Course Syllabus

PH 223 - Engineering Physics 


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.



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

  • PH 121
  • MATH 112 or MATH 215

Required Resources

  • Textbook: Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach with Modern Physics, 4th Edition by Randall D. Knight
    • The course uses the eBook format. It is an auto-access book (integrated into the I-Learn course) and is delivered through RedShelf. It is accessible the first day of the semester. Your student financial account will be charged automatically on the first day of class. The cost is approximately $92.  
    • You are required to purchase the eBook since it includes required exercises from the Modified Mastering Physics component of the eBook. These activities are integrated into the course. See more information about accessing the textbook in the Textbook Access and Pearson Account section below. 
    • If desired, you may also purchase an optional loose-leaf copy of the textbook for $45 from the University Store. That is a special reduced price that only applies for students who have paid the required auto-access fee.  
      • Print ISBN (loose-leaf): 9780134092508
  • Access to a computer/laptop with internet connection
  • Web camera and microphone
  • Scientific calculator, graphing calculator, or mathematical software (such as Maple or Mathematica)

Proctored Exams and Assessments

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to this help guide article (Links to an external site.).


The course content is structured into four units, as shown in the graphic below. An exam is administered at the end of each unit. 

Unit Structure: Lessons 1-3 for Unit 1, lessons 4-7 for Unit 2, lessons 8-11 for Unit 3, and lessons 12-14 for Unit 4.

Accessible Course Overview Graphic

Course 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 devices.
  3. Acquire problem solving skills, mathematical techniques, and the ability to synthesize.

 Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes (CO).

Major Assignments
Major Assignment Description CO#
W03 Exam 01 Exam on weeks 01-03 1.2.3
W07 Exam 02 Exam on weeks 04-07 1.2.3
W11 Exam 03 Exam on weeks 08-11 1.2.3
W14 Exam 04 Exam on weeks 12-14 1.2.3

Weekly Patterns

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Weekly Patterns
Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Beginning of the Week Teach One Another Group work Work with your partner to complete the task of the week
Beginning of the Week Teach One Another Discussion Participate in this discussion, consisting of an initial post, response posts, and a final statement.


Prove Quiz/Report Report study completion
Midweek Midweek Assignment Solve all of the group work problems for this week and submit your document.  

*Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

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 in the Week 01 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. There are many learning models available in the world of instruction. Most of them have essentially the same process steps as the BYU-I Learning Model. However, 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.

The BYU-I Learning Model utilizes the following process steps: Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder and Prove. These elements will be implemented in the course through the instructional activities described below.


  • Study Pages 
    A Study page exists in the course for each of the sub-topics. (View the sub-topics in white text in the graphic above.) Study pages contain assigned readings, instructional videos, problem-solving tutorial videos, and a “Check Your Understanding” activity where you respond to a set of questions related to the content learned in the readings and videos. The Study pages also link you to the corresponding Exercises and direct you to make your first attempt at answering them. There is no direct submission in the Study pages, however, in the middle of the week, you self-report on your completion of the various learning activities contained within them. 
Teach one Another
  • Topic Discussions
    Each week you participate in a Topic Discussion. These discussions focus on establishing a correct conceptual understanding of physics principles (as opposed to focusing on quantitative calculations). You interact with your group throughout the week and the conversation centers on one important concept from the week's content. 
  • Group Work
    Each week you work through a set of 10 problems. Early in the week you work with an assigned partner to create screencasts demonstrating the solution for two of the problems. Your screencasts are shared with your discussion group. Your group then discusses the solutions to reach a consensus regarding the correct answer for each of the 10 problems. You individually submit your solutions for the problem set. Your submitted work should demonstrate your ability to apply the process steps for solving problems. 
Ponder and Prove
  • Exercises
    Exercises consist of sets of free-response problems and multiple choice questions from the Modified Mastering Physics activities that are a part of the integrated textbook. For free-response problems, you are allowed a total of six attempts and there is no penalty associated with each successive attempt. You receive feedback after each attempt. Repeated attempts are intended to help you develop mastery of the content. For multiple choice questions, you receive a 10% reduction for each attempt (to discourage guessing). The Exercises assignments provide an opportunity for you to apply principles learned. Most of them involve calculations using physics formulas. 
  • Exams
    There are four exams in the course. An exam occurs at the conclusion of each unit and covers content from the weeks within the unit. As shown in the graphic above, there are three to four weeks per unit.

In reading the activity descriptions 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 part of a week, then gradually the support decreases, culminating in the end-of-unit exams. Collectively, the course activities prepare you for the end-of-unit exams.

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:

  • As was mentioned above, this is a four-credit course. University policy states that students should spend three to four hours per credit hour per week. Therefore, you should plan to spend 12-16 hours per week on this course. Consider the scripture, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28) Create a schedule now in which you block out segments of time you will dedicate to completing work for this class. Block out a minimum of 12 hours. If you aim to receive a high grade, block out more time. (In the Course Introduction Quiz, you report your completion of creating a schedule.)
  • At the beginning of each week, read the Introduction and your instructor’s Announcements. Then, evaluate the work to be done in the week and plan your work.
  • Always use the Modules view in the course as your primary means of working through the week. Other I-Learn features, such as the Calendar and To-do List are helpful tools, but do not provide the comprehensive view that is available in the Modules view. 
  • Plan your time so you work consistently throughout each week of the course. You will have a quality learning experience and less stress if you spread the work out in each week. Don't wait until the day something it due to begin it. 

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:

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 93.0% – 100%
A- 90.0% – 92.9%
B+ 87.0% – 89.9%
B 83.0% – 86.9%
B- 80.0% – 82.9%
C+ 77.0% – 79.9%
C 73.0% – 76.9%
C- 70.0% – 72.9%
D+ 67.0% – 69.9%
D 63.0% – 66.9%
D- 60.0% – 62.9%
F 00% – 59.9%

Grade Components

Grades will be determined as follows:

Grade Components



Study Completion


Topic Discussions


Group Work





     Exam 1      -      8%

     Exam 2      -      12%

     Exam 3      -      12%

     Exam 4      -      8% 




Due Dates

Using the I-Learn Modules view, Calendar, To-do List, and Course Summary at the bottom of this syllabus page, you may see due dates relative to your own time zone, if you apply the appropriate settings in your user account.

Late Work Policy

As a sign of professionalism and respect, you should complete your work on time, and generally, late work will not be accepted. However, the instructor has the discretion to accept late work or extend due dates in case of extenuating circumstances.

Textbook Access & Pearson Account

When you initially access your textbook, follow the steps below.

NOTE: You must complete these steps before clicking into any of the Exercise pages in the course.

  1. Navigate to the Textbook Information module in the course.
  2. Click the link titled, “Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach: RedShelf Link.” When you first access this link, you are asked to create a Pearson account or to log into your account if you have previously used a Pearson product. You only log in on your first access the textbook. Thereafter, I-Learn recognizes you may be passed through to the auto-access textbook and Mastering Physics. 
  3. Select the “View Course Materials” button. 
    NOTE: If at any point you are asked to supply a course ID number, you have not created your Pearson account (or logged into it, if you already have one). Return to Step 1 if that happens. 
  4. Select the “Start Reading” option. 


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 the Academic Support Centers webpage. (This link is also available in the Student Resources module in the course.)
  2. In the upper left, click the “Tutor Request” option.
  3. Follow the prompts to arrange a tutor.

Online Student Support Center

If you need assistance or experience technical difficulties, visit the I-learn help tab located on the left-hand side of your screen to contact the appropriate 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 online discussions.

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

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office (Links to an external site.) at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations (Links to an external site.). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course includes required synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

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 cheating and 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 Summary:

Date Details Due