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, 8:10- 9:50 MW
- For lab- 117,
119 & 121 Seaver Hall, select one of the seven sections
- For “virtual”
meetings- The course has a web page that can be found at http://myweb.lmu.edu/jphillips/254_S04.
by Vince Coletta (Mosby, 1995) We will cover most of the second half of
the book (chapters 17- 29).
- Who am I?: Jeff
Phillips (a.k.a. Dr. Jeff)
- Where I “live”:
106 Seaver Hall
- When I tend to
be “home”: M 1– 2, W 1- 3, R 3- 4, F 12- 1 (I’m
often around my office and more than willing to meet with students at
- Other ways to
contact me: phone-338-7811 and email- firstname.lastname@example.org
include (but not limited to):
- Coming to class
prepared which includes reading the text, trying various example problems,
and studying any additional handouts.
- Attempting all
homework problems, 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
- 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.
Grading (drum roll 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, here is the distribution
of points used to determine your course grade. Notice that the participation
and homework portions of your grade are significant. This is meant to
serve as external motivation for you as you practice physics.
The weight for various
aspects of the course are as follows:
you can see our semester is divided into three 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. (Okay, that’s not
quite true. You’ll actually see on the schedule that there is fourth
unit that does not have a test. The homework associated with this unit
will be averaged with the ones from the third unit.) The following sections
describe the tests, and homework 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
the semester we will work on many types of assignments. Often homework
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
times it 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 homework grade. There
may be an occasional essay to write which will also factor into your homework
All of the assignments can be thought
of as falling into one of three categories
explorations- These probably don’t require any mathematics,
instead they focus on describing phenomena with words and pictures.
You may perform a simple experiment (or observe a demonstration) and
be asked to formulate and test hypotheses.
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. Before you can move on to playing Mozart you need to know
your scales. Similarly, you won’t be solving physics problems
without first mastering the fundamentals through exercises.
These may be mathematical or conceptual in nature. The essential idea
is that you take the physics that you have learned so far and apply
it to new situations. These are more like the scrimmages or recitals
the course focuses more on your physics understanding rather than whether
you’ve gotten the right answer (this is true on tests as well),
the grading of most homework assignments will emphasize the process and
correct physics. What is most important is that we improve our problem
solving and critical thinking skills. Thus, in writing up exercises and
application 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.
With most of the homework, you’re encouraged to work collaboratively-
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
One last note on homework-
Dr. Jeff reserves the right to administer quizzes if necessary. Quizzes
would be administered at the beginning or end of the class period and
would be used to provide further external motivation. These short quizzes
would then count as a homework assignment
are in-class tests following the completion of each unit (see the class
schedule on the last page for dates). In addition, there will be a comprehensive
final exam given on Wednesday, May 3rd at 8am, which will be worth 25%
of your grade.
Tests 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 not mathematics.
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. In fact, one can go even
further to say that it is important to also remember what was learned
in physics 253. There are many concepts that return in 254. (Forces and
energies are two main ones.)
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 256 Lab Manual
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.Assorted administrative
Cheating, plagiarism, 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
Homework 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 an assignment 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.