
we did in class or what you are to read for the next class. Other
exercises may be in the form of end of the chapter problems from the text.
Also, in-class we will often perform mini-experiments or work on problems
in groups which will be considered part of your exercise grade.
Exercises will normally be graded them according to the following system:
thorough explanations and solutions
8 - good effort, complete, mostly correct
6 - incomplete (looks like something thrown together ten minutes before
0 - ouch!; either you failed to turn in your worksheet on time, or you
made no effort
As you can see the grading
here emphasizes making a good faith effort. Exercises are designed
to help you focus your studying on the essentials and begin to apply the
concepts to straightforward "problems". You shouldn’t feel as though
you need to work on the exercises in a vacuum- work with other students
and ask Dr. Jeff questions.
If exercises are the
practice drills of this course, then problems are the scrimmages or recitals.
Just like in a scrimmage, successfully solving a problem will require
you to use the fundamentals you have previously mastered. In contrast
to exercises, problems have the following characteristics:
- They may require
the application of multiple concepts and/ or multiple applications of
the same concept.
- The question
may not be stated as the need to find any particular quantity; the problem
may ask for a judgement, in which case you must decide what quantities
you need to find in order to make a good judgement.
- The problem statement
may include information which is not useful at all. On the other
hand, some important information may not be expressly provided; you
will have to provide that information from your own general knowledge.
- The situation
described may appear new to you; it may appear that you have never seen
a similar problem.
- Problems will almost exclusively
be part of the application phase of a unit. By they’re very nature,
problems are activities where we apply what we have learned to new situations.
As you can tell from
this list, problems tend to be much more like what you can expect to encounter
in "the real world". In fact, it is safe to say that no matter what
you profession (from engineer to journalist) you will face many more problems
Since the course focuses
more on how you do a problem rather than whether you’ve gotten the right
answer (this is true on tests as well), the grading of problems will emphasize
process as well as correct physics. What is most important
is that we improve our problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Thus, in writing up problem solutions, you should write out complete solutions.
We will discuss the level of necessary detail later in class, but the
basic criteria will be- can somebody else read your solution and understand
each step. This means no ESP should be necessary when trying to
understand a solution.
Problems will largely
be graded on your use of the problem solving algorithm. As is mentioned
in the problem solving handout, the model (the pictures, words and equations)
are your answer to a problem, not just the final numerical result.
Just as with the exercises
you’re encouraged to work collaboratively on the problems - studying together
is a good way to learn physics. But don’t just copy work from a
friend! You will help yourself in the short run (good score on the
homework assignment, maybe) but punish yourself in the long run (you’re
not learning anything, and it’ll show on tests).
There are in-class tests
following the completion of each unit (see the class schedule for dates).
In addition, there will be a comprehensive final exam, which will be worth
25% of your grade.
will consist of conceptual questions of the multiple choice, short answer,
and fill-in-the-blank variety as well as numerical exercises. For each
test, you will be allowed to bring in one 3”x5” note card.
You can write down anything you want on this card- equations, notes, examples,
prayer to St. Albert (patron saint of scientists), whatever. Keep in mind
that physics is a description of physical phenomena. Sometimes we use
the language of mathematics to articulate these ideas, but the math itself
is not physics. Exams will be written to test your understanding of physics
You should understand
that while each test is associated with a particular unit that does not
mean that the physics that we learned before that unit can be forgotten.
Each unit relies on the previous ones. A test will certainly emphasize
the material of that particular unit, but concepts and problem solving
techniques from the previous unit may also appear on the test.
One consequence of this
cumulative nature of the course is that when you receive your test back
with corrections, it would be beneficial to review it and learn from any
mistakes. To help encourage this I’m going to offer each of you
the opportunity to make corrections to their tests and earn back some
of the points you may have missed. Also, all of us sometimes make
mistakes, especially when we under pressure as in a test, and it can be
very frustrating not being able to fix your mistakes. We will discuss
the test correction scheme more before the first test.
Note that there are
no make-up tests unless you can provide documentation of some dire
circumstance that prevented you from being present at the test.
Details about labs can
be found in the guideline section of the Physics 103 Lab Manual.
As with all courses at
LMU, each student is expected to contribute to the course. This
doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to present a 30 minute lecture
on quantum electrodynamics; rather, simply asking questions or sharing
your ideas is all it takes. As was mentioned several times before,
people learn best when they do something or they try to explain it to
others. So, by participating in discussions you will not only help
yourself, but also your classmates- definitely a win-win situation.
We’ll try and be as flexible
as possible, not going too fast, but this course will require each of
us to work outside of class, to come to class prepared, and to participate.
It is important that everybody asks questions when they’re unsure about
something. Ask in class, after class, in office hours, over email
,etc. With sufficient feedback (both students giving to the instructor
as well as the instructor giving to the students) we should be able to
keep the course at a reasonable, yet challenging level.
In addition to in-class
discussions we will have out-of-class discussions in which you are asked
to participate. There is an electronic whiteboard set up at LMU’s
BlackBoard web site. There you will find a board just for our class.
BlackBoard is basically a system to handle forms on web pages (with some
extras thrown in). The board will be divided into section or pages
and on those you can post comments or questions. Anything is fair
game- suggestions on how the course is run, unaddressed questions from
readings or class discussions, conversations about a concert in which
you're performing, and on and on.
submission of the work of others, etc. violates LMU policy on academic
honesty & integrity and may result in penalties ranging from a lowered
grade to course failure or expulsion. Often students will be allowed
to work together in groups on homework assignments, but this does not
mean you are able to turn in somebody else’s work. Any group work
(in or out of class) is meant to be a collaborative effort that improves
the students’ understanding of physics as well as team working skills.
When in doubt as to whether or not group work is permitted, or what exactly
constitutes collaborative teamwork versus plagiarism, ask Dr. Jeff.
A further discussion of the campus policies and student obligations are
given in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Homework (exercises and
problems) will be accepted up to 24 hours after the due date (unless otherwise
stated assignments are due at the beginning of class). However,
there is a late penalty of a 50% reduction in the score. So, if
you turn in a worksheet the next morning and receive 8 points out of a
possible 10, then your actual grade becomes 4 points out of 10.
Assignments will NOT be accepted after the 24-hour grace period.
If you know of any campus activities (travel with sorts teams, for example)
that will interfere with class, you should inform Dr. Jeff ahead of time
so fair adjustments can be made.