Wright State University Lake Campus/2017-9/Phy1050/Syllabus

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Instructor: Guy Vandegrift ... guy.vandegrift@wright.edu ... http://www.wright.edu/~guy.vandegrift/ ... User:Guy vandegrift


5 tests 500 points 5/6 ≈ 83%
Labs 100 points 1/6 ≈ 17%
 ...total 600 points   100%

The grade is based on a 600 point scale, with five tests worth 500 points, and a term project worth 100 points. Each test is worth 100 points, with the understanding that you final exam score can be substituted for your lowest of the four midterm scores. You can't drop the final exam. But, you can have your final exam count for 200 points by replacing your lowest midterm test score if that helps your grade. Your project and each undropped test is worth 1/6 ≈ 17% of your grade. If your lowest grade is one of the four midterm tests, that score is dropped and the final exam is worth 2/6 ≈ 33% of your grade.

test Case 1  include Case 2 include
T1 80 80            80 80
T2 80 80 80 80
T3 80 80 80 80
T4 40 - 70 70
FE 70 70 40 40
' ' 70 -
Ave. 76% 70%
Sum 380 350

The table to the right illustrates how these rules allow either the lowest midterm test, or half the final exam to be dropped, if the final exam is given twice the weight of a midterm.

In both cases, three test scores were 80%, while one was 70% and another was 49%. In case 1, the lowest score is completely dropped, and the final exam score counts twice. In case 2, the lowest score was the final exam, weighted equally with the four midterm tests because it was the lowest score.

Labs and attendance[edit]

A one credit lab (PHY,,,L) is a co-requisite to this course. A lab report is due electronically via Pilot on Friday at 11:00 pm on the week of each of the four tests. You are encouraged to write your report on wright.miraheze.org either using wikitext, or by photographing a report or drawing and submitting a pdf printout. Any extra-credit must be submitted in this way in a way that permits Collective Commons licensing. A private wiki will be assigned to you on the wikifarm at https://wright.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page.

Attendance is required for all scheduled meeting times. But you are allowed to miss five class hours (not days not classes) without penalty. Once you have exceeded this limit, your lab grade will be reduced by 5 points (out of 100) for each lab missed. If the course has a recitation section, you may make up attendance points by attending those sections. There is a small extra credit award of 0.5 points per class hour for missing fewer than five class hours.

Materials will also be posted on

Course Description[edit]

PHY1050: How things work The physics associated with everyday scientific and technological phenomena and devices, including those associated with the generation, detection, and application of sound, light, and energy (4 credit hours.) There is also a 1 credit required lab that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a General Education course with no prerequisites.

There is no textbook. But we will borrow from the following online (and free) resources:

  1. https://www.physicsclassroom.com/ (good high school introduction to classical physics)
  2. https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/How_things_work_college_course (A Wikiversity predecessor to the current course)
  3. http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~orban/physics_coding/hourofcode/ (Youtube video series on using computers to simulate classical motion)
  4. https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Quizbank/HTW (will be the source for five exams)
  5. https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wright_State_University_Lake_Campus/2018-9/Phy1050 (A tentative schedule for these exams)

The labs and quizzes will follow the general pattern defined by the five midterm tests (T1-T5). Since we have a small class size, we will be more focused on improving the tests than memorizing the answers. Each of these units has a theme:

  1. The first test (T1) covers what is known as classical physics, which is associated with the work of Galileo and Newton during the 17th century. This mathematical view of the world formed the foundations for our understanding of fluids (i.e. weather forecasts, and much of our understanding of chemistry, sound, and light.
  2. The next unit covers the Modern Physics revolution associated with the 20th century. This includes the quantum theory of the atom and Einstein's relativity. We will spend a great deal of time exploring Bell' theorem, which was discovered in 1964 and has been called "the most profound discovery of science" (not everybody agrees.)
  3. The third unit discusses computers, with an emphasis on the history of computers in science dates back to ancient times.
  4. The fourth unit looks at the Industrial Revolution.
  5. Finally we look at the Global Warming controversy. Much of the fourth and fifth units are devoted to reviewing and deepening our understanding of the basic concepts developed in the first three units: Classical Physics, Quantum Physics, and Computer technology.

As we look for ways to improve this course, perhaps to the point where it can evolve into an online course, we shall see how computer technology can be used to automate portions of higher education, as discussed on the Wikiversity page Quizbank. Many of the labs will be devoted to this series of videos that mixes computer technology with classical mechanics:


Office hours and calendar links[edit]

Vandegrift Teaching Schedule.png

Spring-2020 Academic Calendar         Fall Lake Campus final exams (tentative)

Getting help[edit]

Getting help[edit]

Writing: Because writing is such an important part of a college education, the Student Success Center provides free writing support to all Wright State students, at any stage of your writing process and for any class. I encourage you to visit the SSC for help with any aspect of your writing, from research to revision. Sessions are available M-Th by appointment or walk-in from 10-5 pm and Fridays by appointment only from 10-5. To make an appointment, stop by the SSC (182 Andrews Hall) or call 419-586-0333. For more information about the SSC, their hours, and scheduling, please visit: https://lake.wright.edu/campus-life/student-success-center.

Math: The Student Success Center offers free assistance to students enrolled in mathematics courses within the Wright State Catalog. I encourage you to visit the SSC for help with any aspect of math above DEV. Sessions are available M-Th by appointment or walk-in from 10-5 pm and Fridays by appointment only from 10-5 pm. To make an appointment, stop by the SSC (182 Andrew Hall) or call 419-586-0333. For more information about the SSC, their hours, and scheduling, please visit: https://lake.wright.edu/campus-life/student-success-center.

LTC: The Library & Technology Center provides free access to scholarly resources in all formats to all Wright State students. WSU students can also visit the LTC for assistance with creating or editing multimedia projects i.e. PowerPoint, Voiceovers, Website development, etc., free of charge. The LTC is temporarily located in 182 Andrews Hall. For additional information about the LTC and the services they provide please call (419) 586-0333, or visit the LTC M-Fri from 9am-5pm

Office of Disability Services: If a student has a disability that will require special accommodations, it is essential that he or she discuss it with the instructor and/or The Office of Disability Services (ODS) before or during the first week of the semester. ODS will work with these students on an individual basis to determine what services, equipment, and accommodations would be appropriate regarding their documented needs. Students who may qualify for these types of services should initiate contact with the instructor and/ or ODS as soon as possible to enable the university to meet their needs.  Please call Deanna Springer at 419-586-0366, email deanna.springer@wright.edu or visit ODS (Rm 182 Andrews) for more information.