Science/Physics 122 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Welcome Aboard the Science 122 telecourse. Here are some FAQ to help guide you through the labrynth of web pages, assignments, and information associated with "The Nature of Physical Science".

These are some of the questions new students in the course have asked. Click on the questions below to get the answer.

Click on the arrow to return here.

If you don't find your question or a satisfactory answer here, write a message to the instructor on Laulima with your questions.

For more details about the course read "Information For the New Students", and will find informative and useful details there. It may seem formidable and intimidating.

Don't worry! The details of how the course works will become apparent in the first week or two.

It may seem complicated, but it really is not as bad as it seems.

What is on this page?

How do I establish communications with the instructor?

Why is my course listed as Phys 122?

When can I view the TV programs?

How much time should I expect to spend studying and taking exams?

What is in the 'Study Guide'?

How should I use the Booth and Bloom Text?

How should I use the Speilberg and Anderson Text?

How can I find where in the text to read about the material covered in the TV programs?

Are there Hyper Links that can be used to elaborate on the TV programs and study guide?

How do I take the exams?

Where do I find the lab exercises?

How do I submit the required materials for the labs?

How should I identify documents and the subject of email messages?

How should I save and organize my computer files?

How do I make the best use of the online materials?

How can students in the class get to know one another?

What is on this page?

This page contains information which will help you get started in the course. If you have questions on how to use your web browser or how to send and receive email, ask your local computer center for help. If that fails, contact me at Laulima.

I can help with some problems, but I am not totally familiar with all software and computers. I work on Mac and PC, and I can help you with many problems. I am more familiar with the Mac but can troubleshoot Windows based programs to some degree.

Hopefully this page will help to sort out the essence of how the course works and what to expect.

How do I establish communications with the instructor?

If you haven't already, check in with the instructor via email at Laulima using the 'message' tab. You will receive a reply soon. The instructor will send a 'welcome' message to the class to which you must reply if you have not checked in otherwise.

Many students are newcomers to email and the worldwide web, while othersare experienced users. The course is designed so that being a novice will not be a disadvantage. If you are a newcomer to the web or distance education you may feel in the beginning that it is too difficult, but the 'mechanics' of the course will soon become commonplace. Once you have sent a few responses you will find that it is really very easy.

A major part of my job is to coax you along and help you over whatever hurdles or problems arise and to get you up and sailing along. We do not want the medium to dominate the message.

Why is my course listed as Phys 122?

Phys 122 and Sci 122 are the same course. They are 'cross-listed' because some campuses teach the course as Sci 122 while others teach it as Phys 122. Either course satisifies the same requirement regardless of which course you are registered for. If you think there is a potential problem, check with an academic advisor or counselor on your home campus.

When can I view the TV programs?

The programs begin broadcasting on the first day of the semester or summer term. Usually there is a repeaat broadcast for each program, either on the same day or on Saturday. There are two programs per week during the semester and five per week in summer sessions.

Check here to see the schedule.

The programs are designed to supplement the reading and study guide, but not to replace it.

How much time should I expect to spend studying and taking exams?

A college course requires a significant amount of independent study outside the classroom. Since the classroom for this course has no walls, the TV programs take the place of the classroom lecture. Study beyond merely watching the programs and taking notes will be required to master the material.

The TV programs are only two hours per week, but spending two hours or more studying each program is not unreasonable. Use the study guide online. Each one complements (or sometimes duplicates) the TV programs, but many contain links that expand on the basic material.

If you can afford the paper and ink, print out the study guides and use them as you watch the program.

Read the explanation of credit hours and the approximate amount of time to allot for study and for the lab exercises.

Here's what the standard 'formula' for credit hours vs. study time says:

15 weeks x 3 hours per week 'in class' = 45 hours

15 weeks x 6 hours per week in independent study = 90 hours

For a 3 credit 'lecture' that sums to 135 hours for a semester.

For a 1 credit lab there are 15 weeks x 3 hours per week in the lab = 45 hours

Overall that totals to 180 hours for a 15 week semester, or about 12 hours per week including the lab.

Exams will require several hours to complete at home. They are designed to test what you have learnd and also to act as a 'cement' that binds together the material from the TV programs, and also to increase the independent study time over the 30 hours of TV 'lecture' compared to 45 hours in the classroom for the same three credits.

What is in the 'Study Guide'?

The study guide is entirely online. It contains objectives and questions for each lesson and an outline of the corresponding program, plus or minus. It is not, and is not intended to follow the program word for word, although it may in some places. A word-for-word transcription of each program is online.

Click on the "TV Text" button on the gateway page, or go to the page from here. You should always look at the objectives and questions before viewing the video program. It is a good idea to have the questions and objectives with you when you watch. That way you can notate the location of the material on the video for future reference using the timer on the VCR or a stopwatch.

If you have a printer, it is a good idea to print out the study guide for each lesson prior to watching the broadcast. The early lessons are quite long (twenty or more pages). After program 9 they get progressively shorter as they become gradually more outline in form.

You might want to look at the length of each program's study guide on your computer screen before deciding whether or not to print them, choose a smaller print size before printing, or reduce the size of the printed page in the page setup menu.

You are strongly encouraged to record the programs. If you program the DVR be sure to check to be sure each program is reccorded

Using the counter on the DVR is a good way to keep track of where things are in the program, even writing in on the printed study gide. .

You can link to these from the schedule page, or from the study guide page.

How should I use theBooth and Bloom Text?

You will find this text to have good diagrams and a good elementary coverage of the course material. It is rather weak on the material from the early part of the course, except for program 4 which it covers quite well, with a slightly different perspective.

This text will be most useful in the second half of the course, and it will supplement the Speilberg and Anderson text nicely.

This is an out of print text which I have arranged with the publisher to use for this course. Although it is old, it is the best text available for the soci-political and the human element that is a major focus of the course. The primitive packaging is a way to to keep the cost as low as possible.

Do not make the mistake of judging the quality of a book by its looks. I assure you the content is more important than glossy four-color pictures. 

Some chapters are not reprinted from the original text due to their lack of relevancy or being outdated.

How should I use the Speilberg and Anderson Text?

This text will cover the early part of the course in greater detail than the Booth and Bloom text, but it skims over the material and does not cover it in sufficient depth to stand alone.

You will find it best to locate the material which goes along with the course in both texts and compare the way it is B

Neither of the texts alone cover the material. The combination of TV programs, study guide, the two texts, and outside links on the internet provide sufficient resources to master the learning objectives of the course and of each lesson.

How can I find where in the text to read about the material covered in the TV programs?

You will find a complete list of reading assignments by program on the text references page. These are also at the beginning of each lesson in the study guide.

Part of our goal in this course is to learn to find things in references such as the textbook, in the library, and online, then to assimilate, compare and evaluate them. You will find that different texts or references explain or illustrate concepts and events in a slightly different way. What is confusing one place may be very clear in another.

Putting it together and reading critically is part of what is known as synthesis.

If you can not find information to help with a particular concept, send an emailto

In any printed material, whether online or in print, start by looking at the table of contents and the index. Look for topics, for example in Chapter 1 of Speilberg and Anderson, that match those in the video. This will be easier once the study guide is available. You might also want to spend half an hour or so in a library looking at the Q or QA section, or ask the librarian for the general area of physical science in the public libraries.

The library is where the knowledge lives, waiting to be extracted and digested by curious and hungry minds.

As you become more familiar with the course and the texts it will get easier to locate the topics. 

Are there Hyper Links that can be used to elaborate on the TV programs and study guide?

Many of the study guide lessons have links to other pages. Sometimes these are links to other programs in our coursethat cover a subject in more depth or from a different perspective. Others may link to supplementary pages that clarify a concept or add additional visualizations to help understand or define a concept. Check out those links. It doesn't take much time to click on a link to see what is there.

On most of the pages the Sci 122 logo in the upper left corner of each page is a link back to the home page. Click on it at any time to return to the home page. If you find a page where this link is not there please send me the complete URL of that page and I will add the link.

How do I take the exams?

Exms are 75 multiple choice questions, 9 or 10 from each program to be done at home, openbook.

The exams are accessed from Laulima, completed at home using any and all resources at your disposal, except the help of another person to specifically discuss an exam question.

Exam access dates are on the schedule and the events page . Exams will be available for a window of five days (three days for summer session) around the date of the broadcast of the last program in each of the four part (program 8, program 15, program 22, program 30). See the for exam dates..

Exam 1 info will be available to all students who have checked in by the required date ( broadcast date of program 3). Subsequent exams will be available only to those who have completed all previous exams.

Where do I find the lab exercises?

Labe exercises are online. You can access them from the labs page, where the due dates are shown for each lab.

Late labs will be accepted at the instructor's discretion at reduced grade.

Refer to these three sections in the syllabus for details about what should be submitted for the labs: online labs, LABS, and Laboratory Reports.

Labs 1, 3, 5, & 6 must be submitted and a grade for the quiz recorded. Anyone who does not will not get credit for the course.

Lab 1 has many options including field trips,virtual field trip, or astronomical observations. Some of these may require meaasurements at various times throughout the semester.

Any questions should be addressed before working on the lab exercise. It is highly recommended that you do not try to finsih a lab exercise in one session. Reading, thinking about the objective, and researching the techniques will be useful, just as you do not just take a vacation without knowing where you will go and how you will get there.

How do I submit the required materials for the labs?

Only lab quizzes will be submitted. This should be done after completion of the exercises.

Lab quiz dates are on the "labs" page.

Be sure to read the document entitled "The Lab Report" before you submit your formal lab report for lab 1, (which you will notice is actually the last one due at the end of the term).

How should I identify documents and the subject of email messages?

If all of them have the subject heading 'your mail' it will be nearly impossible for me to find a particular email.

If I have to change the title of attachments it takes time away from my involvement with YOU.

If you convey some very important information about being ill, or leaving town (for example) in a message that has a subject heading 'program 4', I will probably never be able to find that message again.

It is no more trouble to send two messages than to combine two unrelated subjects in one message, but it is quite a bit more difficult to recall those messages from the computer storage when the content is different from the subject.

Please include in the "subject" heading of the any document and the title of any attachment your last name and the assignment type and number. For example with attachments:





This will really help. You do not have to do it exactly as I would, but each document should be easily identifiable: who submitted it, what is being submitted.

You can use the Laulima drop box tab to submit documents. These will go into a special folder under your name. You may also attach documents using the Laulima "messages" tab, but make sure the document is clearly identified with your name both in the subject heading and on the document itself.


If you have a question do not "hide" something important in an another message assuming I will see it right away. Try as I might to stay current, I will not always get to reading all message right away.

I will always give first priority to individual comments and questions. My primary function is to help you accomplish the learning objectives. The more time I spend being a document clerk the less time I have to do that.

How should I save and organize my computer files?

Create a file folder (directory) in your documents directory, Call it Science 122 or Sci122.

Move all emails and other correspondence to this folder. Organize further by creating sub folders withing the main folder.

When you begin to work on a document save it with a name that is recognizable (see the comments about naming files above)

Save eveerything you are working on frequently. I routinely save a document whenever I pause.

Always save a copy of your work to disk before you send it. It can be a floppy disk or a hard drive. SAVE IT SOMEWHERE. Things have been known to get lost in the ether when being sent via email. If I don't get it and you don't have it then there's no credit for thework.

It doesn't happen often, but I have been known to misplace or misfile an electronic document, so I may have to humbly admit that and ask you to resubmit it.

I save all emails that I send and receive in a file under the student's name, but if those documents are not adequatelyl labelled (see note above) then it may be irretrievable. Information that is stored but unretrievable is no longer information!

How do I make the best use of the online materials?

Spend some time online with the web pages. Explore the links the way you would flip through the pages of a magazine. You will know what is there even if it is not of immediate interest.. Many students simply print out one web page and read it without exploring the links on that page while online.

You will miss a lot of material if you do that, especially with the labs where internal links often explain how to do measurements and calculations, or how to set up the experiment or draw a graph.

The web pages should be readable with any web browser. They have been tested with Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape, but the pages may look different depending on what software you are using to view them.

Most of the problems are due to settings that can be changed in 'preferences', or not having a necessary 'plug-in'. Some of these fixes may require more 'geekiness' than can be found in your household.

There are a lot of online resources, and technical help in the computer labs on all campuses. If you encounter a problem, ask me. I'm not an expert, but I've managed to learn enough to get by in designing and maintaing the Sci/Phys 122 website (which has about 3000 pages overall) as well as two other courses.

If I can't help I might be able to direct you to someone, or just tell you how to work aroundit.

In the preferences menu, set the font size to one you can read on screen, or use defaults.. All of the browsers allow you to change the size of the onscreen font, usually with the [command +] or [command -] keys.

You probably want to use a small screen font when printing. 9 point font is readable for most people (newspapers are typically 8 or 9 point)..

Let the browser use dynamic fonts, font colors, and backgrounds, all controllable from the preferences, which is somewhere in a pull-down menu in the menu bar.

If you do come across something on one of the course pages that does not open, is missing a graphic, or otherwise 'defective', send me an email with the URL of the web page that the link was on, and the name of the link.

If you don't know how to do this send me a message from Laulima and I'll help as much as I can since part of the goal of this course is to increase everyone's agility and confidence with using the computer and its software.

How can students in the class get to know one another?

Laulima has chat rooms and message boards for your use.

Send a message to anyone or everyone. Say, "hi, I'm ______. Did you understand the part about Plato's cave?" or something like that

It is important for you to talk to one another, like you would in a classroom, or outside the classroom (except about the exams and lab quizzes, of course).

Messages do not have to be long and involved.

You can include me in your dialogues or not. I am interested in what you talk about, and I can comment from time to time if you include me. If not, then OK. In either case talk to each other.

You might find the chats especially useful when discussing a lab exercise (but not a quiz). You can share your insights about the lab exercises with the rest of the class and also learn about the insights of others.

Shared learning is the way of the future, but always keep in mind that anything submitted for a grade must be your own work and not a collaboration.

There is no competition with anyone else since the overall grades are not based on a competetive curve.

All Sci/Phys 122 course materials ©1996 - 2012 by RCBrill, with all legal and attendant rights reserved

Updated 0817122