Fall 2021 - PHYS 132

See the course listing for official information. All course content will be available via Blackboard once the semester begins (late August).

Here are some FAQs and answers.

Mode of instruction:

  • It is difficult to predict exactly how we will be able to teach the class. We are still in a pandemic.

  • The most likely scenario is a mix of in person and online instruction.

  • We are planning to have labs and group discussion sessions (for my section: Tue 3:30-5:20pm) in person on campus.

  • Lectures (for my section: MF, 4:00-4:50pm) will be 'blended synchronous': You may be able to attend in the lecture hall, possibly on a rotating schedule, but lectures will also be streamed online (synchronous).

  • You will be expected to attend all components of PHYS 132 either in person or online at the scheduled times. There will be graded activities during lecture and synchronous attendance is required. If you have a scheduling conflict during lecture or group problem sessions a different section may be more suitable for you. We do not permit departmental overrides and cannot accommodate to your work schedule.

  • Depending on guidelines from the CDC, state and local authorities, as well as the university in the fall there may need to be adjustments to the mode of instruction.

How should I study for this class?

  • That depends on what works best for you. We will provide weekly readings that cover the entire course material. You will not need to buy an additional textbook. The readings contain examples and practice problems with worked out solutions.

  • You should study the readings before the lecture. The lectures will cover the most important and difficult concepts and will assume that you have at least a basic understanding of the readings.

  • The best way to learn how to solve Physics problems is to solve Physics problems. Besides the practice problems in the readings you will have the opportunity to hone that skill during the group problem discussions and through weekly homework assignments.

It may be helpful to hear testimony from last semester's students. Here is some advice that they have for you - a full collection of comments will be available on Blackboard the first week of the semester:

· To be successful in this class, it is very important to not just skim the readings, but fully read and understand them. IF there is a problem on homework or group problems that is hard to solve, it is likely that it will be in the readings in some form. The most useful part of this class was the optional, integrated problems within the readings.

· To be successful, you need to attend all the lectures and do the readings! Without this, you will not do too well in class. Also, ask questions and do homework as best as you can. You should also get the labs done ASAP because it's better to do it in the lab with your TA present. Also, get to know your professor and actually engage in class, it'll only benefit you

· This is a great class and one of my favorites so far in college. Definitely challenging but with doing a lot of practice problems, you get the drift quite easily after redoing them and exposing yourself. Professor Spille does a great job at explaining, although, not all material/examples will be covered during lecture. The best way is to do the readings, take notes on them and apply what you learn in the practice problems. TA's are very helpful when you are stuck since they're available almost every day of the week. If you put in the work, you will do great!

· Do the homework on your own to actually understand. Sometimes when working with a group you rush through some problems that you were not 100% sure on. Don't do that. The online homework and the office hours were the most helpful throughout the semester.

· Take advantage of all the office hours and TA hours. Even if you understand the weekly content, it won't hurt to go in to talk with the professor about the homework or practice problems in the weekly folders.

· Stay on top of your work and do your best not to fall behind because it can be difficult to catch up. Do not study the night before for anything.

· Start the homework early in the week! Don't wait until the day it is due. Also my biggest regret is not going to office hours, make yourself available and reach out.

· Practice makes you perfect!! This course is more than just plugging in numbers and doing a bunch of equations. You have to apply the equation to real world situations. If you are stuck and have no idea what to do on a problem, just write down what you are given and what you need to solve for. Utilize office hours and make sure to make friends who will push you and what not. [...] Practice drawing stuff because it will help with a lot of problems. All in all a fun course, but challenging one nonetheless.

· It is important to go through the reading and the solutions to your written homework and group problems to ensure that you are understanding the material. This way you can see sample calculations and read the explanation to the solutions to the problems, helping you gain a clearer image of what you are learning. I used to write down the most important contents mentioned in the reading, so I could use that to study for the quizzes and ultimately for the exam. Also, the practice problems are a great resource to truly test your knowledge. I wish I had taken advantage of the peer leaders' office hours at the beginning of the semester because those helped me answer my questions on the material. Overall, physics doesn't have to be difficult to complete if you keep up with the course work and attend every lecture/group problem session.