Course Syllabus


Course Overview

Course Code and Semester: Physics 10, Class Number 20241, Spring 2018
Course Description
: Elementary introduction to the field of physics: Mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, sound, optics, and modern physics. (Satisfies COA AA/AS area 1; CSU area B1; IGETC area 5A)
Recommended Preparation: Math 201 (elementary algebra) and Math 202 (geometry)

Who should take this course?

  • Non-science major students who need to satisfy a physical science without lab requirement.
  • Intended physics and engineering major students, if they have no prior exposure to physics (high school physics class or general knowledge) and/or if they are not ready to take Physics 4A yet.
  • Students who want to see all the topics covered in study of physics in one semester.

If you need to satisfy "physical science with lab" requirement, this course may not be for you (yet; we are designing a Physics 10L to go with this class soon). Please check with your transfer institution, if you are not using this course to satisfy IGETC or CSU GE requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Using written language, students explain and discuss the physics concepts listed in the course content, and apply them to everyday phenomena and interdisciplinary examples.
  2. Students apply simple formulas to calculate measurable quantities that describe the physical environment related to the concepts of physics.
  3. Students explain and discuss physical principles underlying classroom demonstrations.

Instructor Information

self-Oct-2017-sq.jpg Hi! My name is Andrew Park. The best way to contact me is by email. My Peralta email address is (if necessary, you can also contact me by my personal address, You will hear from me regularly throughout the semester, usually through the Course Announcements (but if you have been falling behind, I might reach out to you individually through the Canvas Conversations tool). If you need to talk (rather than write) to me, please see office hour information below.

Office Hours

Face-to-face office hours are held in Room 100 at Peralta Science Annex (street address: 860 Atlantic Ave., Alameda, CA). The hours are (tentatively): Monday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 6 to 7 p.m., and Friday 1 to 3 p.m. 

Online office hours are held through ConferZoom. You can find me in my personal meeting room during my office hours. In addition, I will be available on workspace set up for College of Alameda physics students on Sign up at using your Peralta email address (I will be available for chat at various hours, but in particular during the office hours).

Course Materials

All course materials are provided or linked through the course Canvas page. Log into to access them.

physics-of-everyday-phenomena.pngThere is one required course material that you need to purchase for the semester, and that is the access to Connect website, operated by McGraw-Hill, publisher of the textbook for this class, The Physics of Everyday Phenomena. Detailed registration instruction is provided within the course materials (see Modules). The access for the semester costs about $50, and it includes access to the eBook version of the textbook.

All other materials are free of charge or are optional, such as a print version of the textbook (if you need a print version of the textbook, I recommend that you get a used older edition---an edition as old as 6th edition is O.K. for this use).

Important Notes


There will be three midterm exams (Exams 1, 2, and 3) and one comprehensive, cumulative final exam. There are both in-person ("Option A") and online ("Option B") options for the midterms and the final exam. All students are recommended to choose the in-person option whenever possible (Option A exams are most similar to other exams that you may be familiar with already), but online options are available for those students whose work, academic, or other personal situation makes it difficult for them to take the exam in person. Exams account for 60% of your grade.

ADA Accommodation

Students who may need accommodation for their disabilities are encouraged to contact Disabled Students Program and Services (available in Room D-117 or by phone, 510-748-2328) as soon as possible in the semester so that reasonable (and legally-mandated) accommodations may be made. Usual accommodations made include extended exam time and/or transcription service. Most students with a diagnosed learning disability (such as ADHD or ADD) are eligible. If you are not sure whether you are eligible, please check with a DSPS counselor. The details regarding the nature of your disability are confidential and not shared with your instructor.

Instructor's personal note: In my experience, many students who should have utilized DSPS service do not use them and suffer consequences academically. The goal of DSPS (and ADA in general) is that you should be judged on your ability, not disability. For those students who are eligible, DSPS accommodation is what will help you express your full potential (not a special treatment or something to be stigmatized against).
Talk to a DSPS counselor today; the worst that can happen is they will tell you you are not eligible and you wasted a little bit of time.

Tutoring and Academic Support

Physics tutors are usually available in Tutorial Center in the Math Lab on the 2nd floor of the Learning Resources Center (LRC). Register for the free COA course, Learning Resources LRNRE 501, 24 hours in advance of using any tutoring services. Physics tutoring is also available at MESA center in Room 125 in 860 Atlantic Ave., or online through UpSwing.

Tips for Success in Physics 10 Online

Follow these advices to maximize your chance of success in this class.

First, here's a little bit on my grading approach. My goal in grading is to reward two things: (1) the effort you put into this class, and (2) your understanding and knowledge of physics. For those just wanting to pass this class, I have a good news: my goal is to pass every student who stays engaged with the course to the end of the semester, and last time I failed was before a big refresh of course materials (the refresh of course materials was so that I wouldn't fail again). But what about those who want to get a B or an A in this class?

Here's what I recommend for those who want to put in the effort:

  • First, realize that this online class requires more self-discipline and integrity, as well as a level of comfort with technology, than face-to-face classes do. Set aside a time weekly to work on the assigned readings and problems, and be proactive in contacting me if you have any issues with Canvas or Connect, or any other technologies being used for the class. (Read more: Orientation to Online Learning)
  • Second, make sure the line of communication is open. Most course announcements are made through Canvas Announcement. Check your Notification settings to make sure you receive timely notifications.
  • Lastly, make use of all the resources being made available in the course. To make up for the lack of face-to-face interactions, lecture videos (short; they are summaries, not full-length lectures) are posted on Canvas, and peer-graded essay assignments are designed around multimedia learning material.

I believe it is possible not only for every one of you to pass this class but also for everyone to do so with a grade of B or better---all that is needed is for you to have a little bit of self-discipline and to put in a consistent effort.

Calendar and Assignments

This online course syllabus is hosted on Canvas which makes the calendar and assignments for the whole semester available to you at one glance. Please look on your right for the calendar of assignments and course events (or go to your Canvas Calendar), as well as weighting of assignments for your course grade. Please look below for summary of course assignments. Fine-letter details are below---I encourage you to read through them (this is our contract for the semester), but I will remind you of anything that is important.

The Fine Print - Course Policies

Please read on for the full listing of course policy. If you would rather skip it, that is fine; I will remind you of anything that is important.

  • Registration: After the last day to register for classes (see Course Calendar), you must be registered in the class in order for you to receive credit. No students can be added after this date.
  • Attendance: This is an online class and no face-to-face class attendance is required. However, studentts who are not signed up on Connect by the end of first week will be dropped from class. Also, instructor may drop a student if the student misses an excessive number of assignments without excuse. (See pg. 31 of College of Alameda 2017-2019 catalog for the college policy on attendance for face-to-face classes, which this is modeled after.)
  • Academic Integrity: Everything you turn in must be your own work. If you use sources other than the textbook, please clearly cite it and give credit where it is due. Allowing another student to copy your own work also constitutes academic dishonesty. Please refer to pg. 237-246 of College of Alameda 2017-2019 catalog for the college policy on academic dishonesty and possible disciplinary measures.
  • Schedule Subject to Change: Assignment and exam schedules are subject to change. Any changes will be announced through Canvas.
  • Late Assignments: All assignments are due on the date noted on Canvas and/or Connect. Contact the instructor for any extensions on assignments. Please note that peer-graded assignments on Canvas cannot be extended (for logistic reasons); Exams will be extended only in rare circumstances arising out of a situation beyond the student's control.
  • Option A Exam Proctoring in Your City/TownOnly for students living too far away to reasonably travel to Alameda for in-person exam. You can arrange for an authorized person (usually a teacher at your school or an instructor at your local community college) to proctor the exam. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible to make the arrangement; it usually takes a week for the arrangement to be set up the first time.
  • Option B Final Exam Format: In order to ensure security of the exam, if you choose to take the final exam as Option B (online option), the exam will take the form of an oral exam. We will schedule a 2-hour video chat during the finals week, and this video chat itself will be the exam (the video chat will be recorded for record retention purposes). If you have not taken an oral exam in the past, you can think of it like a very long interview, where instead of trying to decide if you are good fit for a job position, I am trying to determine how much physics you understand.
  • Allowed/Prohibited Items during Option A Exam:
    • Allowed: calculators without communication capability, limited notes (one page for midterms and one double-sided sheet for final exam), paper-bound foreign language dictionaries, writing instruments (pencil and pen), and a water bottle.
    • Prohibited: communication devices of any kind (cell phones, pagers, etc.), electronic devices other than a calculator, English-to-English dictionaries or any other books including the textbook.
  • Allowed/Prohibited Items during Option B Exam (open book):
    • Allowed: calculators, foreign language dictionaries, any material that is provided in the context of course (in particular any material on Canvas or Connect websites), and the means used to access the online exam.
    • Prohibited: any outside help, including but not limited to: (a) an individual providing help during the exam, (b) external websites, unless they are used purely for calculation function, and (c) external references, either in digital or paper-bound format, other than those allowed above.
  • Holistic Grading Rubric: A holistic grading scale is used for grading essay questions on the exam
    • 5 (out of 5 points possible): "Excellent understading." The student clearly understands underlying concepts; one or two minor reasoning mistakes can appear on a "5" solution, if they don't lead to larger conceptual errors.
    • 4: "Good understanding." The student understands the main concepts and problem-solving approaches but is missing one major concept, or made one major mistake that may involve conceptual misunderstanding.
    • 3: "Fair understanding." The student remembers some basic concepts but needs to include and integrate several additional major concepts in their reasoning.
    • 2: "Poor understanding." The student mentions some laws and principles from memory that may be relevant but shows little understanding of how they are relevant.
    • 1: "No understanding." The student writes down something that may (or may not) be relevant.
    • 0: "Blank." Blank answers.
  • Course Assignment Weights: assignments (including exams) count for your overall course grade in following proportions:
    • Connect Assignments: 20%
    • Essay Questions: 10%
    • Peer Reviews: 10%
    • Midterm Exams: 30%
    • Final Exam: 30%
  • Course Grading Scale: The letter grades are assigned following this course grade scale:
    • A: 85 to 100%
    • B: 70 to 85%
    • C: 50 to 70%
    • D: 40 to 50%
    • F: below 40%
    The instructor reserves the right to exercise discretion on the margins around this scale.
  • List of Topics: Textbook: The Physics of Everyday Phenomena by Griffith and Brosing We are skipping some sections but all chapters are covered, and most of the sections are covered in exams. The homework exercises and review problems are most indicative of the level of details at which each chapter is covered.

Course Summary:

Date Details