Assessment for this small-class seminar-style course is carefully designed with two main goals in mind. First, the workload is spread out as evenly as possible over time, to keep the stress burden minimized. Second, the grading scheme measures a variety of skill sets, to give everyone a chance to shine at something and to develop their abilities. The components are weighted as follows:-
The final exam will not require any algebra, only writing short answers to conceptual questions. While it will be a 3-hour exam, most students will need at most 2 hours to finish it.
Download this handy master calendar for reference.
|Week||Date||Class topic||Work due by 2:10PM||Work assigned after class|
|1||Jan.10||Intro & powers of 10|
|2||Jan.17||Particle physics||Essay 1: LHC and Higgs Boson|
|4||Jan.31||Einstein's refinements||Essay 1 (10%) [1500 words]||Oral Presentation topics list|
|5||Feb.07||GR & black holes||Oral Presentation preferences||Essay 2: Black Holes|
|7||Feb.28||Quantum wavyness||Essay 2 (10%) [1500 words]||Oral Presentation assignment|
|9||Mar.14||Cosmology 2||Oral Presentation draft notes (7%)||Essay 3: Cosmology|
|11||Mar.28||String theory||Essay 3 (10%) [1500 words]||(Polish & rehearse Oral Presentation)|
|12||Apr.04||[Student talks]||Oral Presentation (10%) [4 minutes]|
|[Apr.09-30]||[Exam period]||Final Exam (33%) [written, short answer]|
(Note: the final exam will only cover material from Weeks 2-11.)
Please see my policy on deadlines for details, especially the part about Grace Days.
I do all the teaching and all the grading in this course myself.
Anyone is welcome to read my essay grading rubric, which is based loosely on a template provided by UofT's Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI) at an upskilling seminar I attended when I started teaching this course in 2007.
For oral presentations, I grade on two criteria only: (1) physics accuracy, and (2) quality of pedagogy. I expect students to bring speech notes (and hand them in after their talk). This helps make the playing field as level as possible for students with a wide range of spoken English abilities.
Our course has enrolment limited to two dozen students, making it an unusually conducive environment for learning. In such a small class environment, which centres active learning, each student is a valued and important participant. As the semester progresses, you will find yourself actively learning from other students as well as from the professor. Therefore, to help ensure the best educational experience for everyone in the course, I ask that you please commit to regularly attending and participating in class seminars.
Because in-class participation is central to a seminar-style 199 course, I assign fully half of the participation grade to attendance. The other half I assess on the basis of how much a student speaks up in class and how much evidence they show of having done the assigned pre-class readings.
Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site.
If you do not wish to submit your work in this way, you will need to provide alternative documentation to prove that your work is your own. I require electronic and hard copies of two drafts of each essay in earlier stages of development as well as the final product.
Check out these links for more on academic integrity: