-- Werner von Braun
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Welcome to Excursions - Online!, the web-based version of PHYsics 3050G, Excursions in Physics. Excursions OnLine refers to the section of PHY 3050G which is delivered entirely over the interent. Most semesters, there is also another section of PHY 3050G which meets with a live audience, a live lecturer, and live demonstrations. This is referred to as Excursions - Live! This summer (2003), however, there is only Excursions - Online! There is not a section of Excurisons - Live! but I have not purged all references to it from this online syllabus or course description.
This course assumes -- or requires! -- that you are comfortable navigating the internet and communicating via the internet.
There are online quizzes due throughout the course. You are welcome to take them ahead of time. But credit will not be given if the deadline is missed. The deadlines for the online quizzes is noon of the day the homework is listed on the calendar. Do the homework -- write out answers to the homework questions -- before looking at the solutions. You will find the homework solutions by clicking on the homework assignments -- the numbered problems -- listed on the calendar page. Following the homework solutions are about ten (sometimes more) multiple-guess questions. Those questions are then repeated with their answers. Those same questions are the online quizzes! The online quizzes are not difficult. Everyone should get all of them right! The online quizzes are simply my attempt to keep you from getting behind. Please please feel free to take the quizzes long before the deadlines.
There will be two exams -- a mid-term on June 26, and a final on July 10. These will be taken online using WebCT, just like the online quizzes.Please write down your answers -- as backup just in case WebCT does something strange. The exams will be availabe about a week before their deadlines. Please don't wait until the last minute. Computer seem to sense and do strange things! If you have problems, please let me know immediately. The sooner I know of a problem, the easier it is to correct.
The Mechanical Universe video tapes are probably available at a community college or high school near you. They are useful and interesting. Call the Media Center and the Physics Department of a community college (or high school) near you and see if they are available. The Excursions calendar page lists the videos that I would show on campus to my Live! audience. The Mechanical Universe video tapes are not really required for this course but they certainly add to the course and are very good. If you can find them, go have a "film festival" once or twice a week and watch them. They're really good!
Communication is important. Keeping current with the course material is vital. With only two exams, it will be very easy to get so far behind that you can not possibly catch up. Dont do that to yourself! . I have set up a bulletin board to make communication easy. There you can post a question and other students can comment on it and I will try to answer it, too. Use the bulletin board. The bulletin board should be more useful than eMail; but send me eMail too. Throughout the course, let me know how youre doing and what youre understanding and what you're having problems with. I will answer my eMail immediately but I will try to leave things alone on the bulletin board for a few days -- to elicit responses from other students.
Be sure to send me an eMail note early with your eMail address.
Send me eMail notes whenever you have questions. I will read the Bulletin Board postings only occassionally. Intentionally, I want other students to respond to the Bulletin Board postings. Do not use the bulletin board for important or crucial questions to which you need a quick answer from me.
You will use two textbooks -- Paul Hewitts, Conceptual Physics, a regular, hardcover book which you should receive through the mail, and Adventures in Physics, available over the internet. Be sure to read the texts. These texts are the most complete resource you have.
I still get nervous since I have no eye-to-eye or face-to-face contact with you. Please use the bulletin board often -- and send me eMail notes. I hope you have fun and enjoy this course.
What does a good lecturer do? What is the purpose of a traditional lecture? Surely there was great anxiety and uncertainty immediately after Guttenburg invented the printing press and textbooks became commonplace in libraries and Universities. If "all you need to know" is in the textbook -- and that is certainly the case with Conceptual Physics and Adventures in Physics -- then what is the purpose of the lecture and lecturer anyway?
Putting Excursions online, without a traditional lecture, has caused me to ask questions like this. Your and my common experiences will help to answer them. What do I do in a lecture, anyway? Certainly I answer explicit questions. More than that, or even before that, I try to look at students and notice from facial expressions if ideas are clear or murky. I can alter my presentations based upon reactions -- or questions -- from students.
One of the things I do in lectures is to show demonstrations that illustrate the ideas or concepts that we are discussing. I can not (yet) do that very well over the web! Present transmission rates are low enough that I have decided not to include many movies (yet!). But I have tried to include many images -- photographs and drawings -- to illustrate the ideas we discuss. The Mechanical Universe video tapes will also help supply some of the demonstrations that I can not give you directly over the web. Please do not ignore these video tapes. They should be available at a community college near you.
The Excursions Bulletin Board is an important component of this online course. -- a very important component. You can ask a question there. Other students -- from the "Live" section as well as the "onLine" section -- can respond to your question. You can respond to theirs. I will also respond to questions. Make frequent use of this Excursions Bulletin Board. It is accessible from the Calendar web page.
I need your feedback, your opinions, your advice. What components of the course help you to understand the material? What components are missing that would help your understanding? Let me know.
Send me your eMail address -- immediately!
By Friday, June 14, please post an autobiography on the Bulletin Board.
When you finish the exam, please send me an eMail note (DDavis@eiu.edu)
telling me that you did, indeed, take the exam withOUT help of notes, books,
WebCT seems to be working pretty well. However, PLEASE write
down your answers and save them -- just in case there is a problem and we
need to reconstruct your answers. This is just a precautionary backup.
Please browse around the
Exam site early just to see if everything is working as it should. It
is much easier to take care of problems now that on December 12. Just go
to the site and look around and let me know if you have any problems.
Please let me know ifyou have any problems.
Your WebCT signon name is your EIU eMail account name. It is something like cuxyz if your initials are xyz. Or, it might by cuxyz3 if there are a lot of xyz's on campus.
(C) 2003, Doug Davis; all rights reserved