PHYS 101 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Getting Started

Physics 101 has three main components: lecture, discussion, and lab. For the best experience for you and your peers, please come to all parts of the class prepared and on time. Here are some things you will need to do before you come to different parts of the class:


Preparing for the first lecture

Preparing for the first discussion

Preparing for the first lab

DRES accommodations

Contacting Prof. Ansell and other course staff


Prelectures, Checkpoints, and smartPhysics

This class is taught in a “flipped” format, meaning that you will have short assignments that are due at 8am the morning of each lecture. You will need to log in to smartPhysics and do the first Prelecture and Checkpoint before you go to the first lecture. Note that your homework assignments for this class are also contained in this smartPhysics course.

Coming to class


In discussion you will work with a small group to answer a packet of questions, and will get a chance to test your understanding with a weekly quiz.


You will do a hands-on Pre-Lab activity using your IOLab device before every lab, guided by a lab course in smartPhysics. In your weekly lab section you will work in groups to design and understand experiments and experimental data, also using your IOLab device. Note that in the first week of the semester you will have a prelab assignment in smartPhysics that does not have a lab associated with it.

Getting an IOLab device

You will need to purchase, rent, or arrange to share an IOLab device and the Electricity and Magnetism Accessory Kit so that they are available by the time your class meets for Lab 1. Ordering details can be found on the required materials list.

Coming to class:

Disability-related accommodations

If you have a DRES letter for disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, we highly recommend that you take advantage of these accommodations. To do so, you must contact the following people via email with a copy of your letter and a summary of the accommodations you need:

If you are concerned you have a disability-related condition that is impacting your academic progress, you can talk with someone at the Counseling Center, McKinley Mental Health, or DRES about how to see a provider in order to obtain a diagnosis or get your questions answered. To contact DRES, you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-1970, e-mail or go to the DRES website.

Who to contact and how

For questions related to overall course content and administration or the lecture, Prof. Ansell can be contacted via email.

For questions related to the discussion, please reach out to your discussion TA or to the discussion coordinator.

For questions related to the labs, please reach out to your lab TA or the lab coordinator.