General Physics I (PH 101)
Spring 2004

Instructor: Andreas Piepke (202A Gallalee; 348-6066;
Graduate Assistant: Sergio Fabi (
Time and place: Lectures: Monday and Wednesday 10:00 to 11:50 until further notice in room 329 (Gallalee Hall). From January 26 on the class is in room 203.
Recitation: Friday 10:00 to 10:50 in the same location as the class
Office hours: 10:00 am to 12:00 am Tuesday. I have an open door policy. You may see me whenever I am in.
Graduate office hours: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Tuesday.
Text used: Giancoli, Physics (Fifth Edition)
Prerequisite: MATH 100
Credit: 4 hours
PH101 Web site:

Learning Objectives:

During this course, students should develop a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the description of motion and the nature of forces. The class will introduce concepts of momentum, energy, rotation, oscillations, the properties of fluids, heat, and waves. The students will develop their problem solving skills.

Class Format:

The course will emphasize fundamental concepts and problem-solving techniques in physics using interactive instruction, computer-based techniques, and cooperative learning. There will be no separate lab and lecture section. The course will be team taught by a faculty member (Piepke) and a graduate teaching assistant (). During classes on Monday and Wednesday (two hours each) there will be a mix of short lectures and group activities. The group activities will include lab experiments, mostly using the computer for data acquisition and analysis, and other short `exercises'. The exercises will consist of real-world problems and computer simulations. The one-hour Friday class will be a `recitation' devoted to problem solving.

Students are expected to find and print out their own copies of each activity before the class period. The manuals can be down-loaded from the web site of PH101. Students should not expect to be able to print out a copy in the classroom.


Problems are assigned weekly and are normally due before the recitation class meeting each Friday before 10:00 am. The deadline for submission of homewroks has been extended to Monday 3:00 pm. This gives the weekend after recitation to work on the homework. Late work will not be accepted. Every set of homework problems will count 10 points. The problem solutions must be submitted on the web using a program call BCA. You can access BCA using either Netscape or Internet Explorer using a PIN. The PIN for this class is: E-34WCWU8KG767Z. The PIN is case sensitive.
BCA will give you instant feedback on the correctness of your solution and students can resubmit solutions up to a maximum of five attempts. The numbers in the problem are different for each student and will be changed when a solution is resubmitted. The first Friday recitation session will be devoted to explain how to use BCA.

It is important to understand how to work a problem and not just check the boxes. Students must keep a notebook of how they work each problem and be prepared to turn this in for spot grading as requested. Although students may collaborate when working problems, each student must keep a record of problem solutions (not just answers) and should submit their own answers- based on the particular numbers in their problems.

It is essential that you read the textbook, as the lectures will not cover all the material. As an incentive for reading the text, you will be required to answer one question about the reading before each class period. These questions will also be on BCA, and will be due by the start of class. All questions will count the same.

Attendance and Makeup Policy:

Students are expected to attend the classes. Regular attendance is a crucial element in being able to pass the exams. Studies have shown a clear and direct correlation of attendance with grades. Short quizzes will be administered from time to time. The quiz grade will count towards the recitation grade.

No makeup of in-class work or exams will be given. If you have a legitimate reason for missing a major exam, then you must inform the instructor as soon as possible. If the reason is acceptable, then the final exam will count proportionately more. The two lowest grades on in-class exercises, and recitation work will be dropped. This will allow a limited number of missed classes regardless of the reason.


Three one hour exams will be administered: Friday, February 6 (10:00 to 10:50), Friday, March 12 (10:00 to 10:50), and Friday, April 23 (10:00 to 10:50). The comprehensive final exam is scheduled for Friday May 7 (11:30 am to 2:00 pm). All work must be done in pen. Any work in pencil will be discarded. The exams will be open book exams.


Homework problems will be submitted each Monday outside of class. In-class work will be collected at the end of each class period and will count as part of the course grade. Not all in-class work will be graded in detail. Occasionally, short (10 min) quizzes will be given based on in-class work done during the week and the most recently submitted problem assignment. Problem notebooks will be occasionally collected on Friday for spot-checking. Thus, class attendance is very important. There will be no makeup of missed class work. The two lowest activity and recitation grades will be dropped when computing the final course grade. There will be three one-hour exams and a comprehensive final exam. Each exam problem will be assigned a point value. Problems marked with a * are optional and will earn extra credit when correctly solved. 100% is calculated excluding the * problem.

Grading Policy

Letter Grade
Numerical Grade

(Min. percentage points)




Superior ability or attainment significantly beyond all minimum expectations (93%)






Good ability or attainment which meets and exceeds many minimum expectations (83%)






Ability or attainment which is acceptable and meets all minimum (required) expectations (73%)






Ability or attainment which does not meet all minimum (required) expectations (63%)




Attainment of some but not a number of important minimum expectations and is, thus, not appropriate for a minimum professional level of performance (0-59%).

Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to follow the Code of Student Conduct, as laid down by The University of Alabama. All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. In particular each student is expected to do his/her own work on quizzes and exams. Suspected violators of this policy will be referred to the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are encouraged to work together when studying and preparing for homework.

Disability Accommodations

To request disability accommodations, please contact Disability Services (348-4285). After initial arrangements are made with that office, contact Dr. Piepke.

Tentative Schedule:

A tentative class schedule can be found on the web (click here). It may be adjusted to keep both sections of PH101 synchronized.