Course Syllabus

Phy 2053 Course Syllabus

Course Details

Course Instructors

The primary instructors for this course are

  • Prof. Amlan Biswas, and 
  • Prof. Tarek Saab

Additionally there will be 8 teaching assistants available to help you during your discussion sections and at office hours.

The office hour schedule and contact information for the instructors and teaching assistance can be found in this page: Instructors and Office Hours.

Communication with the instructors: Only messages through the official course e-Learning mail tool are guaranteed a response. Your instructors receive tons of spam e-mails at their ufl accounts so direct e-mails there have a very high likelihood of being missed. If you have an emergency in which you absolutely cannot access the e-Leaning site and you need to e-mail the instructors directly, to have a hope of getting a response, you MUST send the e-mail from your gator-link account (it is how we know you are who you say you are) and PHY2053 MUST appear in the subject line.


The course is run through Canvas. The web site for the course is accessed through UF e-Learning or directly at:

This site will contain important announcements, posted lectures, previous exams,  exam solutions, and course grades.


The required text is College Physics, by Paul P. Urone, Roger Hinrichs (openstax). ISBN: 978-1-938168-00-0.


High school algebra and trigonometry, or the equivalent.


This course is a first semester of algebra-based introductory physics (“Physics 1”). The topics covered include kinematics, Newton’s laws, circular and rotational motion, equilibrium, elasticity, energy, momentum, fluids, oscillations, waves, and sound. It is typically followed by a second semester course, PHY2054 (“Physics 2”), covering electromagnetism.


The purpose of this course is to provide you, the student, with a foundation in the concepts, fundamental principles, and analytic techniques needed to solve problems arising in the context of Newtonian mechanics. Examples include knowing how to calculate the maximum height of a projectile, the tension in a support beam, the velocity of an object after a collision, the pressure at a given depth in a fluid, and the resonant sound frequencies in an open pipe. The course is designed for people who have already had a basic introduction to physics in high-school or otherwise.


By the end of this course, students will have a solid foundation in the concepts, principles, terminology, and methodologies used to describe motion (translational, rotational and combined) of simple objects, the basic properties of matter, harmonic oscillations, and wave motion. Specifically, students will be able to:

  • Analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to those situations,
  • Apply fundamentals principles to formulate mathematical equations describing the relation between physical quantities in these particular situations,
  • Solve mathematical equations to find the values of physical quantities,
  • Communicate unambiguously both the principles that apply to a situation and the results of specific calculations resulting from the steps above.

Course Schedule

The detailed course schedule, including the topics covered, and exam dates is available at this page: Course Schedule.


Your grade is determined by your performance on the following in-class and out-of-class components: Online homework, online reading quiz, in-class HITT questions, in-class quiz, and exams. The points each of those components contribute to the total grade is shown in the following table:

Item Points Make-Up
Reading/Video Quiz 3 20%
H-ITT 2 20%
Total Course Points 100 NA
Exam 1 20 0%
Exam 2 20 0%
Exam 3 20 0%
Quizzes 30 0%
Homework 5 20%

Grading Scale

Your course grade will not be assigned based on a curve, but will be based on the following 100-point fixed scale:

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 <35

The advantage of the fixed scale is that you are not competing with other students to “get ahead of the curve”. Everyone who works hard can do well in the class, and to the extent that it helps you learn, we encourage collaboration.

Note: A grade of C- is not a qualifying grade for major, minor, Gen Ed, or College Basic distribution credit. For further information on UF's Grading Policy, see:

Make-up % (i.e. Forgiveness factor)

A combination of planned and unforeseen factors may cause student to miss some classes or discussion section, additionally, it is likely for most students to have a bad day or week (due any number of reasons) during the semester.  To accommodate this reality, we use a “Make-Up %” factor as a "make-up" policy  to accommodate all such circumstances that may arise throughout the semester which may hinder your performance in the online HW, reading quizzes, and HITT. We will add 20% of your total scores for these three items.


There are two during-term exams and a final exam. Each exam is worth 20 points (out of 100) of the total grade. There is no “Drop worst %” correction for exams. The date and time for each exam, and the chapters it covers are listed in the Course ScheduleExams will not likely take place in the lecture hall in the physics building. Room assignments where you will take an exam will be announced in the days leading up to the exam and posted on the course's eLearning page.

You should bring a calculator, #2 pencils, an eraser and your picture ID (preferably Gator One ID Card) to the exam. Calculators may not be shared and may not have electronic communications capability. Cell phones as calculators are not allowed.  Private formula sheets are not allowed. Use of either constitutes academic fraud.  Scratch paper and an official formula sheet for the exam will be provided.

During-term exams I and II will be assembly exams. In addition to these regular exam dates, there are also two conflict exam dates: conflict exam I (to take place on Oct 11, Periods E2/E3) and conflict exam II on (to take place on Nov 15, Periods E2/E3).  A student who will miss an assembly exam due to an exam conflict or any other foreseeable reason that is approved under UF attendance policies should request in advance to take the conflict exam instead of the regular exam. A student who has an unforeseeable absence from an exam should contact the instructor as soon as possible, normally within 24 hours after the missed exam. If the unforeseeable absence is excused by the instructor, the student will be expected to take the conflict exam unless they has another exam conflict or reason that is approved under UF attendance policies. The conflict exam will cover the same essential subject matter as the regular exam and in a similar format, although the exams will not be identical.

In-class Quizzes and Discussion Sections

Discussion (recitation) sections start the first week of classes (i.e. Monday, August 21st 2017). Quizzes start on Monday, August 28st, 2017. A quiz will usually be administered during the first 20 minutes of the second discussion section meeting of a week, i.e. MW discussion sections have quizzes on Wednesday.  TR have it on Thursday, and WF have it on Friday.  The first quiz is used to gauge the basic math skills of the class, and is not counted toward your final grade.  The remaining quizzes will be counted in your total quiz grade.

The quizzes will test how well you have learned the concepts and methods of the assigned homework problems. The quiz questions will be related to, but never identical to, the online homework problems. Within this course, two problems are considered to be effectively the same if the difference between the two are the values of input variables, or if they ask to solve for the same variable. The problems may be restructured to provide guidance, allow awarding of partial credit, and discourage memorization of a solution formula.

There will be two questions on each weekly quiz.  Each question part will be graded on a 2 point scale where 2 points will be awarded for a complete and correct solution (this requires showing the full work to obtain the answer), 1 point for a partial solution that shows a correct approach, and 0 points otherwise. You are expected to do the problems on your own, without any notes or other help (i.e. there are no outside formula sheets allowed for the quizzes!). In solving the homework, you can get help in discussion section, office hours, from tutors and from other students. In the end, however, you must have learned the methods needed to do the problems on your own.

You will be allowed to make-up a maximum of three missed quizzes provided that you have a valid documented excuse (e.g. medical note). The make-up quiz must be taken within 3 weeks of the missed quiz (not within 3 weeks of the request for approval of the makeup). There will be no make-up quizzes given after Friday, December 1st, 2017.  You have until Friday, December 1st, to request any re-grade or to question any grade discrepancy pertaining to the quizzes. The quiz portion of the course will count for 30 points (out of 100) toward the total grade. There is no “Drop worst %” correction for quizzes

Online Homework

The HW assignments for PHY2053 will be delivered through the ExpertTA website. Throughout the course, you can access ExpertTA via the links in the modules outlines each week. Before you begin your first week of work, you will need to register your ExpertTA account. Read this document for instructions on registering and using ExpertTA, then follow this link to set up your account.

Weekly homework sets will be due on Mondays at 11am (except for the case when a holiday occurs on that day) and will be open for a period of two weeks prior to the deadline. The homework sets will count for 5 points (out of 100) toward the total grade. There is a “Make-Up 20%” correction for the homework sets.

You should follow appropriate practices of academic honesty when working on the problems in ExpertTA.  In doing the online homework, discussions with colleagues and/or tutors about methods of posing and solving a homework problem are acceptable and encouraged. Using a formula that is specific to the problem, derived by someone else to input answers is considered cheating. Even if you worked through a formula with classmates, you will still benefit from re-deriving the result on your own. Some of the exam and quiz questions will be based on the homework problems, and you will not have the opportunity to get help from anyone else during those tests. Treat the homework as practice for the exams and quizzes: derive, on your own, any result that you submit. 

Online Reading Quizzes

Education research has shown that learning and retaining the material presented in a lecture is enhanced if the material as been reviewed (at least once) prior to the lecture. To that end, we have made available a series of pre-recorded video lectures (and examples) covering the range to topics that will be presented in this course. To encourage the viewing of this material, and the reading of the textbook PRIOR to the relevant lectures there will be an online reading quiz (in Canvas) due the day before a given chapter is first discussed in class (see the Course Schedule). The online reading quizzes will consist of a few basic/conceptual questions, whose answers can readily be obtained from the video lectures.

The online reading quizzes will count for 3 points (out of 100) toward the total grade. There is a “Make-Up 20%” correction for the reading quizzes.

In-class H-ITT

Each lecture will feature a few in-class H-ITT questions. These are intended to
a) encourage engagement with the material presented in the lecture (which has been shown to help with learning and retaining the material) and b) provide immediate feedback to both the instructor and the students as to the understanding of the newly presented material (thus promoting a relevant review by the instructor or questions by the students). The H-ITT questions sets will count for 2 points (out of 100) toward the total grade. There is a “Make-Up 20%” correction for the H-ITT questions. The in-class H-ITT questions begin to count on Tuesday September 5th, 2017. You should, however, get your remote sooner to participate in practice questions that will help you become familiar with the system before the questions start counting toward your grade points.

Participation requires that you purchase the H-ITT remote transmitter associated with the in-class student response system. Information on compatible remotes is found on the H-ITT Registration Survey. Responses made via this transmitter will be recorded. Correct responses are worth 2 points, and (to encourage participation) incorrect responses will be worth 1 point. Responding for other students (using their H-ITT remotes) is considered cheating by both parties.  

To get the credit for H-ITT points, you must register with the auditorium H-ITT system. To register, fill out the H-ITT Registration Survey at the earliest opportunity and follow the instructions on that page. It is your responsibility to purchase the correct model remote, to observe that your remote is functioning properly, and that you are sending on the correct channel (see HITT Registration Survey for link to instructions for setting the remote channel). It is recommended that you set the channel at the start of each lecture. Lights on the remote and the remote code appearing on-screen will indicate that your answer has been recorded in the system.

The percentage of total number of H-ITT point you earned (after accounting for the “Make-Up 20%”) will be multiplied by 2 to determine the total number of points towards your course grade.

How to succeed in this course

For tips and suggestions on how to approach this class and the appropriate amount of work required to master the topics we'll be covering see the page: How To Study For PHY2053

UF Policies

Attendance Policy

Please consult the official University Policy for Attendance, linked from the UF Registrar’s web site.

Academic Honesty

The UF Honor Code applies to all aspects of this course. It is required that you report any possible infractions to your instructor immediately.

Violations of the UF Honor Code, including any identified online homework related academic fraud, will be processed to the full extent of the Honor Code. If the Dean of Students Office confirms a first violation, the automatic minimum penalty will be a failing grade in the course. Otherwise, the student will be referred to the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. According to the Honor Code, a student who receives a course grade penalty is not permitted to withdraw from the course.

All University of Florida students are required to abide by the University's Academic Honesty Guidelines and by the Honor Code:

The Honor Pledge

We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied:

"On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Full documentation about the honor code can be found at the following link:

Accommodating Students With Disabilities

Students requesting classroom accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor (Dr. Biswas or Dr. Saab) when requesting accommodation. You will need electronic ATR forms for exams and for quizzes. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

More information about the Disabilities Resource Center can be found at

Other Information

Outside Help Services

The Teaching Center in Broward Hall (tel. 392-2010) offers a range of free services, including individual tutoring in physics.

Counseling and Mental Health Resources

Students facing difficulties completing the course or who are in need of counseling or urgent help should call the on-campus Counseling and Wellness Center  (352-392-1575;

Online Course Evaluation Process

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at


Course Summary:

Date Details