Physics 121, Fall 2010
Prof. E. F. Redish
Homework is where it's at in this class! A major part of what I expect you to learn in this class will come as a result of doing homework. Homework will not be a lot of trivial manipulative exercises. There will be fewer problems than are traditional and most will be reasonably challenging.
Prof. E. F. Redish
- Work together! Since
the problems will be difficult, it may not be easy to do them entirely
on your own. You are encouraged to work together, but each member of
the group must fully understand how to solve each problem on their own.
("Oh, I see." is
not good enough!) Each person must write up his or her own solution. If
two writeups are found to be essentially identical, neither will receive
credit. The best way to be sure to not produce cloned solutions even
when you work together is to agree on a solution, then each write up
the work independently. Do not all copy from a solution you worked
out together on the board. Instead, recreate the solution on your own
paper and include discussion and explanations of what you have done. If
your solution is a close copy of one of my solutions from a previous
year your paper will be sent to the Judicial Review Board for plagiarism.
- Explanations are
essential. On homework (and on most exam problems) you
will be expected to include explanations as to what principles you
are using and how you know they are relevant. An answer which only includes
equations is unlikely to get full credit. Note: An explanation does NOT
mean "restate the answer in words". It means
"give a reason why you have done what your have done." You can think of
it as what you would say if you showed your answer to another student in
the class and they said, "I don't think that's right."
What would you say to convince them? (In this class, you will see that
"I'm really, really positive," or "Oh, I remember it" does
NOT count as a reason to be convinced of an answer.)
- There are 4 types
of HW - all online.
- Simple practice problems and online tutorial with hints --
These are in the online HW environment Mastering Physics (MP).
Each is typically worth 1 point. This should take about 1/2 hour (once
you have learned to be comfortable with the interface).
- Tutorial HW -- This is a one-page worksheet that has
you review what you have learned in Tutorial (discussion section) the
previous week. It will be posted near the bottom of our homepage on Monday
and will be due at the beginning of Tutorial in the following week. (The
week after you have completed the Tutorial covered by the HW.)
- Lecture HW
problems in the MP environment -- Lecture homework consists
of harder problems from my personal collection. They will be posted
online (in MP) on Friday during lecture. Four of them will be imported
into the MP environment and you will do them there using text,
equations, and numbers.
- Lecture HW
on paper --
The fifth lecture HW problem will be longer and will require
more exposition (including possibly, text, figures, graphs, calculations,
equations, tables, etc.) These will be posted on our homepage (and
in BB) and done on paper. They are due at the beginning of lecture
one week later. Please construct these on a computer and print
them out if possible. If not, write really, really clearly. (You
should expect to spend between 4-6 hours each week on Friday homework.)
- Solutions will
be posted on our Blackboard site soon after they are due. As a result,
late homework will not be accepted.
- Don't misread
the HW grading! Since
the TAs are only paid for enough time to spend about 5 minutes on each
of your assignments, only one problem per week will be graded in detail
on a basis of 0-5 and will provide you feedback. The rest will be scanned
for reasonableness and given a grade of 0, 1, or 2. On these "lightly
you could get full credit and still have all the problems wrong! It
is essential that you read over the solutions carefully in order to understand
whether you had the right idea or not.
- Get problem help
in the Course Center! -- Since we will
not be answering questions about HW in the discussion sections, we have
set up a Course Center in room Toll 0208. You can come there to check
other texts for ideas, to work with other students, and to ask the course
center monitor (me or one of the TAs) some questions. Don't expect the
monitors to show you how to do the problems, however. The problems are
designed so that you learn by thinking about them, not by memorizing
them or watching someone else show you how to do them. Monitors are encouraged
to ask you questions first, to find out where you are coming from, and
then to give you suggestions and hints for what you might try to solve
them. Your colleagues are free to tell you anything, but you have to
decide if they are right or wrong! The schedule for the Course
Center is posted on our "Times" page.
- Get help at the Slawsky Clinic! -- When the Course
Center is not staffed or too busy, you can also get help at the Slawsky
Clinic -- the general help room for physics students in room 1214.
Help is typically available there M-F from 10-3. On M-W-F the Clinic
staff includes Ralph Vendemia, who is very familiar with my approach.
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This page prepared by
Edward F. Redish
Department of Physics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301) 405-6120
Last revision 28 August,