Course Syllabus

Welcome to PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Saylor Student Handbook.


Course Description

Examination of waves and oscillations in extended objects; sources and laws that govern static electricity and magnetism; Maxwell's equations; optics; and Einstein's theory of special relativity.


Course Introduction

In this course, we will first learn about waves and oscillations in extended objects using classical mechanics. We will also establish the sources and laws that govern static electricity and magnetism. A brief look at electrical measurements and circuits will help us understand how electromagnetic effects are observed, measured, and applied. We will then see how Maxwell's equations unify electric and magnetic effects and how the solutions to Maxwell's equations describe electromagnetic radiation, which will serve as the basis for understanding all electromagnetic radiation, from very low frequency, long wavelength radio waves to the most powerful astrophysical gamma rays. We will briefly study optics, using practical models largely consistent with the predictions of Maxwell's equations but that are easier to use. Finally, this course provides a brief overview of Einstein's theory of special relativity. We will assume that you have a basic knowledge of calculus.

This course will require you to complete a number of problems. Unlike mechanics, most of the phenomena encountered in the field of electromagnetism are not found in everyday experience - at least, not in a form that makes the actual nature of the phenomena clear. As a result, learning electromagnetism involves developing intuition about a rather unintuitive area of physics. In the end, developing physical intuition is less about getting a right answer than it is about getting a wrong answer and then understanding why it is wrong. In an ideal situation, this course would require you to both work out problems concerning the phenomena and observe various important phenomena in the laboratory. However, because this is an online course, we do not have the luxury of lab sessions. We have included a number of interactive demonstrations to compensate for this. When you approach a problem, try to work out the size of those quantities that clarify the basic nature of the question proposed. Thinking of these numbers as data from an ideal laboratory will help you develop a sense of how electromagnetism works – a sense that most people do not get from the mathematical description of the physics.

This course is comprised of the following units:

  • Unit 1: Selected Topics in Vector Calculus and Differential Equations
  • Unit 2: Mechanical Vibrations and Waves in Extended Objects
  • Unit 3: Electrostatics
  • Unit 4: Electronic Circuit Theory
  • Unit 5: Magnetism
  • Unit 6: Electromagnetic Induction
  • Unit 7: Maxwell's Equations
  • Unit 8: Optics
  • Unit 9: Special Relativity


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • analyze situations involving simple harmonic motion;
  • apply Hooke's law to solve problems involving springs;
  • apply Coulomb's and Gauss' laws to solve problems involving electric charges and fields;
  • apply the formulas for the electric potential and electric potential energy;
  • solve problems involving circuits and the basic components of a circuit (resistor, battery, inductor, and capacitor);
  • solve problems involving magnetic fields of certain objects (permanent magnets, current-carrying wires, wire loops, and solenoids) and Ampere's law;
  • solve problems involving the motion of a charged particle in electric and magnetic fields;
  • use Faraday's and Lenz's laws to solve problems involving electromagnetic induction;
  • use Maxwell's equations to explain some of the properties of electromagnetic waves;
  • solve problems involving image formation by the mirrors and lenses and the laws of refraction;
  • explain electromagnetic phenomena on the basis of the wave nature of light; and
  • explain the postulates and consequences of the special and general theories of relativity.

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are readings, lectures, video tutorials, and other resources.

All course materials are free to access, and can be found through the links provided in each unit and subunit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will instruct you as to what specifically to read or watch at a given point in the course, and help you to understand how these individual materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also access a list all of the materials used in this course by clicking on Resources in the course's "Activities" menu.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Saylor Certificate of Completion.

There are also 8 unit assessments in this course. These are intended to help you to gauge how well you are learning and do not factor into your final course grade. You may retake all of these as many times as needed to feel that you have an understanding of the concepts and material covered. You can locate a full list of these sorts of assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course’s “Activities” menu.


Earning College Credit

This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor’s Direct Credit Program. If you are seeking to earn college credit, you must opt to take and pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and require the presence of a proctor. Upon passing that final exam you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate, and will be eligible to earn an Official Transcript. For more information about applying for college credit review the “Guide: College Credit Opportunities”. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details (fees, technical requirements, etc.)

Note: There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no imposed wait period between attempting the non-credit certificate-bearing exam and the credit exam. Some credit exams have a maximum number of attempts allowed, which will be detailed on the exam’s instructions page.


Tips for Success

PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism is a self-paced course in which you the learner determines when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or predetermined schedule to follow. While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 97 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Pay special attention to Unit 1, as it will lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, explanatory material presented in the latter units.
  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories as you read. This can help you differentiate and contextualize concepts and later provide you with a refresher as you study.
  • As you progress through the materials, take time to test yourself on what you have retained and how well you understand the concepts. The process of reflection is important for creating a memory of the materials you learn; it will increase the probability that you ultimately retain the information.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at https://discourse.saylor.org.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should have:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it’s advised that you log in to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.
  • Occasionally, Flash may be required to run certain multimedia and/or interactive applications in the course. Should you be prompted to enable Flash, click the option to allow or follow these instructions for enabling Flash on your computer or laptop.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor’s tech-FAQ and the Moodle LMS tutorial.


Fees

There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This course does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.


Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2018, 3:58 PM