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Course Expectations - PH426

Items in blue italics are changes from the PH424 Course Expectations.

Lab Safety and Care of Equipment

Be safe in your lab work. Although many of the experiments have no potential dangers associated with them, some experiments do. We'll point out what you need to do work safely, and we'll expect you to follow the safety precautions.

Take care of the lab equipment. Your lab equipment has been sent to you. You're responsible for taking care of the equipment and shipping the lab kit back at a time to be specified near the end of the course or, if you drop the course, within a few days of your drop date.

Academic Honesty Policy

Students are expected to be scholars. A scholar has a mindset of independence in his/her academic endeavors. While the scholar uses a variety of sources for information and ideas, he/she references those sources as contributions to his/her work. A scholar does not claim credit for work not their own. If, in your work in this course, you obtain assistance from people or sources other than your textbook, the teacher, and the course website, you're expected to acknowledge that assistance in writing.

Below, we provide specifics and examples for three types of course work: tests and quizzes, problem assignments, and labs.

Tests and Quizzes

It is a violation of your academic honesty to give or receive information to or from others during a test or quiz or to use unapproved sources of information. It is also a violation to give or receive information about a test or quiz before all students have taken it. On tests you'll sign an honesty pledge to the effect that you will uphold the Academic Honesty Policy. 

Problem Assignments

On problem assignments, make an earnest effort to solve problems by yourself before asking for help from physics instructors, tutors, or your classmates. Unless stated otherwise, we expect you to do all writing independently of other students. Here are examples of academic honesty violations related to problem assignments.

  • Asking another student to share their homework file or paper, viewing another student's homework file or paper, or providing your homework file or paper to another student before the assignment has been graded are academic honesty violations.
  • Sharing screen shots of your work with other students or viewing screen shots provided by students before the assignment has been graded are academic honesty violations.
  • Working with another student in doing WebAssign assessments, including viewing another student's responses on the computer is an academic honesty violation.

Laboratory Work and Reports

You may occasionally work with other students in carrying out experiments. On labs for which you write joint reports, we expect each member of the lab group to participate fully in the preparation of the report and to be familiar with all aspects of it. On labs for which individual reports are written, we expect you to do all writing and all calculations independently of other students (including your partner). Here are some examples of academic honesty violatons related to lab work.

  • When the lab is one that requires independent work: Using another student's data or analysis or allowing your own to be used is an academic honesty violation.
  • When the lab requires joint work with a partner: Not participating equally in the parts of the lab requiring joint work is an academic honesty violation.
  • For all hands-on labs requiring equipment set up and data collection: Fabricating data rather than actually setting up the equipment and collecting data as per the lab instructions is an academic honesty violation.


Consequences for academic honesty violations may include any or all of the following.

  • No credit for the assignment
  • A deduction applied to the student's Commitment score
  • Appearance at an academic dishonesty hearing in front of school officials and any resulting sanctions
  • Sanctions from your home school

Attendance Policies

The teacher expects you to check the course home page daily for the announcements and the weekly schedule. This is your guide to what you should be doing on a daily basis.

Time commitments:

A time commitment to this course of an average of 90 minutes per day, 7 days a week, is expected. That's about 10 hours per week. It's crucial that you distribute your work over the week. Once you fall behind, it's difficult to catch up. If you've chosen to take this course in addition to a full load of courses, then it is more important than ever to make sure you schedule sufficient time each day to do your work.

The live class sessions in web conferences are given in the course description. Attendance is required.

Inform the teacher when you're absent or know that you will be absent.

  • For unanticipated absences (for example, illness or family emergency): As soon as possible,  send a message to the teacher giving the reason for your absence and requesting a makeup schedule. The teacher may request verification from your school or parents. By contacting the teacher promptly, you'll be able to arrange for an extension of due dates.

  • For anticipated absences: If you will be absent for several days on a trip, notify the teacher at least a month in advance, so that your assignment schedule can be modified as needed for work to be submitted on time. In such situations, most assignments are submitted prior to the absence. Thus, you need plenty of time to double up on homework in advance of such an absence. If the anticipated is only for a day or two, a 1-week advance notification of the teacher is sufficient but more is recommended.

About WebEx attendance

Attendance at all Tuesday evening WebEx sessions and the two Sunday sessions is required unless notified otherwise by the teacher. See the Course Outline for the dates of the Sunday sessions.

Submitting Assignments

Due Times for Assignments

  • The default due time for WebAssign and BrainHoney assignments is 11:59 PM on the due date. Preparatory assignments for evening WebEx sessions will typically be due at 8:00 PM the day of the session.

  • Technical problems are typically not acceptable reasons for submitting homework late. Since the course schedule is published a week or more in advance, students are expected to plan ahead and start assignments at least 24 hours before the due date.

  • There are certain key assignments and labs that are prerequisite to later assignments and labs. Prerequisite assignments must be submitted before dependent assignments are accepted for evaluation. An example is a lab experience that includes preliminary assignments such as a prelab and submission of the original data page. The preliminary assignments must be completed and submitted satisfactorily before the final lab report will be accepted for evaluation. Failing to submit a preliminary assignment on time may result in dependent assignments incurring late penalties.

  • The test schedule for the semester is posted in the Course Outline. Tests must be taken on the scheduled dates unless alternate arrangements are made a week in advance with the teacher and the student's test proctor.

  • Due dates are for students who have not missed work due to excused absences. Extensions may be arranged for the latter.

File Naming Convention

All files that you submit must be named in the form assignmentcode-lastnamefirstinitial.ext, where you replace 'assignmentcode' with  the letter and number of the assignment (for example, E07), and you replace 'lastnamefirstinitial' with your last name and initial of your first name. Separate the assignment code and the lastname with a hypen (not an underscore, period, or other symbol). The extension (ext) will be determined by the type of file you're sending. Include no other characters in the file name. Here's an example of a correctly-named pdf document for Jane Doe who is submitting assignment E07: e07-doej.pdf.

A 5% penalty may be assessed on assignments that do not follow this naming convention.

Submitting Scanned Files

Some assignments will be hand-written. You're required to use a flat-bed scanner and produce pdf files for uploading to BrainHoney.

  1. In order to ensure that your writing is legible and viewable, write darkly with a soft-lead pencil or black felt-tip pen. Use a large, open font for greatest clarity. Leave 1-inch margins around the perimeter of the paper.

  2. Unless indicated otherwise in the assignment instructions, scan pages in portrait orientation so that they can be read when the file opens on the teacher's computer monitor.

  3. Keep file sizes down by scanning in grayscale, unless color is essential to present your work. A resolution of 150 dpi is sufficient. If you are unable to get files down to a reasonable size (a few megabytes or less), see these links for a compression option: http://compress.smallpdf.com or http://convert.neevia.com/pdfcompress/.

  4. Scan all the pages of an assignment to a single pdf file. Most scanner software will scan to a pdf. Look for the save options in your scanner software. If you don't have a pdf option, then you can scan pages as images and then paste the images into successive pages of a Word document. Then print the Word document as a pdf. See the Software page for information on software to create pdf documents.

  5. Name the file according to the course file-naming convention. Make sure the the filename has a pdf extension. Macs may leave this off by default, so you may have to add it to the filename. Without the extension, BrainHoney may not allow the file to be downloaded.

  6. Before uploading your file to BrainHoney, open it and check to make sure that all pages are present in the correct order and orientation, that the writing is clear, and that none of the writing is cut off on the edges.

  7. On rare occasions when you don't have a working flat-bed scanner available, the teacher may allow you to submit images from a cell phone or camera. Such use must be cleared in advance with the teacher. Scans are superior to photographs for producing sharp, distortion-free, and evenly-lit images.

  8. Do not submit files by email to the teacher, unless you've requested and received prior approval from the teacher.

  9. If you don't prepare your files as described above, you may be asked to resubmit your file and a late penalty may be applied.


Course Materials

Keep your course resources and tools handy.  Of course you need a computer. It will be best if you can use the same computer at school (or at home) every day. That way, you'll have access to the software that you need. Additional materials you need besides the usual paper, notebook, and writing instrument are the following:

  • Textbook: Physics, 3rd edition, James S. Walker (ISBN: 0-13-196067-9)
  • Flat-bed scanner: This is needed to scan paper homework for uploading to the LMS.
  • Headset (with microphone): This is needed for web conferencing sessions.
  • Hand calculator:  Calculators may be used on tests, and they're also handy for labs. While a smartphone app would substitute for lab calculations, you're not allowed to use a phone while taking a test (or the AP exam, for that matter). Therefore, you need a hand calculator dedicated to that purpose.


A function that a traditional classroom provides is discussion with other students and the teacher. That function can still occur in an online course, although it works a bit differently. The teacher will set up electronic discussion forums for you to ask questions and get feedback from other students and the teacher. Unlike a face-to-face discussion, you can't expect immediate replies to your postings. However, since all the postings are recorded, you can read them at your convenience. 

Study Tip.  Use the discussion boards to ask questions of the class.  That way, the entire class becomes a resource rather than just the teacher. In addition, if you find mistakes in the course materials, please post those, too. That will help to clear confusion that students may be having.
If you need to communicate privately with the teacher, use email. The teacher will answer your emails typically within 12 hours (24 on weekends) and expects the same promptness in replies from you. This means you need to read your email a few times a day. The teacher will also provide you with a mobile number that you can use if your internet access is down. Please limit communication by phone/text to such situations.

Network/Internet/Software Issues

If you don't have internet access for whatever reason, you can still do physics. You should have already printed a copy of the week's schedule, so you can proceed to work on textbook assignments that don't require internet access.

Inform the teacher promptly if your hardware or software doesn't work. There are several plug-ins and applications that you must have in order to do the online assignments. If these aren't installed on your computer or aren't working correctly, it's up to you to request help. Don't use technical problems as an excuse not to work on the course. Move on to other assignments that don't require the missing or malfunctioning software.

Go on to the next page for study tips.

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