Online reading assignment: course policy, units

Physics 205A, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on the course policy/syllabus, and on introductory textbook chapters (Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Chs. 1.4-1.6) on SI units and dimensional analysis.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or syllabus flashcard questions, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"The three lowest quiz scores will be dropped."

"No + or - in grading scale."

"The final was worth 100 point max. Usually finals are worth more points."

"One could earn less than 90% in the class and have an A."

"It takes three skipped labs in order to fail the class."

"If someone misses an exam with an acceptable excuse they will be given a replacement grade using the mean of the class on that grade."
(The above comment is a misinterpretation of the course policy on a replacement grade for an excused missed exam. A replacement grade is generated relative to the class mean as calculated by the student's score on the other exams relative to the class mean.)
"In section 1.6 it says not to add 3 meters to 2 kilograms. Why would anybody try to do that?"

"A lot of this is review from the chemistry courses that I just completed but I decided to still take the time and read through the assignment carefully as I may have got sloppy with my sig figs!"

"The metric system we use today was abbreviated using a French name. I mean, why was it French?"

"NASA destroyed a $125 million spacecraft due to a difference in the units used. I would have thought that they would double check that the units are both metric before moving on."

"Writing down the units of the quantity when working out an equation, this helps cancel out units and also helps with figuring out the correct unit at the end of the equation."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or syllabus flashcard questions, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"On the first question of the flashcard questions, I did not understand what the question was saying because the way I am reading it, there are multiple answers."

"If homework is not graded how do I know I got the answer right?"

"Are there answers to the practice problems that follow the examples?"

"Where are the answers to the multiple choice questions and other questions assigned?"

"Are laptops acceptable if you're using them to take notes?"

"I found the dimensional analysis to be very confusing to me, I think mainly because i haven't done something like that in a long time."

"I found it odd that in the textbook, I could not find the common conversion factors. The book said that they would be on the inside of the front cover, but I could not find them."

"As we know .1 is one tenth and .01 is one hundredth, shouldn't that 0 be important because it shows that it is smaller by another factor of 10? I know that there is 1 sig. fig. in both, but understanding I just feel, I have a hard time grasping it."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"As I was reading over the extra credit section in the syllabus I couldn't find a description of what the extra credit would look like just that there would be some rounding. Is the rounding the extent of the extra credit or are there assignments as well?"

"Maybe a bit of review on conversions and a few practice problems."

"When posting homework assignments, write the date they are due instead of just 'before next lecture.'"

"I don't have anything to ask or comment on. :/"

"Why are we using this waiferx.com/Physics website and not myCuesta.edu?"

"Is there a lab book that goes along with this class?"

"Where did the nickname P-dog come from? There has to be a good story there."

"What's a song you always crank up when it comes on the radio?"

"What is your favorite type of music?"

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