Learn From Past Students

At the end of last semester, I asked the students in my Physics 231 what would have they done differently at the beginning of the class if they could. I wanted them to share their thoughts so that future students can benefit. Here is what I got.

Question. If you could have a do-over, what would you have done differently at the beginning of our class?

Physics 231 Student Answers:

  • Did the lab more carefully
  • I would have accessed the class notes and started watching the videos a whole lot sooner.
  • Paid more attention to the syllabus because I wasn’t aware quizzes were on a P/F grading scale based on getting 60% or higher.
  • Complete Assignment early as possible.
  • Other than applying my self to the class a little more, I don’t think I’d do anything differently.
  • Turn in my assignments on time.
  • If I could start over, I would have done my assignments on time and ask a lot of questions.
  • I would pay more attention to the details and making sure to get everything on the first couple of labs.
  • If I could have a do over, I would be less scared about the weekly quizzes and focus more on the exams and more of whether I understand the topic.
  • the problem is my lab i will (reserve) more time for that
  • Keep up with all the assignments

And here is what PHY 232 students had to say to the same question:

  • Ask questions when I’m lost
  • Take notes regularly. Practice Socrative questions again before test.
  • Actually bought a multimeter and not tried to use my own.
  • Try to make more friends and use the break out rooms wiser. I think that there was progress here and there but in the end I did not make full use of it.
  • Made appointments with the professor and asked more questions.

PHY 231-232 with Prof. Stantcheva in a Remote Format

(Last Revised August 8, 2021)
Too many students are asking what and how I teach in a remote format. Here is a list of FAQs that I prepared to help students with their enrollment decisions as it has become clear that  Spring 2020 will be another entirely remotely taught semester.

Do students need to be present during class?

While I strongly advise students to be present during our class meetings, attendance is not mandatory. HOWEVER, you must keep up with the weekly work and submit all assignments on time. Also, if you missed a class, view the recording of it, as I do not repeat material covered in class. Office hours are for individual help but not for re-lecturing.

What do we need to purchase for the class?

You are not required to purchase a textbook. I strongly recommend that you obtain one, however. Here are the currently approved textbook for the class.

All class resources are either available on the web or in Canvas including our online homework. You do not need to purchase access to them.

You must purchase lab supplies for our PHY 231 experiments.  For Physics 231, that amounts to about $20. For Physics 232 – it is close to $50. Detailed list of those supplies are posted in your Canvas space. There are also limited supplies that can be borrowed from the Alexandria Campus lab.

Do we use the lab periods?

I use all the class periods – both lab and lecture. If you have an occasional appointment and have to miss a class – it is ok on rare occasions but not recommended as it is easy to get confused and fall behind. During lab, I guide students through the lab activity, and then the class breaks out in separate zoom rooms while students work on their labs. I circle through the zoom rooms and help the lab groups.

What do we do during lecture time?

For lectures, I lecture via Zoom for about an hour, and we use the remaining time for students to practice. I set up basic practice quizzes via Socrative.com and answer students while they work on the questions. I remain in the zoom session during the entire duration of the lecture and the lab. Students can access the zoom recordings from within Canvas. I also have my own youtube videos and google quizzes, which I use for homework.

Why do we need to use the Google Suite?

One important thing in my class is that we work a lot with the Google Suite – spreadsheets, forms, docs, slides, etc. The Google Suite is unique for allowing us to collaborate easily – between you and me and between you and your classmates. If you send me a link to a Google file with the correct editing permissions, I will give you feedback directly in your file and point out what needs to be corrected or modified.

What are the tests like?

I don’t use the Respondus lockdown browser. Neither do I use Zoom to monitor tests. I do not require students to turn on their cameras. I do require, however, that everyone learn to use the Google Suite for which I help them.

We have several tests in Canvas of approximately ten problems each. We also do one or more class projects – in the form of quick Canvas quizzes. Students may search the Internet as long as they don’t ask someone else for the solutions.

What are all the tech tools used in our class?

  • Zoom for class time and recordings
  • Canvas for tests, assignments, and grades keeping
  • Google Tools
    • The Drive to store and share class notes and other class materials
    • The Suite for easy sharing and collaboration and for quick feedback from me on classwork
    • The Forms as quizzes for free online homework
  • Socrative.com – for class practice and participation
  • Slack – as a backup means for communication (for when the College system is down) and as a chat platform for students to get in touch with me and with each other.

What kind of textbooks do we use?

I do not require a textbook. I recommend that students have one, but many choose to stick to their class notes, the class recordings, and the available youtube videos.

Virginia Space Grant Scholarships & Fellowships for 2017-2018

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is pleased to announce the 2017 -2018 Scholarship and Fellowship Program.  Please share this announcement with anyone you believe may be eligible or interested.
1)     The Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides a one-year scholarship of up to $8,500 to support undergraduate students actively engaged in faculty-mentored research of interest to NASA. Contact: VSGC@odu.edu  757-766-5210. http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/sf/undergrad/ 
2)       The Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program provides $6,000 in support to graduate students actively engaged in a faculty-mentored research project of interest to NASA.  The Fellowship is renewable for one year. Contact: Contact: VSGC@odu.edu 757-766-5210.http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/sf/gradfellow/
3)      The STEM Bridge Scholarship Program provides $1,000 renewable awards to sophomore students from any federally recognized minority group enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM at one of the five Virginia Space Grant member universities. Contact: Dr. Tysha Sanford, Education Programs Manager at tsanford@odu.edu, 757-766-5210. http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/sf/Bridge/

NASA Community College Research Experiences for Summer 2017

Virginia community college sophomores can once again apply for paid NASA research experiences through the Virginia Space Grant Consortium’s (VSGC) STEM Takes Flight Build-Fly-Learn NASA Research Experiences for Virginia’s Community College Students program. The VSGC and the Virginia Community College System in partnership with NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore anticipate offering at least 23, ten-week, paid, summer research experiences for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors. The research experience takes place during the summer of 2017. This is the program’s third year.

Students selected to participate in Stem Takes Flight NASA Research Experiences will work directly with NASA research advisors on diverse projects for NASA Langley Research Center’s Research and Engineering Directorates and NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Students will be selected for projects such as wind tunnel experiments/data analysis, small satellite hardware development, unmanned aerial systems, and environmental and water quality projects and more.

The STEM Takes Flight NASA Research Experience provides students with real-world, hands-on learning experiences while exposing them to the wide range of STEM career options at NASA. Past participants have expressed how much this opportunity has broadened their skills and encouraged them to take career paths they had not considered.

Qualified applicants are undergraduate STEM majors, including those pursuing technician degrees, who are at least a rising sophomore and not graduating prior to May or June of 2017. They must be a US Citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a full or part-time student taking a minimum of 6-9 credit hours. Selected students will receive a $5,000 stipend. Assistance in locating safe affordable housing is provided upon request.

The application deadline is February 10, 2017. Learn more and apply online at http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/STEMtakesFlight/