Department of Physics Info Page


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Home Study
PSI (Personalized System of Instruction)

Home Study

The Physics department offers a number of courses through ESU's Home Study Program. Home study provides an opportunity for students to take courses while they are away from the campus. This type of course is typically offered during the summer and winter sessions. The following courses are available via home study when offered: After registering for the Home Study Course and prior to the start of the course, the student receives course materials from the instructor. While students must register for these courses in accordance with normal registration procedures, they must also contact the course instructor for course requirements and materials.

Students typically have until the end of the registered session to complete the course work. Note: There are university restrictions on the number of credits a student may complete via home study.

Courses taught via Home Study are non-lectured, self-paced courses. The student uses prepared study materials and text and completes a series of units. For each unit, the student completes a series of questions that are provided beforehand. When the units are completed, the student must come to the designated room (either 117 or 225 Gessner) during the scheduled times in order to take a final exam. The grading procesdures are delineated in the package prepared for each course.

Note: Presently, one must be present to take the final exam on campus and the postal service is used to deliver the completed unit exams from the student to the instructor. Plans are now underway to offer several of these courses completely by e-mail with a local proctor acting to oversee the final exam.

Note for summer students taking home study

While students must register for these courses in accordance with normal registration procedures, they may begin the course at any time during the summer and, in some cases, they may have until the end of the summer to complete their work. After registering, students are required to personally meet with the appropriate faculty memebr to receive some of their materials. For additional information contact the Physics Department at (570) 422-3341.

PSI (Personalized System of Instruction)

Courses taught via the Personalized System of Instruction are non-lectured, self-paced courses. The student uses prepared study materials, typically a study guide, that breaks down the course into a series of units. For each unit, there is an exam.

When the student feels he/she is prepared for the exam, he/she comes to the designated PSI room (typically 117 Gessner) to take the exam. To ensure that the student has mastered the objectives of the unit, the student cannot move onto the next unit without obtaining a specific score on the exam (usually 90%). If the student doesn't obtain the passing score, he/she meets with an instructor one-on-one (hence the personalized system of instruction). The instructor helps the student to address his/her weaknesses.

Fortunately, each unit is usually broken down into several objectives, with each question on the unit exam corresponding to a particular objective. This makes it relatively easy to identify which objectives the student may still be weak in.

After the student addresses the weaknesses, the student can re-take another version of the unit exam. If he/she still doesn't pass, the process is repeated. Usually there is a limit to the number of times a student can retake an exam but the purpose of the procedure is to ensure that a student masters the objectives of one unit before moving onto the next unit.

After completing all of the units, there is usually a comprehensive final which can only be taken once.

Specific grading procedures are delineated in the package prepared for each course.

The following courses are available via PSI when offered:

Note for students taking Fundamental Physics I/II labs

During the Fall and Spring, Fundamental Physics I/II and Physics I/II are taught by lecture but the labs are offered via PSI. Students complete the labs during the scheduled times. Typically, the lab room (225 Gessner) is available about 20 hours a week to accomodate student schedules.

Note for students taking Fundamental Physics I/II during the summer

If offered during the summer, Fundamental Physics I/II is typically offered totally by PSI. The course material is separated into twelve units, as described in the student guide that accompanies the course (available at the bookstore). The guide describes the material to be learned, the appropriate portions of the book to be read and the laboratory activity to be completed, for each unit. The guide also includes a worksheet for each unit that you must complete. When you feel ready, you take an exam which tests your mastery of the unit. The instructors guide the activities and learning. For more information, see the course instructor.