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Course Description Designed for non-science students in all colleges as well as for students planning to major in the sciences who want a general introduction to the basic phenomena and concepts of physics. The treatment is primarily descriptive, with practical demonstrations and applications and with a minimum of elementary mathematics. No previous preparation is assumed. Topics covered may include the structure of matter, energy, sound, light, atomic and nuclear physics, mechanics, electricity and relativity. However, not all topics will be covered and content will be adjusted to fit the needs of the class. Goals The primary goal of the course is to help students develop a better understanding of a variety of physics concepts that they experience or hear about in their every day lives. We will strive for true understanding of the concept versus tiresome memorization of facts and trivia. This may lead to a heightened enjoyment of everyday physics wonders (such as rainbows, sunsets, waves, phases of the moon), improved ability to understand technological issues (such as energy shortages and sources, nuclear power and radiation, cell phone communication), and a deeper understanding of future scientific material including biology, chemistry, geology, medicine, and possibly a subsequent more advanced physics course! Required Materials Textbook: Conceptual Physics, 10th edition, Paul Hewitt, used or new. iClickers, available at bookstore http://panda.unm.edu/Courses/StudentHelp/iclick_howto.html Registration is required in order to get participation grade. We will discuss this during lecture and instructions may be posted on WebCT. WebCT Vista: Automatically enrolled http://vista.unm.edu This is the main website for the course, and will be used for electronic quizzes and homework, announcements and other electronic course materials. The most up to date schedule and syllabus will be posted on WebCT. Assignments and due dates will be posted. You are expected to check WebCT regularly as will be discussed in lecture. Computers are available at multiple locations on campus, see http://its.unm.edu/pods/ for updated locations. Pencils are necessary for the in-class exams.
Technical Support Cathy Webster is available to help with iClickers and WebCT. Her contact information, office hours and answers to some FAQs can be found here: http://panda.unm.edu/Courses/StudentHelp/index.html Teaching Assistant Mr. Zhang Jiang, Physics Graduate Student. email@example.com. Learning Disabilities If you have a learning disability, you can contact Accessibility Services, http://as2.unm.edu/. Quizzes and Homework Assignments There will be regular homework assignments posted on WebCT. These will consist of required readings, problems and exercises. There will be no grading of homework (neither for correctness nor participation), but on-time submissions may receive feedback and will be eligible for display to other students as excellent answers. The weekly reading will take around an hour for an average student (though it may inspire you to do extra web reading), and the homework exercises could take as little as 15 minutes. Most weeks will require a written response to a homework question, with excellent answers often a paragraph or less. In addition, there will also be electronic quizzes on WebCT. These quizzes will be of a similar format to the exams and therefore will be an excellent way to assess learning progress along the way. Completion of the quizzes is required and they will have a strict due date, but they will not count towards the course grade. However, performance on the quizzes correlates with performance on the upcoming exam and serves as a crucial indicator of concepts a student still needs to study. Quizzes require about 15 minutes or less for an average student. Because homework and quizzes do not count towards your grade, there is a significant risk that a few students will not take them seriously. If it becomes evident that a student has fallen behind and is not completing these assignments, I will drop the student from the course. Exams The exams will be written so that a student who has attended all of the lectures and completed all of the assignments should not be surprised by any question. Questions will be multiple choice and will challenge the student’s understanding of the concept (rather than memorization of a fact). Questions will span a range of difficulties. Each exam will be equally weighted and will only cover material since the previous exam. The final exam will not be comprehensive. Some concepts will require understanding of other concepts covered earlier in the course, and thus some exam questions may cover topics from prior exams.
Exam Dates (subject to change) Feb. 12, Thursday, normal class time March 12, Thursday, normal class time April 23, Thursday, normal class time May 14, Thursday, 10 am (not normal time)
Exam #1 Exam #2 Exam #3 Exam #4 (Final exam time slot)
Grading The grading policy of the course is designed to best reflect success in the goal of learning basic physics concepts. Therefore, the bulk of the grade for the course will be derived from the four exams. In addition, to promote interaction in the classroom a small amount of the grade will be derived from participation in “clicker questions” in class. The final course grade will be as follows: 90% 10% Exams iClicker questions, participation only: credit from correct or incorrect answers
Grades will be on an absolute scale, according to the following percentages (averages rounded to nearest integer): A+ 97 – B+ 87 – C+ 77 – D+ 67 – F Below 100 89 79 69 60 A B C D 93 83 73 63 – – – – 96 86 76 66 ABCD90 80 70 60 – – – – 92 82 72 62