This week PHY 131 had the first of three tests. I did okay, but not ecstatic with my performance. There were 12 questions and 60 minutes to take the exam. Initially the plan was to take it Tuesday, but the Respondus Lockdown Browser tool developed issues with Windows 10 workstations so after waiting around all day Tuesday, the professor gave an extension and switched over to the RPNow proctor service. Same service we used for PHY 121 and MAT 275 & 343 last semester. I was really nervous going into the test and it definitely could have been worse.
Out of the three questions I missed, one I used the wrong formula on. A second, I used the wrote down the wrong distance rushing to finish before time ran out, and the third I thought there was enough information, but apparently there wasn’t to answer the question. I usually have plenty of time to spare, but not this time. Definitely a stressful ordeal even being open notes and open book. Hopefully the second test goes smoother. That’s scheduled for February 10th.
To prepare, I did a lot of practice problems, but the majority of the exam was conceptual questions. Questions like the Stop to Think ones scattered through the Mastering Physics book. Not too many homework problem type questions requiring a lot of number crunching. I went through the majority of Michel Van Biezen’s videos as well as the exercises in the Study Area on the Mastering Physics site. Read the chapters a couple of times, took notes, rewatched lecture videos… I probably wouldn’t have missed 2 of the questions if I slowed down and didn’t make careless mistakes. Oh well, live and learn. It was a fair exam and I’ve learned from what I missed. If those questions show up on the final, I’ll be better prepared.
Both the professor and the TA were very responsive and helpful troubleshooting the issues with the Respondus Lockdown Browser on Tuesday. Within 10 minutes of emailing that I was having issues, the TA actually called me on the phone to troubleshoot. The professor emailed me back and forth to gather information. Even though this is an online class and the test didn’t start off or go as planned, it is good to know that the teaching staff genuinely cares about the success of students no matter where he or she is located.
In addition to the first test, Homework 4 is due Friday covering Chapter 28 on The Electric Potential. This has 15 problems, plus most questions seemed to have a few sub questions. Had to dig up some of mechanics topics like Conservation of Momentum, Work and the Kinetic + Potential Energy equation stuff to solve some of the problems. I need to keep reviewing those topics since they keep showing up every few chapters!
PHY 132 continues to take up a ridiculous amount of time for a 1 unit class. The labs are interesting, but the write ups take FOREVER for me to put together. This week’s lab had us looking at Electric Field and Electric Potential. I worked with two different online simulators that were pretty cool. Seems the labs are a little bit ahead of the lecture so it took me a while to figure out what part of the lab was able.
This week’s lab required a lot of screen shots and of the 19 pages, 10 were full of screen shots. The rest a mix of paragraphs, tables and equations. A different grader evaluated my write up for Lab 2 and I missed a few points on the cover page abstract for not putting enough of the results in that paragraph. Slightly irritating since I did close to the same thing I did on Lab 1 and everything else was correct. Oh well, I’ll give ’em more in the abstract next time.