Physics courses during the COVID-19 pandemic
Physics Department is planning to offer its Fall Term courses in the safest manner possible, and we will be following the latest recommendations from the University and from the Public Health authorities. Rest assured that the quality of our courses will not be compromised: certain courses that require in-person work that cannot be performed safely will have to be postponed until a later time. However, these will be the exception.
A small number of senior undergraduate and graduate course will be offered in the face-to-face format, in much larger rooms than the enrollment would normally warrant, to enable everyone to maintain safe social distance.
Most of the Fall courses will be offered in an online format, but the specifics will vary from course to course. Some may be offered in a fully asynchronous manner, with pre-recorded videos of lectures, and online homework and test submissions. Some will be offered in a fully synchronous manner, with scheduled lectures delivered in real time, and not recorded and posted for later review. All of the courses will have interactive components that may take the form of Q&A sessions, tutorials, or Help Desk hours, during which the students will get a chance to ask questions and receive help. Some courses will use Sakai, WebWorK, or a combination of these and other online tools to deliver homework and tests. Most will require submissions of written work in the form of PDF files, with hand-written work scanned or photographed and converted to PDF before uploading.
The details will vary a great deal from course to course, and the students are invited to check the individual course webpages and/or contact the instructors regarding the delivery details of their courses.
Please, consult the individual course web pages for details.
Your instructor will explain how they want written homework to be collected. Most of the time, we may ask you prepare a PDF file of your written homework. We have prepared a page of suggested apps an advice here.
Physics Department has committed to offer the first-year labs in a new take-home format. Instead of a textbook (which will be a free online textbook), the students will be buying a home data acquisition device, ioLab, and performing a series of several at-home experiments.
The recommended data analysis software is ioLab online, and the lab reports will be submitted online through Sakai.
The cost of the devices will be comparable to the cost of a textbook in other courses, and a no-cost online textbook should help to offset the ioLab expense. ioLab devices should be available for purchase through the Bookstore by mid-August.
We will provide as many details as possible, as soon as possible, but we are currently in the midst of creating/testing the labs, so please bear with us.
Winter Term courses
It is very difficult to be definitive about the Winter Term courses, as the COVID pandemic is impossible to predict that far in advance. We are preparing for both a continuation of the online delivery similar to what will be offered in the Fall Term, as well as for a possible return to face-to-face classes. The decision of which way to proceed will be taken later on in the year. We will choose the course of action that ensures the health and safety of our students.