PHYS 211 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Frequently Asked Questions
(a.k.a. Our answers to your emails - this will grow over time)

General Stuff:

Q: When and how can I contact my instructors via email? 
A: Instructor email addresses can be found on the Contact Information link on the course webpage. We will answer your email questions about the course as long as the following is true:
1) You are using your "" email account (not gmail etc).
2) The answer to your question is not already on the course website someplace (perhaps even this FAQ).
3) You are not asking about specific physics problems from homework, old exams etc. Its just not possible to teach well via email. For questions like that you should talk to someone in person during office hours, before or after lecture, in discussion, or in lab.


Q: Is there a formula sheet provided when we take the hour exams?
A: Yes - there is a link to it on the Practice Exam web page.

Q: What units are covered on the hour exam?
A: The first hour exam covers material up to and including Friction (Units 1-6). The second hour exam coveres material up to and including Collisions and Impulse (Units 7-10, 12-14). The third hour exam coveres material up to and including Angular Momentum (Units 15, 16, 18-22).

Lectures & Clickers:

Q: I have purchased and registered an I-Clicker for Psych 100. Can I use it in this class also?
A: You can use any kind of i>clicker in this class, old or new.

Q: How can I register my I-Clicker for this class?
A: You can register it in your course gradebook. If you are using it in another class you may not need to register it again, but it wont hurt anything if you do. 

Q: My clicker always says "NO BASE" when I try to send a vote. What can I do?
A: Make sure your frequency is set to AA

Q: Do I have to change the frequency of the I-Clicker?
A: Our classroom uses frequency AA. This is the default frequency of the old i>clickers so all you need to do is turn these on and you are set to go. The newer iclickers with the LCD screen tell you what frequency they are using on the display. If this not set to AA then you need to set it. To do this hold down the power button for 2 seconds and when it prompts you push the "A" button twice.

Q: I am registering my iclicker but I have a quick question. For the "Student ID" section, should I put my UIN or my Net ID?
A: Use your NetID

Q: How can I tell if my iClicker is working?
A: If a green light flashes on the models without the LCD screen, or if you see a check-mark on the LCD screen, then you can be sure that your vote was counted. If you dont see this you may be on the wrong freauency, or you may just need to vote again.

Q: Why is the "lecture" link in smartPhysics not showing up so I can see the clicker questions for lecture 1, but I can see it for lecture 2?
A: You only get a link to the lectures that you participate in. You did not vote in lecture 1.

Q: I registered my iclicker, so why does my grade book say that I have not yet registered one?
A: If you registered it correctly then this will change the next time I upload the clicker scores to the gradebook - this may take a day or two. If a week or more has passed its still not showing up then you probably did not register your clicker correctly. In this case please try it again and make sure you use your NetID and enter the correct 8-digit i>clicker ID number. 

Q: You said everyone will get credit for the first lectures activities, but I still have 0's there. How come?
A: I am waiting until the last add date to update these scores.

Q: I'm just curious… why is my #5 bonus grade =  80%?
A: Each correct clicker answer is worth 20% out of a maximum possible bonus score of 100% in each lecture. You had 4 correct answers.

Q: I can see my clicker scores in the course gradebook (the Lecture and Bonus category) so why can't I see all of the clicker results in smartPhysics?
A: The clicker results in smartPhysics are updated whenever we update the lecture clicker data, which is usually the same day as the lecture itself. We also need to update the clicker database in order for smartPhysics to know your clicker ID. This is only done once every few weeks, so if you registered your clicker since the last time we did this you will not see your clicker scores in smartPhysics until the next time its done. NOTE: This is good motivation to register your clicker ASAP if you havent already done so.

Prelectures, Checkpoints & Homework:

Q:  I am wondering how the system for the grades on smartPhysics work.  I noticed after the due date and time, that the green bars either stay completely green or turn white or red.?
A: The bright green means that you got that credit already. The white means that you can still earn that credit, and the red are points you cant get back because a deadline has passed.  For pre-lectures and checkpoints there is only one deadline, and that is the morning of the lecture. For homework there is usually a second deadline for 80% credit a week after the first deadline. The darker green color in the progress bar means you answered the question, but the question won’t be graded until the first deadline (these are the questions with the stopwatch next to them). When these are graded the dark green will either turn to bright green if you got the question right, or 80% white with a 20% red at the end if you got it wrong - this it to indicate that you can still get 80% credit on these up to the sectioned deadline.

Q: Why is my score for Checkpoint 1 and Prelecture 1 in smartphysics still 0 when you said that we would all get credit for these?
A: Look in the course gradebook - that is where I have given everyone credit for these activities. 

Q: What should I do if I need help with homework problems?
A: The best thing to do it attend office hours on Sundays & Mondays. Each unit also has screen-cap videos of one entire problem being worked out in detail. Its the one labeled (w/ Work). Just click on the Help button for any of the questions in that problem to see the solution. This is a new feature this semester so your feedback would be appreciated.

Q: Do I have to do the Optional homework problems, or will I get any extra credit for doing them?
A: The Optional problems are just for people that want more practice. You do not have to do them, and you will not get any credit for them. 

Q: Do we lose points on 'explaining the answer' on a checkpoint if we dont write very much?
A: You do need to write something in order to get credit, but it doesnt have to be very much. The simple act of writing somehting down, even just a little, will help you learn the material. 

Q: My friend and I are working on the same HW problem. Using the same formula she gets it right and I get it wrong. How is this possible?
A: You need be within 1% of the correct answer in order to get credit. If you round off any intermediate numbers when you are doing the calculation it is easy to be off by more than 1%, so make sure you keep enough significant figures during the calculation. Also, since everyone gets different numbers in their problem, make sure you are using the correct numbers. 

Q: When are the homework deadlines ?
A: The deadlines for all of the smartPhysics activities (Prelectures, Checkpoints and Homework) can be see on your smartPhyics calendar. The red rectangle indicates the first deadline for each homework assignment (thats the one for getting 100% credit). Going to that assignment and hovering your mouse over the deadline shown at the top of the page will show you the second 80% deadline for that assignment (usually a week after the first one).

Q: My smartPhysics score for a HW assignment is 83.1% so why does the course gradebook say that its 31.2% ?
A: The smartPhysics score is the correct one. The course gradebook score only changes when I upload the scores from smartPhysics, which only happens once or twice per week. You can see when a score was uploaded by hovering your mouse over the score in the course gradebook.

Q: How many times can I answer a homework question, and does it hurt me to answer more than once ?
A: It does not hurt you to answer a question many times, or to get it wrong first and then get it right. You can try each question up to 100 times.

Getting stuff excused:

Q: What hapens to my grade if somehting is excused?
A: “Excused” means that the missed item (for example a lab or an exam) is replaced by the average scores on the other items of that same kind (i.e the other labs or the other exams).

Q: I just transferred into your PHYS 211 class. I was wondering what I can do to get up to speed on the stuff I missed?
A: You need to get set up with smartPhysics - look here for instructions. Everyone will get credit for the first Prelecture, Checkpoint, and Lecture participation score. You should do the Prelectures and Checkpoints that you missed anyway just so you know what happened. You will not get credit for any of these after the first one since the deadline has passed, but we will drop the 3 lowest scores of each category so it may not matter. You should also start coming to lecture and participating in the clicker questions. You will not get credit for the lectures you missed, but we will drop the lowest 5 lecture participation scores so this probably wont matter either. You should also get caught up on the smartPhysics homework - please see the smartPhysics calendar for deadlines. If you have missed any Labs or Discussions because you joined the class late then you should apply to get these excused. You do this by filling out an online Excused Absence Application, also linked on the course webpage. This needs to be done withing 10 days of the missed activity.

Q: Is there any way that I can make up a lab or discussion that I dont have a valid excuse for missing?
A: There is no mechanism to make up a lab (or a discussion) if you miss it without a valid excuse. Each discussion (lab) is only worth about 11 (17) point out of 1000 for the whole course, and since you can earn up to 25 bonus points for answering clicker questions correctly in lecture you should be able to get most or all of the points back that way.

Q: How can I get excused for missed homework?
A: Missed homework will not be excused. Please notice that every homework has a second deadline, usually a week after the first deadline, allowing you to earn 80% credit on anything you didnt finish before the first deadline.

Paying for smartPhysics:

Q: I'm retaking Physics 211. May I get a free renewal of Smartphysics this semester?
A: You will have to pay for the course again this semester since you want to start with a fresh gradebook etc. The good news is that after you have paid for two courses, you will never have to pay for another one in smartPhysics. This means that next semester, when you take Physics 212, you will get the smartPhysics course for free.