Engineering Physics

Physics 223

This course is designed for students majoring in mechanical engineering. It is a one-semester calculus based physics course covering topics in waves, electricity, magnetism, and optics. These areas of study are important in a wide variety of engineering applications. For example, an understanding of wave properties is essential in the proper design of structures. A knowledge of electric and magnetic fields is required for any system that involves transmission of electrons for either communication or power generation purposes. Finally, principles of optics are involved in fiber-optic communication, instrument design, scanners, surveillance, etc.


Learning Outcomes

In this course you will:

  1. Gain a knowledge and understanding of fundamental physical concepts in the areas covered in this class
  2. Apply an understanding of these concepts to various systems and devises.
  3. Acquire problem solving skills, mathematical techniques, and the ability to synthesize.


Before taking this course you must pass each of the following courses:

    • PH 121
    • ME 210
    • MATH 112 or MATH 215

Required Materials

Required Registrations

Google Hangouts on Air (HOA) is a web conferencing tool that will be used in the course. The use of this tool requires a Google account that is linked to a YouTube channel. Instructions for creating the necessary accounts are provided in the course.

HOA will be an integral part of a weekly Group Work activity in which you will be teamed with a partner to create screencasts explaining solutions for specific assigned questions. You will then share your screencasts with other class members. The use of HOA will be required to complete each Group Work activity, but you may also find it helpful as a collaboration tool for optional group study sessions.

Information is provided in the course on how to use the tool, how to create screencasts, and how to add others to a session, etc. This information is found in the Google Hangouts on Air page in the Resources module. Links to Google’s official documentation and support is also provided on that page.

Course Structure

The course is 14 weeks long; each week constitutes a “lesson.” The 14 lessons have been grouped into four units, as shown in the graphic on the left. An exam will occur at the end of each unit. Throughout the course you may view the graphic below in this page location: Welcome > Course Modules & Lessons.

Physics Course Map. This image shows the four main units in this course. Unit one includes lessons 1-3, Unit 2 includes lessons 4-7, Unit three includes lessons 8-11, Unit 4 includes lessons 12 -14.

BYU-Idaho Learning Model

It is important you understand the approach to online learning used at BYU-Idaho. Familiarize yourself with this by viewing the Orientation to Online Learning at BYU-Idaho video found in the Welcome module.

As in all BYU-Idaho courses (both on campus and online) the structure of this course is founded on the BYU-I Learning Model. It utilizes the following processes: Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder and Prove. These elements will be implemented through the instructional activities described below.


Teach one Another Ponder and Prove

In viewing the lesson structure described above, notice you have multiple opportunities to practice with the content—both individually and with peers. This is by design, since we learn through repetition. Also, the activities are designed to give you substantial support in the early phase of a lesson, then gradually the support decreases, culminating in the lesson quiz. Collectively, those activities will prepare you for the end-of-unit exams.

There are many learning models available in the world of instruction. Most of them have essentially the same elements as the BYU-I Learning Model. The true power of the BYU-I Learning Model is found in the principles behind it. Please take time now to review the BYU-Idaho Learning Model Principles and consider ways you can implement them in your study habits this semester.

Typical Weekly Pattern

Due to the use of the BYU-Idaho Learning Model, this is not an independent study course, meaning you may not work at your own pace. There is an established schedule for you to follow. This is necessary since you will work collaboratively with your classmates. 

Tasks to Complete by Day 2 (Tuesday 11 PM Mountain Time)

Tasks to Complete by Day 4 (Thursday 11 PM Mountain Time)

Tasks to Complete by Day 6 (Saturday 11 PM Mountain Time)

If you're thinking that the above list of typical weekly tasks is long—you're right! However, each one is important and necessary. None of the activities are “busy work;” they have been carefully crafted to provide the learning experiences you need to master physics concepts. Also, this is a four-credit course and you should spend 12-16 hours per week on the course. The above tasks can be realistically completed in that amount of time.

Task Lists

You may also wonder how you'll remember to complete each of the tasks listed in the section above. Since the course has many activities, a task list has been created for each of the days when items are due (Day 2, Day 4, Day 6). The task lists should always be your primary means of working through a lesson. 

The first item in each Day 2, Day 4, and Day 6 sub-module is the task list containing everything you need to do by that due date.

Tips for Success

This course will provide valuable learning experiences for you, if you are willing to make the effort to fully engage in the designed activities. As with most things in life, what you get out of this course will depend upon what you put into it. The following are important recommendations for success in this class:

Grading Policies

You will be graded on a linear scale (not curved). An “A” is a merit that will require dedication to coursework and mastery of subject matter. 

Grading Scale

This course will use the following standard BYU-Idaho grading scale:


 93% - 100%



 80% - 82%



 67% - 69%


 90% - 92%



 77% - 79%



 63% - 66%


 87% - 89%



 73% - 76%



 60% - 62%


 83% - 86%



 70% - 72%



 Below 60%

Grade Components

Grades will be determined as follows:



Study & Practice Completion


Conceptual Discussion Boards


Group Work




Competency Quizzes


Lesson quizzes



     Exam 1      -      6%

     Exam 2      -      9%

     Exam 3      -      9%

     Exam 4      -      6% 




Dues Dates

All due dates are set at 11 PM Mountain Time. Using the I-Learn Calendar and Content view, you may see due dates relative to your own time zone. Instructions regarding this are included in the Due Dates page of the Welcome module.

Late Work Policy

Students should complete their work on time, and generally, late work will not be accepted. However, the instructor has discretions to accept late work or extend due dates in case of extenuating circumstances.


Students in the BYU-Idaho Area
A walk-in tutoring lab is available. Experienced physics students staff this lab and are available to help you. Check in the Physics Department office (Romney 118) for the lab location and scheduled hours.

All Students

All students may arrange for tutoring through the Academic Support Center, which is dedicated to assisting online and campus students in their coursework. This is a free service for BYU-I students. To arrange a tutor, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to this page in the course: Welcome > Academic Support Center.
  2. Click on the large text near the top of the page that reads, “Request a Tutor.”
  3. Follow the prompts to arrange a tutor.

Online Student Support Center

The Online Student Support Center is available to help students with problems in online courses. If you have technical difficulties or notice a problem in the course, please report this problem to the Online Student Support Center.

Online Student Support Center Contact Information

Phone: (208) 496-1800
Toll-free Phone: (866) 672-2984
Live Chat: Use the link below to access the Live Chat feature
Website: Online Student Support Center


Each student has a responsibility to carefully read assigned materials and instructions. Questions should be noted and directed to your instructor. You also have the responsibility to contribute to others’ learning through your participation in discussion boards and review material with partners.

This syllabus and the course schedule may be changed at any time prior to or during the semester as the need arises based upon circumstances. Any changes will be available to view on the course documents.

Mutual Respect

All of your correspondence with the instructor and your classmates must be respectful. Writing something disrespectful or “venting” is unprofessional and not becoming of a BYU-Idaho student. In addition, it is not in accordance with the Honor Code and you will be disciplined accordingly.

University Policies

Read the University Policies found in the Welcome module in the course. See information about the following: Student Honor, Students with Disabilities, Sexual Harassment, and Complaints and Grievances.

Honor Code

Following the Honor Code is of great importance as you strive to be a disciple of Christ. Your commitment to live the Honor Code will contribute to the overall BYU-Idaho community. Your actions should be respectful and should foster an environment where all can feel the Spirit.

BYU-Idaho’s Dress and Grooming standards apply to all students, including online students. By adhering to the Honor Code you will create a learning environment, “consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” For more detailed information, see the Honor Code web page.

Academic Honesty

As followers of Christ, all BYU–Idaho students, staff, and faculty are expected to be honest in all their dealings. This also applies and extends to behavior and actions related to academic work. It is critical for students to understand the seriousness of academic dishonesty and misconduct, which are not tolerated by the University, and strive to produce and submit only the results of their own effort and original work.

To copy another person’s work from the Internet, a book, or from any other source and claiming it to be your own work, is plagiarism. Read the official definitions of plagiarism and cheating from the Academic Honesty portion of the Honor Code. It is worth remembering that while students are encouraged to work with one another and share ideas, the sharing of text, code, or anything like unto it is inappropriate. Remember: There is never an acceptable excuse for plagiarism or cheating.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

Although the Academic Honesty section of the University Policies explains what constitutes each of the many forms of academic dishonesty, as well as procedures and guidelines for handling such incidents, specific application of consequences are left up to each individual instructor.

In this course, instructors will be responsible for creating and applying their own policy regarding penalties for academic dishonesty. Penalties may vary from point deductions to receiving a zero on the entire assignment. In some cases, the instructor may report an incident to the University Honors Office. Cases will be analyzed on an individual basis and penalties applied according to the severity of the misconduct.

Course Navigation and Getting Started

You are encouraged to view this I-Learn 3 Introduction. It provides helpful tips for using I-Learn 3.0 features. This video contains helpful time-saving tips that are new to many students—even those familiar with I-Learn 3. Taking nine minutes to watch this video is a wise time investment.

You should always navigate the course by going to the course itself, not simply navigating from the calendar in the I-Learn 3.0 Homepage. Doing the latter gives you a very different (and unintended) experience. To navigate this course effectively, always select this course from the I-Learn 3.0 Homepage. When you initially enter PH 223 course, it will display information from your instructor. Read that, then select the Content option at the top of the page. Navigate through the current lesson by reading the overview in the Introduction sub-module, then using the task lists found at the beginning of the other sub-modules. Use the Calendar to give you an overview of due dates, but navigate through a lesson by actually going to the Content view in the course. 

Get started by doing the following: