News


Course Information

I am very pleased to be teaching Introductory Mechanics in Spring 2018. I foster an active learning environment, in which students take direct ownership of the learning process. You will be immersed in physics learning: outside the classroom in readings, videos, and problem-solving; inside the classroom by learning how to setup and solve problems and engagement in the principles and implications of physics through experience with physical phenomena and inquiry-based learning, both at the individual and the group level.

For examples of how I teach, especially see my course pages on PHYS 1308 (Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism) and Honors Physics.

Quick Links

Instructor Quick Information

Prof. Steve Sekula
ssekula@smu.edu
Primary Instructor
Christopher Milke
cmilke@smu.edu
Teaching Assistant
Christina McConville
cmcconville@smu.edu
Teaching Assistant

May the dP/dt be with You!

I love physics. When I do physics research, or when I teach physics, it's a lot of fun for me. This video will give you a tiny taste of the sense of fun I have about these activities.

Teaser Trailer

A sneak preview of some of the fun we're going to have in this course!

Coordinates

Fondren Science 123 - Tue. and Thur. 9:30AM - 10:50AM

Syllabus

PHYS 1303 Course Syllabus

Learning System, Student Responses, and Textbook

Learning System


This course uses an excellent online system - WileyPLUS with Orion - for distributing homework, grading homework, and providing feedback on your performance in the course. Students who have used WileyPLUS have given high marks to the system. It is your responsibility to master the usage of the system, as it is the primary way in which you will submit your homework and self-assess your performance in the class. If you have any problems, contact the class instructor IMMEDIATELY.

Student Response System

In-class active feedback and learning will be facilitated through an openly accessible application. This system should come at no cost to the student and will enhance student engagement and participation during our limited, precious class time together. The selected system for this course is Poll Everywhere. Visit the the site and login or sign up for a free account. You will register with me using a procedure I send in email announcements or in class.

This response system will be used for real-time feedback regarding concepts and problem solving during in-class activities. It will also be used for quizzing. If you prefer a paper quiz, let me know - these will always be available upon request.

Textbook

Required: Halliday, Resnick, Walker. "Fundamentals of Physics Volume I" (10th edition with WileyPLUS and Orion).

Helpful Links:

Written and Submitted Material Policy

PHYS 1303 Course Policy for Submitted Material: this document clearly outlines the required format of your written homework and in-class assignments, guidelines on writing clear solutions to problems, and guidelines on challenges to grading. The guidelines for answer quality and presentation apply to the exams as well, so please read these carefully and use the homework to practice.

General Information

Instructor Office Hours:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, from 1:00pm-2:30pm in The Varsity in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. (The Varsity is the open seating area across from the food court in the basement of HTSC)

(time outside of office hours must be formally requested)

Teaching Assistant(s): Chris Milke and Christina McConville
Teaching Assistant-led Help Session(s):

  • Wednesday, 5-7pm, FOSC 123
(time outside of these help session hours can be formally requested in writing to the teaching assistant)

Grade Composition:

Your grades will be available from Canvas, which is only used for this course to securely report grade information. The link to our Canvas course is here:

https://smu.instructure.com/courses/45100

Grade information is not updated continuously. Typically, grade information is updated around the time of an exam. If you ever want to know your grade at any other time, all you need to do is ask. Please note that the final grade is composed as shown below, but as we go through the course we only incrementally complete each section of the grade (e.g. Homeworks may be worth 15% of your final grade, but 1/3 of the way through the course we have only completed about 1/3 of the homework, so it's worth (1/3)*(15%)=5% of your incrementally computed grade).

  • Reading Assignments and Reading Quizzes (10%) - every class, intended to track first learning from reading and video lectures, assess conceptual progress, and gauge class participation
  • Homework (15%) - issued about once per week, with the intention that you begin to learn to solve problems on your own time, together or in groups
  • In-class Exams (45%, 15% per exam) - to assess individual learning and problem-solving skills:
    • First In-Class Exam: Thursday, February 22, 2018 (Incremental)
    • Second In-Class Exam: Thursday, March 22, 2018 (Incremental)
    • Third In-Class Exam: Thursday, April 19, 2018 (Incremental)
  • Final Exam (30%): Thursday, May 10, 2018 08:00-11:00 (Comprehensive) - to assess complete synthesis of information from the course

Online Resources

The Making of PHYS1303 Spring 2018

Believe it or not, we had a lot of fun in the spring 2018 semester of Physics 1303. Here's a short film showing some of the fun we had.