I'm almost finished with my first years of physics and I've noticed a few things. Granted each school is different but people out there with some more insight can perhaps clarify. 1. Even for an interested student of physics there seems to be far too much material covered over these courses that anyone can actually be expected to retain all of it in a meaningful way. I am contrasting here with my math courses where ideas are introduces and covered nearly to the full extent before moving on. I suppose that this is the function of higher level courses in physics but it seems rather odd to me. 2. Most of the stuff we are learning in intro physics is explained away with weak explanations. Sometimes situations are made so idealized that you begin to wonder the point of study them, other time the explanations are simply glimpsed over. More often than not most of what we are learning is not even really true anyways. So I guess my question comes down to 1) Who are these classes really for? I think that for a physics major a course at a slower pace where things are shown in greater depth the first time could be sufficient. For a non major, why not just get them acquainted with some of the interesting concepts of modern physics? 2)Are there any alternative ways to teach intro physics? I really think this stuff I spent nearly a year knocking about learning I could have handled in much less time and I could have gotten onto the parts of physics I care about and have interest in. Clearly the fundamental ideas are needed (work, conservation principles,etc etc) but that can probably be covered pretty quickly and easily in addendum to a course that starts with no previous knowledge of physics and goes up to say junior year mechanics? My guess is that the whole thing is really a result of the math preparation of students not really being up to the level of being able to do proper physics until a few semesters in and that these courses are just kind of "busy work" until you get your maths up? Feel free to move this to Gen. Discussion if it is more applicable there. Thanks.