Course Syllabus

Phy2053 Course Syllabus

Course Details

Course Instructors

Your Instructor: Ashkan Paykar

Office Hours: T/R, 6:30 - 7:30 pm (begins after class)

Classes and office hours are conducted through the same Zoom meeting room that can be found the Zoom Conferences tab.

Communication with the instructor: Please send messages through the Canvas inbox. I receive tons of e-mails through my UFL account so direct e-mails there have a higher likelihood of being missed.  If you have to e-mail me directly (e.g. because you cannot access Canvas), you MUST send the e-mail from your Gator-link account (it is how I know you are who you say you are) and PHY2053 should appear in the subject line.

Meet Times

This course will meet on MTWR at 5:00 - 6:05 PM (7th period) via Zoom. Student are expected to have video conferencing setup (video and audio) before the first class. The Zoom meeting can be accessed through the Zoom Conferences tab on Canvas.


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

This site will contain important announcements, posted lectures, access to assignments, homework solutions, answers to taken exams, and course grades


The required text (e-book) is College Physics: A Strategic Approach by Knight, Jones, and Field (4e).

You can acquire the e-book from UF All Access.  There is a pdf in the Files tab of the class with more information on how to do acquire it.

Suggested supplementary textbooks include:

  • College Physics: Openstax by Paul Urone and Roger Hinrichs
  • University Physics with Modern Physics by Young and Freedman (13e)
  •  Sterling Test Prep MCAT Physics Practice Questions (2019)


High school algebra and trigonometry, or the equivalent.


This course is the first semester of algebra-based introductory physics (“Physics 1”). The topics covered include kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion (dynamics), 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 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, you 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, you will be able to:

  • Analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to those situations,
  • Apply fundamental principles to formulate mathematical equations describing the relationship 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 on the Course Schedule folder in the Files tab.


Your grade is determined by your performance on the following in-class and out-of-class components: 4 exams, weekly quizzes, homework,  and in-class participation. The points these components contribute to the total grade is shown in the following table:

Item Percentage of Final Grade

Forgiveness Factor

Highest of Exams 1,2, and 3 20 0%
2nd Highest of Exams 1,2,3 20 0%
3rd Highest of Exams 1,2,3 15


Final 20 0%
Quizzes 10 10%
Participation 5 10%
Homework 10 15%
Total Course Points 100 NA

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:

Unconditional Forgiveness Factor

A combination of planned and unforeseen factors may cause you to miss some classes or discussion sections, additionally, it is likely for most of us to have a bad day or week (for any number of reasons) during the semester.  To accommodate this reality, we use a "forgiveness factor" to accommodate circumstances that may arise throughout the semester that may hinder your performance in the online HW, the quizzes, and class participation. The forgiveness factors are given in the table above. They are calculated at the end of the semester and mean that you can miss the stated percentage of work associated with that component, but still score 100% of the credit for it.  For example, with 64 pts available for quizzes and 10% forgiveness, a student with 50 pts would have earned 50/(0.9*64) = 86.8% (or 8.68 pts) for the quiz portion of their grade. A student cannot earn greater than 100%. There are 39 pts available for participation, so a student can miss up to 3 days without loss of participation points. Excused absences will be forgiven beyond the 3 days but will fill the student's unconditional forgiveness factor. Examples: A student with 5 excused absences and no unexcused would not be penalized. A student who misses 1 day unexcused and 8 days excused would be penalized 1 pt. A student who misses 2 days unexcused and 3 days excused, will be penalized (5 (days missed)-3.9(forgiveness)) = 1.1pts. The order of the absences does not matter. 


There are three during-term evening exams and 1 final exam on the last day of class. The lowest of the first three exams will be 15% of your grade. All other exams will be 20%. There is no forgiveness factor for exams. Exam 1 is currently scheduled for Monday, June 7th, and will cover chapters 1 to 5, inclusively. Exam 2 is on Tuesday, July 6th, and will cover chapters 6 to 8, inclusively. Exam 3 is scheduled for Monday, July 26th, and will consist of the topics covered from chapters 9, 10, 13, and 15. The final will be fully commutative and is scheduled for the last day of class, Thursday, August 5th.  All exams will be taken during the normal class period.

 If you are on either the vet or med school track you should be aware that the GRE, required for Veterinary programs, provides their own simple calculators, while the MCAT does not permit calculators at all. In this class, calculators for exams are permitted but not for quizzes. Use of calculator constitutes academic fraud. Scratch paper and an official formula sheet for the exam will be provided.

In addition to the regular exam dates, there will also be makeup exam dates, to be announced as soon as we have the information.  A student who will miss an 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 makeup 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 makeup exam unless they have another exam conflict or reason that is approved under UF attendance policies. The makeup exam will cover the same essential subject matter as the regular exam and in a similar format, although the exams will not be identical.


Weekly homework sets will be due on Sundays at 11:50 pm and the next homework set will be made available on that same Sunday. The homework will be assigned through the Pearson website found in the My Lab and Mastering tab on Canvas.  There is a forgiveness factor of 15% for the homework sets calculated at the end of the semester. The homework sets will count for 1 point per problem. Each individual homework set will be worth a varying degree of points based on the number of problems.  Expect about 15-20 questions per week but of varying difficulty and style (multiple choice, conceptual, calculation, graphical, etc.).  Note that there is a lateness penalty that reduces the grade by 2.5% per hour up to 50%.

Full solutions to homework will be available after the due date and will be on the same Pearson website where you do the homework.

You should follow appropriate practices of academic honesty when working on the homework problems.  In doing the homework, discussions with colleagues and/or tutors about methods of posing and solving a homework problem are acceptable and encouraged. 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 and a place to try, fail, succeed, and grow before for the quizzes and exams.

Quizzes start in the second week of class, Monday, May 17th. A quiz will usually be administered during the last 20 minutes of the Monday classes on weeks without an exam.  It will be done through Canvas with Honorlock enabled. 

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 rarely identical to, the online homework problems. The problems may be restructured to provide guidance, allow awarding of partial credit, and discourage memorization of a solution formula.  Formula sheet will be provided for the quiz, but you will not be allowed to use a calculator.

There will typically be two questions on each weekly quiz. Each question will be graded on a 5 point scale. 2 points will be awarded for the correct answer. Another 3 points will be awarded based on the explanation (effectively acting as partial credit if you get the problem wrong). You are expected to do the problems on your own without assistance from any sources.

Make-up quizzes are permitted provided you have a valid documented excuse (e.g. doctors excuse for illness, official UF sanctioned event).  Inform me as soon as you are able through Canvas (or direct email) if you will be missing a quiz.  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 August 4, 2021.  You also have until Thursday, August 5th to request any re-grade or to question any grade discrepancy pertaining to the quizzes. The quiz portion of the course will count for 10% of the total grade. There is a 10% forgiveness factor for the quizzes


You are expected to attend all classes. 1 point will be given for participation every class starting May 17th for a total of 39 pts and is worth 5% of the course grade. Participation requires involvement, and the use of wireless devices without explicit permission will result in the forfeiting of these points. There is a 10% forgiveness factor for participation

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

Please message me ASAP to set up an appointment to hand in your letter (described below) and discuss your needs.

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 in printed format to the instructor when requesting an 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 professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at”