Welcome to PHYS 1500: Preparation for College Physics Course Information

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Welcome to PHYS 1500: Preparation for College Physics Course Information
Welcome to PHYS 1500: Preparation for College Physics
Course Information
PHYS 1500
M,W,F 12:55pm – 1:45pm, JTB 130
Please read this Course Information carefully!
You are responsible for knowing its contents and for requesting clarification. By staying in the course
you are agreeing to all course policies.
I. General Course Information
Christoph Boehme, JFB 301, 801-581-6806, [email protected],
Office hours: Wednesday, Thursday: 2pm – 4pm or by appointment. To arrange an appointment send
the instructor an email suggesting a meeting time. The instructor will let you know if he is available at
the suggested time(s) and, if not, suggest alternative times. Emails will receive a response within 1-2
business days.
Teaching Assistant:
Chad Miller, JFB336-2, 801-581-4443, [email protected]
Office hours (Help Lab): Monday, Tuesday: 2pm – 4pm in the Physics Rotunda (round part of JFB).
 Help Lab: The TA office hours are part of a course Help Lab. During Help Lab hours, you may
obtain assistance with homework assignments, engage in discussions about results and solutions to
exams, and ask questions about course topics and materials.
 The Help Lab is an important resource for students. If you have questions that have not been
resolved through the discussion sections or during lectures, be sure to attend the Help Lab!
 If you have questions for the TA outside of the Help Lab hours, you may also contact the course
TA through email. Expect a response within 1-2 business days.
Class Location: James Talmage Building (JTB), room 130
The James Talmage Building (JTB) is at Presidents Circle, right next to the southwest corner of the
Park Building (at the top of Presidents Circle where the University President’s offices are located).
Room 130 is on the lower level of JTB (the level below the stair case). When you enter the building
through the main entrance, go downstairs, then turn to the left. You’ll then find room 130 on the right.
Course Sequencing & Prerequisites:
 PHYS 1500 is a 3 credit hour course intended to prepare students for introductory physics
sequences starting with 2010, 2110, 2210. The course covers some foundations of Newtonian
mechanics, as well as problem-solving techniques and non-calculus mathematical prerequisites to
introductory physics courses.
 While there are no formal course prerequisites for PHYS 1500, basic knowledge of algebra is
necessary and some trigonometry is helpful. In essence, students will need skills/knowledge
including arithmetic, algebra of real numbers and variables, and geometry. Trigonometry and
experience with word problems are expected; however, these topics will be reviewed and practiced
in the course of this class. Also, the course makes some use of elementary calculus, but if you do
not have or remember this prerequisite, it can be revisited in class.
 For the formal prerequisites to 2000 level physics courses, see the University of Utah 2014-2015
General Catalog.
Course Begin: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
 This course will not begin on the Fall semester’s first day of classes (Monday, August 24), but on
Wednesday August 26, 2015. This slightly later start date allows students who plan to take a 2000
level physics introductory course in Fall 2015 (PHYS 2010, PHYS 2110, or PHYS 2210), to reassess
whether they should first complete PHYS 1500 and if they find out that they should take PHYS
1500, they can change courses without missing the beginning of this course.
 Student who are enrolled in a 2000 level physics introductory course in Fall 2015 and find out
during the first week of the semester that taking PHYS1500 first is a better choice should drop their
2000-level course immediately and enroll in PHYS 1500.
 PHYS 1500 is offered at the same time as section 001 of PHYS 2210. Thus, most students who
decide to change from PHYS 2210 to PHYS 1500 can do this without any changes to their
Course Materials:
Required Material: (1) Access to CanvasOnline, (2) smartPhysics learning portal, (3) a clicker:
 (1) Canvas: The Canvas system (http://utah.instructure.com) will be used as the main course page.
There you will find, in part, essential course information (e.g. the syllabus, updates to the schedule
of topics and assignments), announcements, your grades, and supplementary material.
 (2) Online learning portal: smartPhysics website (http://www.smartphysics.com). Detailed
instructions for registering with smartPhysics can be found at the end of this document.
 Access to the learning portal is available through http://www.smartphysics.com.
 You may also purchase access to the smartPhysics learning portal as a bundle with the smartPhysics
textbook (see Campus Bookstore) or separately. The purchase of the smartPhysics textbook is not
required for this course though. The textbook is solely a paper copy of many of the slides that you
can find on the smartPhysics website, so you’ll find no new information in this book. In fact, as a
self-consistent textbook it actually does not work very well.
 (3) A clicker: Clickers are an essential part of a student response system used in class. Please contact
the bookstore for purchasing or renting the clicker. Note that you will be able to use the some
clicker in future course if you plan on taking PHYS2210/2220 for instance.
 You MUST consult Canvas and smartPhysics regularly!
Supplemental Material (useful, not expensive, but it is not mandatory to have):
 Physics – A problem solving approach by Matthew McCluskey, ISBN 978-0-69-244891-5. This book
provides very short but clear and concise explanations of the topics encountered in this course and,
most importantly, it provides many fully solved example problems! Problems and solutions from
this book will be discussed during class!
II. Course Objectives
The most important objectives of this course are:
 Develop proficiency in describing physical phenomena quantitatively.
 Develop problem solving skills that can be applied to physics as well as other areas of
 Develop a good conceptual understanding of the fundamental principles of classical mechanics.
 Develop comfort and confidence in problem solving.
The achievement of these objectives will require the following:
 Sufficient ability in applying mathematical concepts.
 A methodical approach to problem solving.
 Disciplined study and practice!!!
Study and practice will be provided by:
 Reading the textbook and supplemental material.
 Viewing and understanding the pre-lecture video material
 Performing the checkpoint exercises before class to check your understanding.
 Attending and participating in lectures including in-class group work and quizzes.
 Working through example problems.
 Discussing questions with the TA and other students. (Teaching/helping other students may be the
best way to develop an excellent understanding of the material).
 Solving the assigned homework problems is absolutely necessary!!!
Practice makes perfect:
 The saying “practice makes perfect” definitely applies to learning physics! The only way to
understand physics concepts well enough to use them is to practice on problems. Just as with music
or sports, you must practice to be able to perform. Do the assigned homework problems and
review these problems, as well as other related problems in the textbook.
 Practice problems by mimicking the exam situation: start with a blank sheet of paper and work the
problem through as far as possible without looking for help from the text, notes, or solutions until
absolutely necessary.
III. How this course works
The Physics Department has designed PHYS 1500 as a ‘flipped’ or ‘reversed’ course. Rather than
having the instructor spend class time introducing new material, students will view online tutorials
(through smartPhysics) as preparation for class. Using this flipped approach, students will be able to
determine their own pace, pausing and repeating lectures as needed. Class time can then be spent
discussing the topics introduced in the videos in greater depth and applying these new concepts
through problems sets. For more information about flipped courses, see the Wikipedia entry on the
topic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_teaching.
Note that while this course makes use of online resources, it is not an online course!
Class presence and participation are important in order to most successfully achieve you learning goals.
Both independent and in-class learning will be facilitated by:
Prelectures (using smartPhysics)
 Prelectures in smartPhysics are narrated, animated tutorials that must be viewed in preparation for
class, but are not a substitute for class.
 Assigned Prelectures can be found in blue in the smartPhysics calendar. They are due by 8:00 a.m. of
the specified day.
 Due dates are typically the day before in-class lectures, but always consult the Calendar to be
 You do not have to wait until the due date to complete assignments, but assignments must be
completed by the due date to receive credit.
- Effort-based vs. accuracy-based evaluation: Much of the evaluation in this course is effortbased rather than accuracy-based. The purpose is not to penalize students who do not
immediately master concepts, but rather to reward students for consistent and sincere effort.
You can complete effort-based assignments without fear of reducing your grade through
inaccurate responses, as long as effort is apparent. If the instructor or teaching assistant
suspects a lack of sincere effort, they will contact students to discuss.
- Evaluation of Prelecture assignments is effort-based.
- Assigned Prelectures are evaluated on a credit/no credit basis.
- Students receive full credit for completing assigned Prelecture tutorials, including answering
embedded questions, by the due date.
- Students receive no credit when the Prelecture tutorials are either incomplete or late.
Checkpoints (using smartPhysics)
 Checkpoints are assessments used in smartPhysics to determine how well students grasp core
concepts. They are coordinated with the Prelectures.
 Assigned Checkpoints can be found in green in the smartPhysics calendar. They are due at the same
time as the accompanying Prelectures.
 Checkpoints are to be completed and submitted through the smartPhysics website.
- Evaluation of Checkpoint assignments is effort-based (see above).
- Assigned Checkpoints are evaluated on a credit/no credit basis.
- Students receive full credit for completing assigned Checkpoints by the due date.
- Students receive no credit when the Checkpoints are either incomplete or late.
Lectures (in class)
 During class the physics concepts introduced in the Prelectures and the problems completed in the
Checkpoints will be discussed.
 Additional problems from the “Physics – A problem solving approach” (see Course Materials, above) and
internet sources will also be presented for discussion.
 In a flipped course active participation by students is essential to their success. To help students
engage with the material presented during class, an audience response system (‘Clickers’; see Course
Materials) will be used.
 Lectures are student-driven: The material and manner of presentation will be adjusted, in part,
according to student performance on Checkpoints, clicker responses, etc.
 Class time is NOT a mere repetition of the material previewed in smartPhysics. Attending only class
or completing only smartPhysics assignments is not sufficient! During the lectures, the instructor will
oftentimes revisit subjects which the smartPhysics program considers to be prerequisites, especially
certain mathematical methods. By not attending the lecture you will miss out on the opportunity to
learn this material.
- Although roll will not be directly taken each class period, students’ attendance and participation
will be evaluated through in class activities, such as Group Work and Quizzes, which are
discussed below.
- If you do not come to class, your grade in this course will be negatively affected.
Group Work (in class)
 Approximately once a week, usually Fridays, students will work in groups for about 10-15 minutes
to complete a problem.
 This group work requires discussion and writing down a solution and/or solution path for
 These problems are an excellent preparation for those that you will encounter on exams. Solving
them in groups allows students to strengthen their understanding of the concepts, regardless of
their level.
- Evaluation of Group Work is effort-based (see above).
- Group work is evaluated on a credit/no credit basis and all members receive the same credit.
- In order to receive credit your name (printed) and your signature must be on a group work
- Group work will be returned during the Help Lab.
- Only not submitted group work sheets or empty work sheet will receive no credit. However,
the instructor and teaching assistant reserve the right to deny credit when Group Work
submissions do not reflect a minimal awareness of the concept being evaluated and/or a sincere
Quizzes (in class)
 Approximately twice a week there will be a quiz of 5 -10 minutes. Usually directly after a prelecture
is due (at the beginning of the Wednesday class) and when a chapter is finished (at the end of the
Monday class)
 Quizzes provide students with direct feedback on their mastery of topics discussed the previous
week. Students will be able to detect and address any weaknesses before exam time.
- Evaluation of quizzes is effort-based
- The main purpose of the quizzes is to give student feedback on where they stand. Working on a
quiz on newly introduced subjects can be challenging, the quizzes are to tell you what you have
understood and what not.
- Quizzes are therefore evaluated on a credit/no credit basis when a student makes a sincere
effort to solve the problems.
- What demonstrates sincere effort will be discussed in the course introduction on the first day. If
you have remaining questions, please speak with your instructor or teaching assistant.
- However, we nevertheless want to reward if students show excellent performance - extra credit
is given if more than two thirds of the quiz is solved correctly.
- Quizzes will be returned during the Help Lab.
Homework (using smartPhysics)
 Homework will be assigned and graded through SmartPhysics. (However, grades will be recorded in
Canvas, as described below.)
 The deadline for homework is posted on the SmartPhysics schedule.
 Online forums will be made available in Canvas to discuss homework. You are encouraged to
participate actively in the forums, both seeking help and providing advice on how to approach a
 Do not post solutions to homework problems to the Canvas forums!
- Evaluation of homework assignments is accuracy-based (see above).
- Homework is evaluated on a point basis, the percentage of correctly answered questions
determines your score for a given homework assignment. The average score of all home
assignments (that are not dropped) determine what your overall homework score will be.
- The lowest two homework scores will be dropped at the end of the semester.
- Full credit is only possibly if work is submitted by the due date; Work submitted up to one
week past the due date can receive up to 70% credit. Beyond a week late homework
submissions are not accepted.
Exams (in class)
 There will be a total of 4 exams: three midterm exams and a comprehensive final.
 Exams will reflect concepts covered through smartPhysics and in class. For the preparation of an
exam, please review the smartPhysics material and the additional mathematical methods covered in
class. The note for these additional in-class materials will be posted on Canvas
 All exams are closed-book, but you may bring a single 8.5” x 11” sheet with helpful equations and
relationships on it.
 Normal scientific and graphing calculators are allowed during exams. Devices with significant text
(alphanumeric) storage capability or wireless communication ability are NOT allowed (e.g. laptop
PCs, handheld computers, webbooks, palm pilots, smart phones, chromebooks, kindles, iphones)
 The lowest midterm exam score will be dropped at the end of the semester.
 Make-ups will ONLY be given under exceptional circumstances. For example, a when the absence
is due to (a) a University sponsored activity or to military duty, (b) serious medical emergencies or
(c) other verifiable emergencies. The student must provide complete documentation.
- Evaluation of exams is accuracy-based, i.e. you must correctly answer the questions and/or
correctly solve the given problems to receive credit.
- Extra credit problems
- Exams, like all other works submitted on paper, will be returned during the Help Lab; however,
students will have the opportunity to discuss remaining questions during class.
IV. Grading
Calculating Final Grades
 Final grades are based on the number of points students accumulate over the course of the
semester. The possible point range is 0-100.
 The following table provides an overview of the total number of possible points for each
assignment or test:
Prelectures and Checkpoints
Group Work & Quizzes
Midterm Exams
Final Exam
15 points
25 points
20 points
20 points
20 points
Total: 100
 The final raw score translates into the grade point system as follows:
Grade 4.0≥
points: >3.7
Grade: A
42≤ <42
0.7≥ 0.0
Final Grade Verification (VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
 The Canvas gradebook is the official gradebook. While some scores will appear in smartPhysics and
on returned papers, the final grade will be calculated using the Canvas gradebook.
 It is the student's responsibility to ensure the accuracy of all grades recorded in Canvas!
 Please regularly check your scores in Canvas, keep all your returned tests and contact your
instructor in case of an error.
V. Course and University Policies
University Accommodation Policies:
The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people
with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, prior notice needs to be given to the
Center for Disability Services. The CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements
for accommodations. See http://disability.utah.edu/
Other University policies and procedures:
Policy of academic honesty and class:
The rules of academic honesty apply as outlined in the University of Utah student handbook and the
Academic misconduct, such as cheating or plagiarism, will be sanctioned as outlined therein.
Addressing Sexual Misconduct
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which includes sexual
orientation and gender identity/expression) is a Civil Rights offense subject to the same kinds of
accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories
such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or
genetic information. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged
to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135
Park Building, 801-581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-5817066. For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB,
801-581-7776. To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677(COPS).
The syllabus and course information are not binding legal contracts. The instructor reserves
the right to modify the syllabus and/or course information, but will provide students with
reasonable notice in such an event.
VI. Course Content and Important Dates
Course Content
 The material in units 1-13 of smartPhysics will be covered.
 Depending on student progress, additional units may be added or the total number covered may be
 Students are responsible for material covered in smartPhysics, regardless of whether or not this
material is directly discussed in class.
 To receive the most up-to-date information on material to be covered and due dates, students must
regularly check the smartPhysics and calendars.
Summary of Important Dates
 The following provides an overview of important dates. More detailed information is posted on the
smartPhysics website and changes may occur as the semester progresses.
First days of classes (NOTE: The first day of class is a WEDNESDAY!)
No class, Labor Day holiday
First midterm exam, in the regular class room, during regular class hours
No class, Fall break
No class, Fall break
No class, Fall break
Second midterm exam, in the regular class room, during regular class hours
Third midterm exam, in the regular class room, during regular class hours
No class, Thanksgiving break
Last day of classes
1pm to 3pm final exam, in the regular class room
1pm to 3pm substitute date of final exam, in the regular class room
Final exam
The final exam will be on Friday 12/11/2015, 1pm to 3pm in the regular class room. This time slot is
not the official time slot that is regulated by the University schedule. For students who cannot attend
the final exam on 12/11/2015 (e.g. because this date causes extraordinary hardship), there will be a
substitute final exam on 12/18/2015, 1pm to 3pm in the regular class room. There will be no early final
exams before 12/11/2015! Also, only one final exam can be attempted. Once you participate in the
final exam on 12/11/2015, you waive your participation right for the 12/18/2015 substitute exam. All
exams will take place in the regular class room (JTB 130).
University Deadlines
Deadline for class drop, addition, and withdrawal can be found in the Academic Calendar of University:
VII. Final Comments
 Although this course has an online component, the course is NOT an online course. Success
depends on regular and engaged participation in class!
 Please read this Course Information carefully! You are responsible for knowing its contents and for
requesting clarification. By staying in the course you are agreeing to all course policies.
 The syllabus is not a binding legal contract. It may be modified by the instructor when the student
is given reasonable notice of the modification.
 This Syllabus was updated last on August 24, 2015.
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