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Mastering Physics online homework system

  1. Feb 6, 2006 #1
    Any chance that anyone else has dealth with the online homework system Mastering Physics? My current General Physics 1 course uses this system because of several studies the company showed the Physics Department heads about how this form of online homework and a "conceptual learning" approach really improves a student's ability to learn Physics.

    I just can't seem to adjust to doing homework online. Anyone else dealt with this or have any advice? I know that this problem won't go away because online homework and assignments are getting more popular very quickly!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2006 #2


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    I haven't used it but I do use Knight's book. I just wanted to know if you use it too?
  4. Feb 6, 2006 #3
    I have used it before. I prefer doing physics homework on paper and pencil.
  5. Feb 6, 2006 #4
    I use University Physics by Young and Freeman. I indeed encounter difficulty with online assignment. I hate the keystroke that is required for maths notation. Also, The access serial code costs 41 dollars and what we get from it? Nothing but convinience for the professor or TA. Online-based Homework indeed is just a way to guarantee students are required to buy new books that accompanied with the online access code or the access code itself which costs as much as an used book. (exclude the site that actually constructed by professor and it does not charge.)
  6. Feb 7, 2006 #5
    I also am using knights book, and we are also doing homework online, but we use a different system. It is called WebAssign, and I kind of like it.
  7. Feb 7, 2006 #6
    My campus uses Knight's book (He teaches here) as well as Mastering Physics. Personally, I dislike the book (I didn't have too much of a problem when I used it, since I rarely looked at it, but more and more as I look back at it in the course of it getting mentioned here, and helping people who live in my building with their homework, I dislike it more and more). Part of this has to do with the purpose of the book I suppose. Its not meant to teach intro physics really. Its more meant to teach problem solving skills to engineering majors. And I don't think its so bad at that part(well, I think it does that better than it does the intro physics part).

    As for Mastering Physics, a lot of people I know hated it. I didn't mind it so much, I actually found that my online assignments went faster and were easier, and I liked the instant feedback when I made a mistake (my professors typically had very lenient grading systems set up in the software, you could usually make 3 or 4 mistakes before you started losing points).

    My advice: Do the problem fully on paper, like you would if it was a book problem, just enter the solution on line. Focus on setting the problem up. The rest of it doesn't matter so much, if you set the problem up properly you'll get the right answer usually. 90% of the time when people here come to me with Mastering Physics questions their mistake was in setting up the problem incorrectly. Carefully define your coordinate systems and be consistent with them.
  8. Feb 7, 2006 #7
    Like some of you mentioned, we are also using the Knight Physics book, and I also dislike the text. It focuses too much on "conceptual" learning rather thanm actually solving the problem quanititatively. I prefer the Halliday/Resnicks/Walker text. I'm a Physics major and am honestly worried about whether or not this book will prepare me for all the rest of the classes that I need to take.

    I have trouble trying to figure out what Mastering Physics wants to see. I know that the Knight book is trying to stop students from "equation hunting" but instead, I'm hunting for answers of what I think Mastering Physics may want to see. I even heard other kids in my class talking the other day, and they became so frustrated that they took turns with clicking "show answer" that way they could share the point penalty and still do fairly well. What kind of learning is that?
  9. Feb 7, 2006 #8


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    I have used it.

    Sometimes the hints it gives you when you get a question wrong are helpful, but mostly not in my experience.
    Probably the thing I dislike the most is when you get to the end of a problem, you enter in the answer and, boom, it uncovers another 3 parts to the question that were previously invisible.
    But over all, I feel pretty neutral about it.
  10. Feb 7, 2006 #9
    I wouldn't worry so much about that. While I agree the text is lacking in that regard, you'll be retaught most everything important anyway at a higher level. The only trouble I've had is that coming out of the third quarter class with that book (all the electricity and magnetism stuff) I was very underprepared for my electronic instrumentation class. Although, I'm not sure if this is because we didn't cover the material well enough in the class with Knight's book, or if its because my electronic instrumentation class is a whole year of electrical engineering classes crammed into a single quarter (3 quarters in the regular academic year). Either way, most of the class is struggling pretty badly in that class. And that is the only part of the book that you don't completely relearn and replace altogether. So for that part, you may want to supplement the book with another, like Halliday/Resnick. Otherwise you should be fine.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2006
  11. Feb 7, 2006 #10

    I do like the book, but I think only problem with it is that it focuses too much on the QUANTATATIVE aspect of everything. But I am not a physics major.
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