PHYS 115



Course Info - Winter 2020

Schedule M, W, F - 10:00-10:50 + Recitation W 2:00-3:50 or 4:00-5:50 We will be mixing synchronous and asynchronous class meetings.

Mondays will be synchronous Problem Solving Workshops, Wednesdays will be synchronous New Material, Fridays will be asynchronous activities. All synchronous activities will be recorded and posted in a separate section.

6 April - 12 June


email Office Hrs
Dr. Eric Brewe M 11-12; F 10-12 + By Appointment
Virgina Price Tu, Th, 1:00-2:00

Preamble This class is going to be weird, times are weird. I have taught blended courses, and used the tools available, but have not had any experience with fully online classes. I will be trying, I promise to be patient with you, and will ask the same of me.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply key concepts and physical laws of magnetism and circuits including conservation of charge, Coulomb’s law, electric potential, Kirchoff’s rules, Biot-Savart law, Ampere's law, Faraday’s law and Lenz’s law
  • Analyze the dynamics of charged particles in magnetic fields
  • Discuss sources of electric potential and analyze direct current circuits including steady state and time-varying conditions
  • Develop critical thinking skills in the analysis of theory and applications in electricity and magnetism by problem solving and performing laboratory experiments

Textbook Matter and Interactions, Chabay and Sherwood

Course Tools Due to the transition to online learning, we will be using a variety of tools to support learning.

Zoom: We have a zoom classroom, you may need to install Zoom software. You should have received an invitation.

Gradescope: You will be handing in homework on Gradescope, you should have gotten an email from them about enrollment. We'll talk about how this will work.

Slack: We are going to have a Slack channel that people can use for varied classroom communications, you are not required to sign up, but, I've used it before, and students found it to be pretty useful.

GlowScript: The class will be using GlowScript to develop small computational projects. GlowScript is not quite the same as vPython - but very clase, the TA, Virginia Price will be holding recitations on Wednesdays.

Course Outline

We will aim to cover chapters 17-23 and one additional supplemental chapter S3 on Waves. Topics will include:

  • Magnetic Fields
  • Electric Circuits
  • Magnetic Forces (including the Hall Effect)
  • Patterns of EM fields (focusing on Gauss Law)
  • Faraday's Law
  • Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Waves and Particles


I see grades as an indicator of your understanding, so your job in earning a grade is to demonstrate your understanding of course material. Because this course is using a different format, we are going to emphasize using problem solutions rather than exams as a way of demonstrating your competencies.

Category Percentage
Written Homework: 65%
Computational Homework: 25%
Class Participation: 10%


Since homework is the primary way you will demonstrate understanding, you will need to write up homework in a way that demonstrates that you understand the material. You will need to not only show your work, but incorporate explanations of how and why you are doing what you are doing. In order to give you maximum opportunity to demonstrate your understanding, you will be allowed to re-submit your assignment for regrading. There are two types of homework, written assignments and computational assignments.

Written Assignments

Homework will be submitted through Gradescope, and will be due on Monday nights at 11:59 PM.

You are allowed to work together on homework in the analysis phase, but you will need to work individually in the ‘writing it up’ phase. This means while you may come to the same answers, your explanations of how you got there will be unique and distinct.

The goal of this class is that you master the content. We will grade each problem on each assignment with a four point rubric. If your score on any given problem is a 3 or 4, you will have completed the problem at a satisfactory level. If you do not score a 3 or a 4 you are welcome to resubmit. We will accept resubmissions each week on Monday nights.

Your score on the written assignments will be the proportion of the problems that you have completed at the satisfactory level. So if you do all the problems, but only reach satisfactory on 85% of them, you will get an 85% for the homework score.

Grading Rubric

We will use the following rubric for all written assignments

Score Meaning
4 Fully complete, well explained, all work shown, correct answer someone could pick up this solution and read it.
3 Complete, explained adquately, work shown, correct answer. Someone would probably understand this solution.
2 Missing either adequate explanation or work, answer is correct, but someone would struggle to understand what you've done to get to this solution.
1 Missing either adequate explanation or work and answer is incorrect.
0 No or very little effort demonstrated

Programming Assignments

Programming assignments will also be submitted through Gradescope. These assignments will be discussed in recitation, and will count as 25% of your overall grade. Programming assignments are due at the beginning of recitation on Wednesday in weeks 3, 5, 7, and 9 (see schedule below).

Class Participation

Much of this class will be active, we will expect you to be working together on problems, computational assignments, discussing, and asking questions. This will be worth 10% of your overall grade.


I foolishly have written a gradebook app so you can see your current grade. To use it enter the randomly generated ID number I sent you. Gradebook


Grades for the course will be assigned according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage
A+ 97-100
A 90 - 96
B+ 87-89
B 80-86
C+ 77-79
C 70-76
D+ 67-69
D 60-66
F 0-59

Drexel University Resources:

Note that Drexel University offers several resources to students in need. These include but are not limited to:

Notice: Appropriate Use of Course Materials

It is important to recognize that some or all of the course materials provided to you may be the intellectual property of Drexel University, the course instructor, or others. Use of this intellectual property is governed by Drexel University policies, including the IT-1 policy found here:

Briefly, this policy states that course materials, including recordings, provided by the course instructor may not be copied, reproduced, distributed or re-posted. Doing so may be considered a breach of this policy and will be investigated and addressed as possible academic dishonesty, among other potential violations. Improper use of such materials may also constitute a violation of the University’s Code of Conduct found here: and will be investigated as such.

Course Schedule

Week Class Dates Content Homework
1 Apr 6, 8, 10 Ch 18 - Electric Field and Circuits
2 Apr 13, 15, 17 Ch 19 - Circuit Elements HW #1 due
3 Apr 20, 22, 24 Ch 17 - Magnetic Fields HW #2 due, Program #1 due
4 Apr 27, 29, May 1 Ch 20 - Magnetic Forces HW #3 due
5 May 4, 6, 8 Ch 21 - Fields in Space, Gauss & Ampere's Check In , Program #2 due
6 May 11, 13, 15 Review Ch 17-21 HW #4 due
7 May 18, 20, 22 Ch 22 - Faraday's Law HW #5 due Program #3 due
8 May 27, 29 Ch 23 - EM Radiation HW #6 due,
9 June 1, 3, 5 Waves HW #7 due, Program #4 due
10 Exam Week


There are a bunch of resources available to help you in this course: