Course Syllabus

PHY2020 Principles of Physics - Fall 2022

Contact Information


Prof. Shawn Weatherford

Office Phone

(352) 392-8747


Use Canvas email

Office Hours

Tuesday 1:55-2:45 pm,  Thursday, 12:50-1:40pm

Credit Hours


For questions about course content, your grade, or other personal issues, use the Canvas mail tool.  Expect a response within 24 hours on weekdays.

Course Description

 This course exposes students to the foundations and principles of physics—the most fundamental of the experimental sciences—to give you a greater appreciation of the world around you and how it works. It assumes no previous background in physics, provides a one-semester overview of the subject, and meets the General Education Physical Science (“P”) requirement. It may be useful as preparation for courses such as PHY 2048 and PHY 2053. 

Course Requirements

Recommended Textbooks

  1. Douglas Giancoli, Physics: Principles with Applications, published by Pearson
  2. Paul Hewitt, Conceptual Physics, published by Pearson. Available through UF Access

 Use of one or other of these textbooks may be helpful, but is not required. Each book has several editions that are basically the same, and many used copies are available. $20 should buy a decent copy. In general, Giancoli’s book is more formal and quantitative, whereas Hewitt’s book is more conceptual with words and pictures. Depending on your learning preferences, you may find one book or the other more useful.

The Hewitt book particpates in the UF All Access program and if you decide to participate (optional) you will receive a code to use in accessing the ebook direct from this Canvas course by clicking on "Pearson Revel" in the sidebar. Here's a flyer describing the process and how to receive customer support if you have issues.


Facility with high school math (basic algebra, geometry, and trigonometry) is expected.

Minimum Technology Requirements

Honorlock Requirements: In order to take exams under the supervision of Honorlock, you need access to a computer with a video camera, a microphone, and a good internet connection, located in a quiet room where you can take the exams in privacy. You must take your exam using the Google Chrome browser after installing the Honorlock extension. It is your responsibility to be sure you meet all these technical requirements. You are strongly advised to check your setup ahead of each exam using the link at . Interruptions in the internet connection or entry of other persons into the room will be reported by Honorlock and investigated to ensure the academic integrity of the exam.

Calculator: A calculator is required for numerical calculations, and the Honorlock Scientific Calculator may be used instead of a physical calculator for all coursework. Note: Only the Honorlock Scientific Calculator is permitted during exams. Therefore it is advised to become accustomed to using this calculator in your practice.

Minimum Technical Skills

To complete your tasks in this course, you will need a basic understanding of operating a computer and using word processing software. You will also need basic understanding of how to operate a scientific calculator, including knowledge of entering values in scientific notation, using trig functions, and how the calculator uses order of operations to perform calculations.

 Materials/Supply Fees

There is no supply fee for this course.


Honorlock is an online proctoring service that allows students to take exams on-demand 24/7. There are no scheduling requirements or fees.

You will need a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam, a microphone, and a photo ID. The webcam and microphone can be either integrated or external USB devices.

Honorlock requires that you use the Google Chrome browser and that you must add the Honorlock extension to Chrome.

For further information, FAQs, and technical support, please visit Honorlock.


Office hours will be conducted via Zoom. You can find resources and help using Zoom at the University of Florida's Zoom website.


Course Objectives

This course offers General Education credit in the Physical Sciences, for which program area the objective is as follows: “Physical science courses provide instruction in the basic concepts, theories and terms of the scientific method in the context of the physical sciences. Courses focus on major scientific developments and their impacts on society, science and the environment and the relevant processes that govern physical systems. Students will formulate empirically-testable hypotheses derived from the study of physical 
processes, apply logical reasoning skills through scientific criticism and argument, and apply techniques of discovery and critical thinking to evaluate outcomes of experiments.”

To achieve these goals, students will be expected to: 

  1. analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to the situations,
  2. apply principles to particular situations,
  3. solve any equations arising from the application of identified principles of physics,
  4. communicate results of calculations unambiguously by reporting values containing appropriate precision and units.

     General Education credit will be earned only for a grade of C or higher in the course.

    Student Learning Outcomes

    This course will also assess Student Learning Outcomes covering both content and skills:  

    • Content: Students demonstrate competence in the terminology, concepts, theories and methodologies used within the discipline.
    • Communication: Students communicate knowledge, ideas and reasoning clearly effectively in written and oral forms appropriate to the discipline.
    • Critical Thinking: Students analyze information carefully and logically from multiple perspectives, using discipline-specific methods, and develop reasoned solutions to problems. 

    The Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed through 16 graded quizzes (one per course module) plus three graded and proctored examinations. Quiz and exam questions will cover all subjects listed in the syllabus. Typical questions will require students to complete successfully all four steps outlined in the area objectives above. Obtaining the correct result to the question posed in the form requested in the question will be taken as evidence that all four of the steps have been correctly and successfully completed. In some questions students will be expected to choose between a series of possible explanations of physical outcomes; such explanations may be presented as graphs, numerically or in words. Although knowledge of the fundamental principles of physics is necessary for success in the course, the stress is on understanding how to apply the principles to a variety of situations; rote memorization is minimal.

    Course Policies


    Since the course is online, you can work at your own pace provided that you complete all quizzes and exams by the deadlines set in the course schedule below. You have access to all instructional materials from the first day of the course. Generally, you can work ahead on all quizzes leading up to the next exam.

    As this is an online class, you are responsible for observing all posted due dates and are encouraged to be self-directed and take responsibility for your learning.


    Make-ups are rare but will be considered on a case-by-case basis, consistent with university policies that can be found at . Contact the instructor at least five UF teaching days in advance for predictable events, or as soon as possible after any emergency. 

    Extra Credit

    The only extra credit planned is for a mid-course survey. Individual extra credit assignments will not be allowed out of fairness to other students.


    Grading Policy

    I will make every effort to have each assignment graded and posted within one week of the due date.  

    Course Grading Policy

    This course evaluates your progress on the learning outcomes as you demonstrate your understanding completing the assignments in two primary categories: quizzes and exams.

    Assignment Group
    Percentage of Course Total
     16 quizzes 10% combined
     3 exams 90% (30% for each exam)
     1 course survey 2%

    QUIZZES: The 16 quizzes are untimed and taken in Canvas. You may submit each quiz just once. It may be attempted at any time between its opening and 11:59 p.m. on the day before the next exam is scheduled. However, quizzes submitted after 11:59 p.m. on the quiz’s due date will receive only a fraction of the credit that the same answers would have received for an on-time submission. Submissions that are up to 24 hours late will receive credit for 75% of the raw score, while submissions that are more than 24 hours late will receive credit for 50% of the raw score. It is in your best interest to submit each quiz on time. 

    EXAMS: The three exams are timed (120 minutes) and taken in Canvas under the supervision of Honorlock during a window specified in the Course Schedule below. You do not need to schedule a start time in advance, but you must meet all Honorlock technical and administrative requirements and submit the exam before the end of its window. Details are in the Start Here Canvas module. It is your responsibility to take each exam within its specified window. 

    CALCULATING SCORES AND OVERALL GRADE: All scores and grades in the course will be communicated to students via the Canvas Gradebook (Grades in the left margin of the Canvas page). Scores on each quiz and exam will appear automatically in the gradebook so students can estimate their projected grade:

    • "Quizzes" = (points earned on quizzes) / (points available on quizzes attempted) x 100%
    • "Exams" =  (points earned on exams) / (points available on exams attempted) x 100% 
    • "Total" = 0.1 x (Quizzes %) + 0.9 x (Exams %) + 0.02 x (Extra Credit %)

    Grading Scale



    Grade Points





































    This grading scale, which may seem generous, takes account of the fact that scores on "fill-in-the-blank" tests are typically lower than scores on multiple-choice tests. 

    Current UF grading policies for assigning grade points can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog;See the current UF grading policies for more information.

    UF Policies

    University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities

    Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565) by providing appropriate documentation.  Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter that must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodation.  Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.


    University Policy on Academic Conduct

    UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge, which states, “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." The Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel.  If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.



    The Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code states that a Student must not represent as the Student’s own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

    • Stealing, misquoting, insufficiently paraphrasing, or patch-writing.
    • Self-plagiarism is the reuse of the Student’s own submitted work, or the simultaneous submission of the Student’s own work, without the full and clear acknowledgment and permission of the Faculty to whom it is submitted.
    • Submitting materials from any source without proper attribution.
    • Submitting a document, assignment, or material that, in whole or in part, is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment the Student did not author.


    Netiquette and Communication Courtesy

    It is important to recognize that the online classroom is in fact a classroom, and certain behaviors are expected when you communicate with both your peers and your instructors. These guidelines for online behavior and interaction are known as netiquette. Please review the Netiquette Guide for Online Courses.

    Course Schedule

    Day Date Assignment Title
    Wed Aug 24 COURSE OPENS
    Fri Aug 26 Quiz 1 due (1 question) Introduction to Physics
    Tue Aug 30 Quiz 2 due (4 questions) Vectors and Geometry
    Tue Sept 6 Quiz 3 due (4 questions) Description of Motion and Falling Bodies
    Tue Sept 13 Quiz 4 due (5 questions) Newton's Laws
    Tue Sept 20 Quiz 5 due (3 questions) Circular Motion and Newtonian Gravity
    Tue Sept 27 Quiz 6 due (4 questions) Work and Energy
    Wed Sept 28 Quizzes 1-6 close
    Thur Sept 29 Exam 1 Covers Modules 1-6
    120 minutes, start after 7am, end by 11:59pm
    Wed Oct 5 Quiz 7 due (3 questions) Momentum
    Thu Oct 13 Quiz 8 due (3 questions) Rotational Motion and Equilibrium
    Thu Oct 20 Quiz 9 due (3 questions) Structure of Matter
    Tue Oct 25 Quiz 10 due (3 questions) Fluids and Archimedes' Principle
    Wed Oct 26 Quizzes 7-10 close
    Thur Oct 27 Exam 2 Covers Modules 7-10
    120 minutes, start after 7am, end by 11:59pm
    Wed Nov 2 Quiz 11 due (4 questions) Temperature and Heat
    Wed Nov 9 Quiz 12 due (4 questions) Waves and Sound
    Tue Nov 15 Quiz 13 due (3 questions) Electrostatics
     Nov 21-25: Thanksgiving Week (no office hours)
    Mon Nov 28 Quiz 14 due (3 questions) Electric Currents
    Fri Dec 2 Quiz 15 due (3 questions) Magnets and Magnetism
    Wed Dec 7 Quiz 16 due (3 questions) Light Rays
    Tue Dec 13 Quizzes 11-16 close
    Wed Dec 14 Exam 2 Covers Modules 7-10
    120 minutes, start after 7am, end by 11:59pm


    Getting Help

    Technical Difficulties

    For help with technical issues or difficulties with Canvas, please contact the UF Help Desk at:

    Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues should be accompanied by the ticket number received from the Help Desk when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You should email your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.


    • U Matter, We Care: If you or someone you know is in distress, please email, call 352-392-1575, or visit U Matter We Care to refer or report a concern, and a team member will reach out to the student in distress.
    • Counseling and Wellness Center:  Visit the UF Counseling & Wellness Center website or call 352-392-1575 for information on crisis services and non-crisis services.
    • Student Health Care Center: Call 352-392-1161 for 24/7 information to help you find the care you need, or visit the UF Student Health Care Center website.
    • University Police Department: Visit the UF Police Department website or call 352-392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies).
    • UF Health Shands Emergency Room/Trauma Center: For immediate medical care in Gainesville, call 352-733-0111, or go to the emergency room at 1515 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608; Visit the UF Health Shands Emergency Room/Trauma Center website.


    Academic and Student Support


    Course Evaluations

    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 on the GatorEvals Providing Constructive Feedback FAQ page. 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 the GatorEvals website. Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at the GatorEvals Public Results page. More information about UF's course evaluation system can be found at the GatorEvals - Faculty Evaluations website.


    Online Proctoring With HonorLock

    In order to maintain a high standard of academic integrity and assure that the value of your University of Florida degree is not compromised, course exams will be proctored. Some students will take their exams online and will be proctored by Honorlock. You will take your exam electronically using the course website. You do not need to register for your exam. However, you will need to have installed and enabled the Google Chrome Honorlock extension prior to taking your exams. You will need a webcam, speakers, microphone, laptop or desktop computer, and a reliable Internet connection to take your exams. Wireless internet is not recommended. You may also need a mirror or other reflective surface. Google Chrome is the only supported browser for taking exams in Canvas.

    Prior to each exam and in the same environment you plan to take the exam, review the Honorlock Guidelines (Links to an external site.), and go to Honorlock Support (Links to an external site.) to run a system check. This process takes just a few minutes and is completely free. If your course offers an Honorlock Practice Quiz, it is strongly recommended that you take it to practice using Honorlock before your exams. 

    Important: If you are unable to take an exam because of a technical glitch on your end, that is your responsibility. However, if you do experience technical difficulties during the exam, Honorlock's support menu will be visible on-screen for you to contact a support agent. 

    Honorlock offers 24/7/365 technical support to assist students before, during, and after exams. If you experience any trouble with Honorlock, begin a live chat on the Honorlock Support (Links to an external site.) page, call 844-243-2500, or email


    Privacy and Accessibility Policies

    For information about the privacy policies of the tools used in this course, see the links below: 

     (Links to an external site.


    Tips for Success

    Taking a course online can be a lot of fun! Here are some tips that will help you get the most of this course while taking full advantage of the online format:

    • Schedule "class times" for yourself. It is important to do the coursework on time each week. You will receive a reduction in points for work that is turned in late!
    • Read ALL of the material contained on this site. There is a lot of helpful information that can save you time and help you meet the objectives of the course.
    • Print out the Course Summary located in the Course Syllabus and check things off as you go.
    • Take full advantage of the online discussion boards. Ask for help or clarification of the material if you need it.
    • Do not wait to ask questions! Waiting to ask a question might cause you to miss a due date.
    • Do your work well before the due dates. Sometimes things happen. If your computer goes down when you are trying to submit an assignment, you'll need time to troubleshoot the problem.
    • To be extra safe, back up your work to an external hard drive, thumb drive, or through a cloud service.



    Course Summary:

    Date Details Due