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Welcome to PY 205


PY205 (mechanics) is the first semester of two semester-long, three-credit-hour, calculus-based courses. The two courses together satisfy the introductory physics requirements for physical science and engineering students.

Delivery Method

This course consists of two asynchronous online components:

- Lessons
- Homework Assignments,

and one off-line component:

- Tests.

All these components are scheduled. This means that for the online components there is a certain time window during which each Lesson, and Homework Assignment is available and can be submitted for earned course grade points. Learning is distributed over time in a way that (i) allows the student some flexibility to choose the time of day and time of week to study physics and (ii) encourages disciplined regular study while discouraging procrastination.

When this course is taught face-to-face, students meet as a large group with an instructor for two 75-minute lectures. In the online course a student participates alone in front of his or her computer. In one typical week an online student is expected to watch the assigned Lessons. Online students are expected to spend as much time at their computer-based Lessons as the face-to-students do in attending their lectures.

Students are expected to spend at least 6 hours each week working on this course, including the time needed to thoroughly study the textbook and the lessons, and including the time needed to complete the homework assignments.

Beginning in the spring of 2014 the lessons will be recordings of Professor Michael Paeslers Tuesday/Thursday lectures. They will be available in the spring on the afternoon of his lecture. Future semesters will have all videos available at once.

The textbook is required for this course. While you will enjoy the ability to watch the lecture multiple times if needed to help understand a topic you will not be able to raise your hand and ask a question. The book should be studied, not just read. This means first of all reading every word—including figure captions, examining each figure, and following carefully each step of every worked-out example. Then go back through the assigned sections to identify and classify concepts, definitions, principles, properties and laws and match them to the learning objectives.

Starting in the spring of 2014 the lab is no longer part of PY 205. It is now a separate 1-hour course, PY 206. PY 206 is a co-requisite for PY 205 and must be signed up for at the same time. Presently there is not a distance ed version of the lab so students will be required to come to campus for the lab.

If you are not going to be within 50 miles of campus when you take the course you may ask either DELTA or myself for an exception. Those students who show they cannot attend the labs will be allowed to register for PY 205 alone and then makeup the lab at a later date.

Homework Assignments
Homework assignments will consist entirely of problems selected from the end-of-chapter lists in the textbook. They will be closely tied to each lesson, the associated reading, and the learning objectives. These questions will be delivered online via WebAssign©, and they will be similar in number and difficulty to those problems assigned to students in the face-to-face course. Homework assignments will usually consist of three or four problems per Lesson, and will be submitted several times each week. Instant feedback is provided, and multiple submissions are permitted.

The three Tests will each consist of 20 multiple-choice questions. The test problems will be primarily quantitative,and will be based on the same concepts as the problems worked for homework and those worked out in detail as Examples in the Lessons and as Sample Problems in the textbook. Questions and problems will be selected to assess students’ mastery of the learning objectives. They will probe learning accomplished within all components of the course, including material discussed in the lecture, the textbook, and in the online homework.The same comments apply to the Final Exam, except that for the Final Exam all the questions are of the multiple-choice type.


The prerequisite for PY205 is Calculus I (equivalent to NCSU's MA141) with a grade of C- or higher.

You will be allowed to enroll in the online physics course once you have demonstrated that you have satisfied the pre-requisite. In order to do that, please send a copy of your transcript, together with your NCSU student ID# (see previous paragraph) to

Dr. Lynda H. Hambourger,
DELTA/Distance Education
Phone: 919-513-1879

For information regarding registration deadlines and fees, please visit the Distance Education web site:


Required Text and Materials

Physics for Scientist & Engineers, 4th edition, volume 1, Giancoli

You must have the textbook in hand by the first day of class.

Textbook Purchasing Options
Option #1: You may buy the textbook anywhere you can get a good price. (The price of a new hard-bound Giancoli book—volume 1 only—at the NCSU Bookstores is $250.00 new or $109 rental, price subject to change.) If you choose to order a textbook online, be sure the vendor can guarantee delivery before the first day of class. [As an alternative, you may rent the textbook from the NCSU Bookstores.]

Online Homework System (Required)
Contact WebAssign, the online homework service, to purchase access and/or your e-book (see e-book information below). You will have a few weeks’ grace period to purchase access, which you can do online. Here’s how: 
a. Point your browser to
b. Log in using your Unity ID and password. (If you are not an NCSU student, you received a Unity login name and a temporary password from Registration and Records when you enrolled in the course.)
c. Select your course from the pull-down menu.
d. Click on Purchase an access code online.
e. Select your course and click Continue.
f. the rest should be straightforward.


No special software purchase is required for this course. Everything you will need comes installed when you buy your computer, or can be downloaded for free from the Internet.


Broadband (DSL, cable modem for off-campus students; wireless, any campus computer lab or dorm room connection): This is preferred over slower dial-up connections as you will be downloading and watching 75 minute lectures.
Warning: If you work from home, your internet connection will be your weakest link. Be sure you have a reliable provider, and make it a practice to always submit assignments several hours before their deadlines in case you lose power or your connection goes dead. It’s also a good idea to have a back-up plan. For example, public libraries often have Internet-ready computers free for use by local residents.

In order to access course Lessons and WebAssign, you will need your Unity login ID (NOT the same as your nine-digit university identification number) and password. If you don’t know what those are, then this is a good time to find out. You can do that by going to

NCSU provides a Gmail account to all registered students, and it has many of the features you would want in an e-mail client. Two that are critically important are (1) the ability to send and receive mail from any computer anywhere in the world, and (2) a really effective SPAM blocker. For details go to
Get into the habit of checking your NCSU Gmail account regularly. Feedback from interactive forms (e.g. scores from reading quizzes, activity quizzes, lab forms and reports, to name a few) is sent to your NCSU gmail account. Some important class announcements will be sent to your preferred e-mail address (the one you have listed with Registration and Records). Be sure that you keep the University informed if you change your preferred e-mail address. You can update your address information at the Registration and Records web site.


 Assessment will come from homework assignments, mid terms and the final exam.

Best of luck!