131 Policies

A. General

     The course during this Semester commences on MON Aug 23 and concludes on MON Dec 6.
Lecture Schedule
Homework Schedule

     LECTURES are on MW from 2:00 until 3:15 in PSF-173. Students are responsible for any information imparted to the class during lectures. Minimal preparation for lecture is to do the reading assignment for that day, which can be found on the course web site. To more fully prepare for lecture, also take an advance look at the homework problems which will be assigned for that lecture. A small number of Multiple Choice questions will be asked during each lecture. These may cover the reading assignment, or may check your comprehension of some topic that I have just covered in lecture. You are expected to record your response to these questions using your Turning Point transmitter. You must register your Turning Point transmitter in order for your responses to be graded. YOU MUST USE ONLY THE TRANSMITTER THAT YOU REGISTER AND NO OTHER. Use of another student's transmitter is a case of academic dishonesty, just exactly like cheating on a test. Any and all students involved in any such incidents will automatically receive an E for the course, and may be referred to the Dean for further sanctions.

     RECITATION sections occur weekly as scheduled, beginning at 7:30 AM MON Aug 23; the last recitation meetings are on MON Dec 6. This results in 15 recitation meetings for each section. The purpose of the recitation section is to give the student an opportunity in a small class environment to learn essential concepts and problem-solving strategies. Each recitation period will open with either a graded group exercise or a short quiz.

     HELP-STUDY Sessions are for the students' benefit, but participation is optional. Beginning MON Aug 30, the Help-Study Hall (PSH-352) will be staffed by volunteer faculty and Teaching Assistants several hours each day between 8:40 and 5:00. Teaching Assistants associated with this course, and your instructor, will keep some of their office hours in the Help-Study Hall.

     An E-MAIL account is available for every student enrolled at ASU. Instructions for obtaining an e-mail account can be obtained at the ASU Computer Commons. Important class information will be disseminated regularly through e-mail. The student will be responsible for receiving it. If you currently have a working ASU email account, then you need do nothing. If you have not recently used your ASU email account, then you should double-check to make sure that your email is properly being redirected to your favorite email address.

B. Turning Point

You will use your Turning Point transmitter to answer Multiple Choice questions during the lecture period. Your answers will be graded, and your Turning Point grade will count 5% of your overall class grade. For the first week, Turning Point questions will be considered practice questions, as you learn to use your Turning Point transmitter or software. Beginning MON Aug 30, Turning Point questions will be graded. You are always encouraged to discuss Turning Point questions with your neighbors in lecture, but when answering, always think for yourself. A correct answer will be counted as 3 points, an incorrect answer will be counted as 2 points, and no answer will be counted as zero points; so the penalty for an incorrect answer is very small. There are expected to be about 50 Turning Point questions over the course of the semester, so the maximum possible Turning Point score will be about 150 points. The final Turning Point grade will be determined as a percentage out of 135 points (or ∼90% of all possible points should the number of possible Turning Point points change.) Your maximum Turning Point grade is 100%, i.e. more than 135 points will not be counted as extra credit. Since only 90% of all possible Turning Point points are required for a perfect Turning Point score, no opportunity is provided to make up missed Turning Point questions. USING SOMEOME ELSE'S TRANSMITTER, OR ALLOWING SOMEONE TO USE YOUR TRANSMITTER, WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC FAILING GRADE FOR THE COURSE. It is your responsibility to make sure that your Turning Point transmitter is in working order, and that your response is recorded. See the Turning Point page on our class web site for tips.

C. Homework

     A list of assigned HOMEWORK problems will be made available on the class web site as the semester proceeds. There will be one assignment for each lecture. Almost all homework assignments are to be completed and turned in using Mastering Physics; however, there will be five or ten problems during the semester which have to be written up and handed in at recitation. A guide to using Mastering Physics can be found on the course web site. Due dates for Mastering Physics HW are available on the Assignment List at the Mastering Physics web site. In general, assignments made on MON are due by 11:59 PM the following MON and assignments made on WED are due by 11:59 PM the following TUE, but the official due dates are always the ones found at your Mastering Physics site. Assignments submitted after the due hour has passed will receive 20% credit (credit goes from 100% to 20% gradually during the first hour after the due date). Due dates for problems that must be written up and turned in will be found at the HOMEWORK SCHEDULE page on the course web site.

     For working on homework, STUDY GROUPS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. This will be especially applicable for those HW problems that have to be written up, but you may also want to print out many of the Mastering Physics problems and work on them in your study groups. However, you should realize that for most Mastering Physics problems, the numerical values in the online versions will be randomized, and so will be different for each student; so in your study group, you will be finding the right method rather than the actual answers.

     A total of approximately 2150 homework points will be possible. The final homework grade will be determined as a percentage out of 1935 points (or ∼90% of all possible points should the number of total HW points change.) Your maximum homework grade is 100%, i.e. more than 1935 points will not be counted as extra credit.


     The following policies govern written homework:

Written assignments will be accepted only at the beginning of the recitation period on the days they are due. LATE HOMEWORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

STUDY GROUPS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. For most people, talking about physics is an essential part of understanding physics and developing an accurate and useful physical intuition. However, written homework solutions should be one's own. Homework that has obviously been copied will not receive credit and the students involved will be subject to charges of academic dishonesty.

D. Quizzes and Graded Group Exercises

     Every recitation will begin either with a graded group exercise or a quiz. There will be 15 recitations over the course of the semester; there will be approximately ten graded group exercises worth 10 points each and five quizzes worth 20 points each. Your two lowest graded group exercise score will be dropped, and your lowest quiz score will be dropped. Since 20% of each type of score will be dropped, THERE ARE NO MAKE-UP QUIZZES OR GROUP EXERCISES FOR ANY REASON. Exception: once (AND ONLY ONCE) during the semester, you may arrange with your TA to attend an alternate 131 recitation; a list of 131 recitations for our class can be found here. Group exercises will be distributed at the beginning of recitation. Your TA will assign groups of three or four students, and groups will be rearranged once or twice as the semester proceeds. Exercises will be the same for all groups in a given recitation. Exercises will be solved as a group, but each student will write up his or her own solution; solutions will be graded individually. Quizzes will be similar to simpler problems, and will be on material already covered in the lectures and/or homework assignments. Quizzes will be announced on Blackboard on the FRI before a MON, TUE, and WED quiz.

E. Examinations

     The four tests will cover material indicated in the schedule by lecture numbers. Each test will consist of 2-3 problems and 12-15 multiple choice (MC) questions. The problems may be similar to homework, but they may also represent applications of principles in entirely different circumstances. The multiple choice questions may cover conceptual questions as well as "quicky" problems. The final examination will consist of 40 multiple choice questions. The final will be comprehensive. For the test dates, see the lecture schedule which accompanies this syllabus. This instructor's tests from a previous semester, with solutions, will be available at a location to be announced on our 131 update page.

Examinations are governed by the following policies:

  • THERE WILL BE NO MAKE-UP TESTS for any reason. If you miss one of the four tests FOR ANY REASON, that test automatically becomes your dropped test.

  • Drop policy: in order to offer more drop options we will grade the multiple choice and problem sections of the tests separately. A student then has then option of dropping any one MC and any one problem section. Here are two examples to help you understand your options:
    TEST        MC1  PROB1  MC2  PROB2  MC3  PROB3  MC4  PROB4   AVERAGE
    possible    60    65    60    65    60    65    60    65    100%
    Student A   50    48    45    52    20    45    30    55    74.7%
    Student B   20    52    40    45    50    42    45    36    73.1%

    For Student A the lowest multiple choice is the 20 in Test 3, and the lowest problem section is the 45 in that same test. Dropping those two sections gives student A 280 out of 375 possible points for a test average of 74.7%. On the other hand, student B drops MC #1 and Problems #4, yielding an test average of 73.1% (274 out of 375).

  • Academic dishonesty on an examination will result automatically in a failing grade for the course and referral to the Dean for further sanctions. Cheating in any form will not be tolerated!

  • A full set of test rules is available at the course web site.

  • The use of hand calculators is permitted. However, YOUR CALCULATOR MAY NOT CONTAIN STORED PHYSICS EQUATIONS.

  • Test paper (including scratch paper) will be provided. Bring only your pencils and calculators.

  • Formula sheets will not be used in tests. Understanding a concept of physics is tantamount to knowing its mathematical expression and how to apply it to a given physical situation. Non-trivial derivatives and integrals, numerical values of physical constants, and some case-specific formulas will be provided when their use is required.

  • Partial credit is given. Arithmetical errors will be treated charitably, but for answers that do not make physical sense (wrong dimensions, deviation by several orders of magnitude, etc.) no credit will be awarded. In general, you must get the PHYSICS right to receive any partial credit. Wrong physics = no credit.

  • In the event of a fire alarm occuring during an examination, students will be asked to close their examination booklets, gather their belongings and leave the room as expeditiously as possible, leaving their examination booklets on the tables where they were working. The booklets will be gathered and graded as they are. Unless the alarm proves to represent a bona fide emergency, there will be no make-up examination.

  • If a student believes there to have been an error in grading his or her test, the complaint should be PUT IN WRITING, stapled to the relevant page of the test, and handed to the course instructor. The problem will be regraded by the individual who graded it originally. If the student is not satisfied with the grader's response to the complaint, he or she may appeal to the course instructor. In this event, the instructor reserves the prerogative to regrade the entire examination. Simple errors, such as point addition, can be corrected by contacting the student's recitation section instructor.

    F. Final Grades.

    The final course grades will be determined with the following weights:

    Turning Point(total points out of 45): 5%
    Homework (total points out of 1935): 8%
    Quizzes and Group Exercises (drop 1 and 2): 7%
    Tests (best 3 of 4): 60%
    Final Examination: 20%


    The scale for final letter grades will ultimately be determined by the overall class performance. However, any student who earns 90% of all possible points can expect to receive an A. Don't depend on your instructors to figure your grade correctly. For a more detailed explanation see HOW TO FIGURE YOUR FINAL GRADE (normally posted later in the year).

    G. Withdrawal

    Withdrawal policies are established by the University (see the ASU Calendar and the ASU General Catalog). The deadline for course withdrawal is Nov 3.   Other deadlines are also given in the Calendar or the Catalog.

    Homework Schedule
    Lecture Schedule