Course Info and Weekly Notices PHYS 201 Fall 2018 Sections 501 -- 505 MWF 10:20

Last updated 1/3/2018.

I will post notices and course information on this page.
  1. My office is Rm 315 in the Mitchell Physics Building (same building as where the class meets). The office phone number is 458-7908. A good way to contact me is via email:

  2. The required textbook for PHYS 201 this semester is College Physics Vol. 1 10th ed by Young, Admas and Chastain. You MUST either get the version of the book with Modified Mastering Physics or else purchase Modified Mastering Physics separately (online). Mastering Physics must be for the 10th edition. Homework is done using Mastering Physics and counts as part of your course grade.

  3. There is no printed lab manual for PHYS 201 this semester. Labs will be done using WebAssign. You will have to purchase access for WebAssign, but there is a free trial period. The URL for Webassign is You will login using your NetID and password. A separate link on the course web page gives more info about Webassign labs.

    Each lab has three parts: Prelab, Inlab, and Postlab. You do the Prelab individually and it is due 15 minutes before the start of recitation on the day the lab will be done. The Inlab is done during the lab period. It is done in groups of 2 or 3 and all results are entered into Webassign and are graded immediately. The Postlab is done individually after the lab period is over and is due 30 minutes before the start of the next week's recitation.

  4. If you must miss a recitation and lab for a valid reason, the best thing to do is to attend another section that same week. It is best to attend one of the sections that belongs to my lecture (sections 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, and 506). All the section times are listed on the lab schedule. If you attend another section, tell that lab TA which section you belong to.

  5. Homework will be entering using the Mastering Physics system. You will access Mastering Physics through eCampus.

    There are assignments for each week that count for your homework grade. The Week 1 etc. assignments consist of the problems (including the Multiple Choice Problems) that are listed for week 1, etc. on the syllabus. The problems on Mastering Physics are identical to the end-of-chapter problems in the textbook, except that often in Mastering Physics one of the numbers given in the problem is changed so each student will have an individualized problem and your answers won't be correct for someone else's Mastering Physics. The homework should be done and entered on Mastering Physics weekly. The due dates for each assignment are given in Mastering Physics. After the homework due date you can't enter any answers for credit for those assignments.

    There is also an introductory assignment about using Mastering Physics that is optional and that isn't graded.

    In addition to the end-of-chapter problems there are one or two Tutorial Problems assigned for almost every class period. They are due by the start of the next class. The intent is for you to read the sections in the textbook listed for that class period and then do the assigned Tutorial Problesm, before class. The Tutorial Problems have hints that you can open for help in doing the problems. You can also ask questions about the Tutorial Problems in class. The Tutorial Problems count towards your homework grade. It is VERY important to study the sections covered each class period BEFORE class and the Tutorial Problems help you do this. These problems are due at the start of the following lecture period but they should at least be attempted before the lecture for which they are assigned. For example, the assignment Tutorial for Sept.6 should be attempted before the Sept 6 lecture and must be completed before start of lecture on Sept 8. An exception is the tutorial problems for the first week that aren't due until Sept 6. The title of the tutorial assignment indicates which day's class it applies to.

    There are also some prelecture videos and video demos assigned. They are due before the start of the class for which they are assigned. These short videos will give you an introduction to what will be talked about in class. Accompanying each of them there are a few simple multiple choice questions that are part of the graded homework.

    Let me know if there are any problems with Mastering Physics, especially if you think there are errors.

  6. If you are having problems with viewing assignments on Mastering Physics, click on the System Requirements link at the bottom of the Welcome Screen. This link talks about browser settings (must enable popups etc.) and other computer system issues.

  7. When doing homework on Mastering Physics, avoid rounding in intermediate steps. Keep at least 4 significant figures in intermediate calculations and round to 3 significant figures for the answer you input. Also, if you are working with angles in degrees, be sure that your calculator is set to degrees, not to radians. For the Multiple Choice Problems you are penalized for each incorrect attempt. For the Problems, you are allowed up to four attempts for each answer. For Problems no penalty for wrong answers is assessed until you use up all your attempts.

  8. I encourage you to use email ( as a means of communicating with my about any problems concerning the course: questions about the material from lecture, about the homework problems, or about the course administration.

Lewis Ford
Physics Department
Texas A&M University
send email to Lewis Ford