Course Syllabus

Spring 19   PHY2053L - Physics 1 Laboratory 

Instructor: Dr. Shawn Weatherford

Instructor Information

Instructor Dr. Shawn Weatherford
Office Location New Physics Building 2142
Office Phone Number (352)392-8747
Office Hours F 2:00-3:00
Email contact policy

Contact using Canvas email (Conversations). You may expect a response within 24 hours during weekdays.

Your instructor will post an announcement during times when he is out of reach.

Course Description

The PHY2053L UF Online course offers students the experience to complete individual investigations remotely, using the same data acquisition techniques and data analysis as students in campus-based sections. Each student will build the experimental apparatus from materials required for purchase, and utilize a sensor cart to collect data for further analysis. Collaboration with lab partners is required during the sense-making stage of the analysis. Some labs will differ from the campus-based sections due to cost of apparatus, although care is taken to match the learning outcomes between alternate investigations.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills: Basic algebra and trigonometry; manual dexterity for performing experimental procedures. 

Credits: 1 credit

Purpose of Course

The purpose of this lab course is to provide students with hands-on experiments that give them the opportunity to:

  • observe and make measurements on simple mechanical systems.
  • practice performing quantitative analysis of those measurements in order to discover or confirm relationships among the variables involved.
  • make predictions about similar systems and make measurements to check those predictions.
  • relate the measurements to physical principles in order to determine material constants such as mass density or to determine fundamental constants such as the acceleration due to gravity.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify quantitative and qualitative variables in an experimental investigation,
  2. Design procedures and carry them out to measure quantitative variables systematically,
  3. Graph and analyze those measurements via linearization and regression techniques, and
  4. Interpret analysis relative to proposed theoretical principles to determine material and physical constants of the theory.

Required Course Materials

This course consists of hands-on lab experiments that complement PHY2053L.  Students are required to purchase a custom lab materials kit consisting of an IOLab cart and other items to complete 10 labs.

Here are your available purchasing options:

Direct from eScienceLabs:

You can avoid the bookstore markup by going to the eScience Labs website and create an account, then search for the custom kit code by clicking on the link "Have A Code" and search for "Kit2400." Add the kit pictured below ($235.00) to the cart and complete the checkout process.

Screenshot from eScienceLabs of the custom kit: KIT2400


Purchase a Kit from UF Bookstore:

Search for the PHY2053L - 18869 required materials at the bookstore website. There you have two options: Purchase a physical kit or purchase a redemption code. The physical kit ($355.00) will get shipped to you from the bookstore. The redemption code ($378.75) will be mailed to you, which you can then type into the website for obtaining the correct kit, which will then be shipped from Colorado. 

STUDENTS WAITING FOR FINANCIAL AID DISBURSEMENT: It typically takes a week or more into the beginning of the semester for financial aid to be disbursed to student accounts. DO NOT WAIT until the disbursement to order materials. You may utilize the UF BOOKSTORE DEFERRED PAYMENT PROGRAM (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to order materials before the disbursement of your financial aid. See the link above for details.

More information, including a video walk through, for obtaining kit materials is available here.

Canvas Information

Canvas is the where course content, grades, and communication will reside for this course.

  • For Canvas, Passwords, or any other computer-related technical support contact the IT Service Desk.
    • 123 123-1234
    • 877 878-8325

Course Policies

Attendance Policy: This course is completely remote, but your “attendance” is still important! Because this course is an application course, collaboration with your peers and professor is integral to your success. Timely and engaged responses to discussions and lab work will make the experience easier for everyone.  If you wait to the last minute, you may find that help is harder to find.

Make-up Policy:  Generally, all lab work including, IOLab data collection and discussion, and completed lab questions are due on Sundays at 11:59pm. Acceptance of late work is consistentwith university policies that can be found at

For a foreseeable absence, it is your responsibility to identify yourself as requiring an accommodation at least one week prior to the absence.

Course Technology:  This course will be offered through the University of Florida’s LMS, Canvas. Students will also be required to install the IOLab software.  Students will be required to use Microsoft Excel to process data. 

Lab Group Policy:  Students will be assigned lab partners by the instructor to assist with the completion of each lab. Your lab partners may consist of a subset of the class, or consist of all students in the class, and will be selected at your instructor’s discretion. Students may collaborate in the experimental setup by offering tips and suggestions, but each student must collect his or her own data using the materials found in the lab kit. The process of analyzing and making sense of the gathered data and the experiment are expected to be collaborative. Students will turn in individual assignments and use the discussion boards for all group communication about labs. Lab group communication is expected to be frequent throughout each week and will be evaluated based on the quality of your substantive contributions to the discussion.

University Policies

University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities: Students requesting accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, by providing appropriate documentation. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

University Policy on Academic Misconduct:  Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University community. Students should be sure that they understand the UF Student Honor Code at

In context of this course, academic misconduct includes falsely representing the work of others as your own, reusing prior submitted work and submitting it during this term, manipulating raw data to align with expected results, using the responses of other students without attribution, and other actions which violate the understanding that submitted work is representative of your own thinking and reasoning on questions asked while completing the assigned work.

**Netiquette: Communication Courtesy:  All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats. Discussion board posts are to remain on topic, and any off-topic discussions may be removed by the moderator.

COURSE EVALUATION:course by completing online evaluations at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three 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

ATTENDANCE AND MAKE-UP POLICY: Excused absences and allowances for make-up work are consistent with university policies in the undergraduate catalog ( require appropriate documentation.


Your overall course grade will be determined by your performance on each of the labs and on your participation within your lab group. There are no exams in this course.


You will complete 10 labs, each worth a total of 10 points. These points may be divided among submissions of data, excel workbooks, and postings to the discussion board. You will submit evidence of completing the lab in order to earn these points according to your performance and success on presenting the following laboratory elements:

Setup and data acquisition: Showing diligence in setting up apparatus, carrying out suggested procedures and measurements, and collecting raw data.  This will be evaluated by the quality and completeness of raw data sets collected and by the display of this data in tables including their physical units, or plots displaying data collected with the IOLab cart. All data submitted must come from your investigations alone. Students may not use data from other classmates or sources without the explicit approval from your instructor.

Data analysis: Showing how data is related to theory and its predictions. This will be evaluated from student’s construction of properly-labeled spreadsheet tables of theoretically-motivated derived quantities based on raw data and including units, making graphs and doing regression analysis, or other tools as instructed.

Conclusions: Showing an understanding of the physical laws involved and how they are applied.  This will be evaluated from interpretations of graphing and regression, from answers to comprehension questions and by making predictions and measurements to check those predictions. Practice academic honesty and attribute contributions of others (using names) when conclusions are informed by discussions involving other individuals.


High quality scientific discovery is often completed with colleagues, most of whom are located at different research labs across the world. This remote lab course provides students an authentic experience to collect their own data following a common procedure and use these data sets as a framework for making sense of the data and discussing scientific practice with colleagues. Since this class is small, think of everyone as your lab partner. 

Weekly discussion questions will accompany each lab to mediate this desired outcome of thoughtful discourse based on your experience completing laboratory exercises.

To begin discussions, each student is required to post certain data sets as described in the lab instructions or indicated in weekly announcements to the discussion board. This posting of data is due no later than 11:59pm on the Thursday before the lab is due.


Letter grades are assigned based on the total points awarded in the course. These points are indications of your achievement of the course-level learning objectives and are from the following experiences:

Completion of 10 labs                                                            10 points per lab

TOTAL                                                                                                 100points

Your course grade will not be assigned based on a curve, but based on a percentage of the earned points to the maximum points available. This 100-point fixed scale rounded to the nearest point:



























Wk #

Release Date

Lab #

Lab Name








Orientation and Introductions




Materials and Software Check, Uncertainty Prelab




Measurement and Uncertainty, Part 1



Measurement and Uncertainty, Part 2




Position and Velocity




Velocity and Acceleration




Passive Forces, Part 1




Spring Break




Passive Forces, Part 2




Acceleration and Force




Impulse and Momentum




Centripetal Acceleration




Simple Harmonic Motion




Standing waves and Resonance


Disclaimer:This syllabus represents my current plans and objectives.  As we go through the semester, those plans may need to change to enhance the class learning opportunity.  These changes will be communicated clearly via announcements on Canvas.

Course Summary:

Date Details