ABOUT the LABORATORY (Fall 2008)
Eleven experiments are scheduled (See SYLLABUS, and/or LABSCHEDULE. To complete Physics 117 you must do every experiment and hand in every lab report. Please review the principles and policies which govern the Physics 117 Laboratories on pages (i) to (vii) of your Lab Manual (Physics 117 Laboratory Manual, Department of Physics, UMCP, 2002. It is important to study the laboratory manual before each session, so that you can use the limited lab time efficiently.
Make sure you sign the sign-in sheet for each lab you attend, since your signature shows that you were there, in case any question arises. Also for a make-up session indicate which lab # you are making up. (Only one lab can be made up in a single two hour lab session.) Lab reports should be written as the lab work progresses and handed in before the laboratory period ends. Each student in the group should compose his own lab report. If two (or three, four, ...) essentially identical lab reports are received, then each will get 1/2 (or 1/3, 1/4, ...) of the credit it warrants.
A lab report is late, and suffers a five point penalty, if not placed into the Physics 117 Lab Mail Slot for your lab section (in the wall, near the entrance to Physics Room 3316 at the end of the corridor diagonally opposite to our lab room, Physics Room 3301) by midnight of the day following the lab. In practice, this means before the TA empties that mail slot sometime after midnight of the lab day. (Please do not deliver delayed lab reports to any location other than the 117 Lab Mail Slot.) The penalty grows to 10 points one week after the end of the lab period (i.e., at the end of the subsequent lab period), and becomes total (i.e., the score is zero) at midnight the next day, the eighth day after the lab. (Note that even if the grade is to be zero, the report must be submitted, since the report is a course requirement, independent of the score which the lab report might earn.) IF YOU DO NOT HAND IN ALL LAB REPORTS, YOU CAN NOT PASS THE COURSE.
The basic idea is that lab reports are tasks to be finished, and not to be extended or belabored: write it up and hand it in, preferably before you leave the lab!
Of course, the lab experiments should generally be done at the regularly scheduled time.† However, two make-up weeks are scheduled for doing experiments that were missed because of special and pressing circumstances.† The first lab make-up week (Week #8) is to make up Labs I through VI (only), and the second (Week #15)is for Labs VII through XI(only). See Syllabus. You can make up one lab in any regularly scheduled Physics 121 lab period during lab make-up weeks, but you should schedule your make-up with your TA at least a week beforehand, if possible. TA's and lab technicians will be available to assist you during the regularly scheduled lab times on those make up days.
The sum of your semesterís laboratory report scores is your raw lab score. In computing your course grade, your raw lab score will be replaced by your adjusted lab score on the basis of "80% is Enough" process (used also for HW and Participation scores and discussed at length in GRADING POLICY): every student who accumulates 80% or more of the maximum possible semester total will receive the same adjusted raw lab score of 100, equal to the maximum possible adjusted lab score; students who achieve less than 80% of the Maximum, will receive an adjusted lab score equal to the percentage of the 80% threshold which they achieved. These adjusted lab scores will then be renormalized (to Avg=70, Std.Dev.= +-20, as always) to define the normalized lab score, NLS, which comprises 30% of the studentís overall Course Score, as described in GRADING POLICY.
Note that for Labs and for HWís everyone should strive to meet the 80% threshold to receive the maximal grade, because the renormalization process can aggravate the damage for the few students who fail to do so. Itís so easy to attain the 80% that there is hardy any excuse for not doing so.††