# Main Handout: Homework

## 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.

• 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.
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• 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.)
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• Solutions will be posted on our Blackboard site soon after they are due. As a result, late homework will not be accepted.
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• 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 graded" problems, 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.
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• 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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Prof. E. F. Redish

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