I am not getting the general class emails from the professor when other students do

The email listserve is constructed at the start of the semester from the record of those registered for the class.  If you were not squared away in this course with the registrar at the time that list was constructed, you will not be on that list and you must be added manually.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell your professor that you need to be added to the class email listserve.   Provide him with your email address.

I forgot to hand in my problem set at the end of class

If you get it to me before I hand the stack of problem sets to one of the TA's I'll put it in the pile.  Otherwise, take solace in the fact that the course is set up to allow you to miss several problem sets at no penalty.  Feel free to put it in my mailbox or under my office door.  Be aware that f the stack is already in the hands of the TA's, it will not count.

The professor's office hours conflict with my schedule and I want to speak with him

Professor Gourdain is happy to set up appointments via email, phone or in person.   Meeting with you is part of the job.  But, you must make the first move!

I need more examples done in lecture

Lecture time is not about doing problems. Workshops are all about doing problems. The problems done in lectures are only there to help you understand concepts. The problems done in workshops are there to teach you how to solve physics problems.


I am unable to make my scheduled workshop section

Then go to a different workshop section this week, if possible.  If not, then try to do the workshop module problems on your own.  Talk to friends who went to workshop to make sure you understand them. And let Prof. Gourdain know so you are not penalized formissing a workshop.

My workshop section does not seem to work for me

Workshop sections will vary due to different leaders and different students.  You may find yourself in one that you think moves too fast or too slow.  You may not be comfortable enough in the workshop to ask questions or speak up for a variety of reasons.   The leader's responsibility is to facilitate the learning in the workshop.   They should keep it moving, but only as everyone comes to understand how each problem is done.  Some students may be particularly swift or slow and face some frustration, or create frustration in others.  If you are particularly swift, try playing a leading role in explaining to others how you think your way through problems.   You may be surprised how much you learn in the process of teaching.  If you are particularly slow, consider looking over and thinking about the workshop problems before you arrive in workshop.  The module will be on the web in advance.  Also, take advantage of office hours and the SPS help room.  If you get a head start on thinking about the problems, you may get more out of the section and cause less frustration in your swifter classmates. 

If your workshop section does not work for you after some attempt on your part to adjust as described above, if appropriate, shop for a workshop section that fits your needs better.  The sections are listed on the class web page. Find one where you feel comfortable.

If you believe there is something wrong in the way your section is operating or you find fault in your leader or the workshop module problems, please come find me or email me and let me know.  I can't adjust anything if I don't know what is wrong.  If the problem is in your concept of the workshop, we can talk a bit about that so you will know what to expect. 


I am unable to log on to sign up for a lab sectionEmail the lab administrator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell them about it.  Include your student ID in the email.  They will add you to the signup database as soon as possible

I am unable to make my scheduled lab section

Email the lab administrator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sometimes there is room in other sections and you could attend one of those.  If not, there will be a couple of laboratory makeup days near the end of the term and you can do the lab then.

I have issues/problems with the labs or lab instructors

For any issues regarding labs, email the laboratory administrator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   If you do not get a timely response or have a problem with how your issue is resolved, contact Professor Gourdain.


I am unable to complete this week's problem set due to some good reason

Let me know FIRST. Then do the homework ASAP and give it to me to be graded.

I am spending long hours doing my homeworks and it takes me away from updating my facebook page. What should I do?

A weekly homework should take between 1 and 2 hours to do. If it takes you longer then you are falling behind with the material. Do your homework in a quiet place. Time yourself to make sure you keep focused on doing the work rather than "multi-tasking".


I did miss or must miss a term exam

The course is set up so that you can miss a term exam if you must.  Do NOT miss two.  

If you miss one exam, there is no need to contact Professor Gourdain. 

If you must miss two term exams for very good reasons, contact Professor Gourdain BEFORE the exam.

I did miss or must miss the final exam

If you miss the final exam, you will have to take the final the following year in order to get a grade in the course.  If you are a graduating senior, contact Professor Gourdain ASAP and pray.

I am not doing as well on the exams as I would like

First, do all the past homeworks and sample exams again. TIME YOURSELF while redoing homeworks and past exams. You do not understand the materials! Make summary cards. If you are concerned, come and see me. We can discuss how to understand the material and how to improve your working effeciency.

There is a mistake in the grading of my exam

If you are CONVINCED that a mistake was made or that the partial credit given is egregiously in error, then write a note to me on the front of the exam describing what you want me to re-examine and why. In general, that roughly 25% of the requests require a grade change of some sort.

The grader should have given me more partial credit than I got on an exam problem

It's okay if a problem is graded harshly, so long as it is done consistently.  Remember, everyone is graded the same way. But I am aware that harsh grading loses evaluational effectiveness.   So, I work with the TA's to avoid it before the fact.  But after the grading has taken place, I am reluctant to change the partial credit given unless I feel it is very inappropriate.

The exam problems are much harder than the workshop and problem set problems

Exam problems are seldom harder than problems seen in workshops and homeworks. In fact, many or your workshop problems are from old exams.  They might seem harder because you have no help on your exams and the exam si timed. To avoid bad surprises at an exam do all the past homeworks and sample exams again and TIME YOURSELF