Based on 10 User s
Teaching physics with pointing at powerpoints instead of using a chalkboard? This is not an effective way of teaching. He has us do clicker questions in class, and for most of the time, everybody is confused with his explanation for the right answer. You may end up with an acceptable grade, but you won't learn anything. All you do is self-study.
Here's the scoop on Dr. Simon: I'm not sure how often he teaches Physics 1C but if he does, DITCH Corbin and TAKE SIMON!!
He does teach through the PowerPoint and he uses Clickers. Initially, I thought clickers were pointless but the questions he asks in class are very helpful in making sure you understand the material covered in the chapter. If you didn't get the clicker questions correctly, you can still have time to go over the topics in the book.
He reminds you at the beginning of the class that you MUST read ahead of lectures and he is not joking. He does teach out of the book so that is really helpful for those of us who like following the books train of thoughts (which is not all bad!).
One not-so-good aspect of Dr. Simon is that he is not very good at math, or at least can't explain the calculation parts very well. So, he doesn't show a lot of calculations in class unlike that guy... If you like seeing tons of equations and their manipulations, then you will not enjoy Simon.
On the other hand, Dr. Simon knows how to TEACH. He is an absolute master at explain the concepts in physics. He uses countless demonstrations in lecture to help provide a concrete feel to the actions behind the equations. His best demonstrations came during the electromag unit. He had levitating tops, superconductors, and other darn cool stuff! Sure, equations are helpful when you take limits and analyze behaviours of systems but can that be as helpful as seeing the actual system in action? That's the approach Dr. Simon uses.
Grading wise, he is very lenient. You only need to get 80% of clicker questions correct and probably about the same number of MasteringPhysics questions correct to get 100% in participation and homework. Also, he drops the lowest midterm grade and replaces it with your participation and homework grade. So that makes you have at least a 90% on a midterm!
Also, he allows half-sheets on midterms and full-sheet on final. The questions on the exams are relatively straight-forward if you have the right equations written down. Also, pay attention in class because when he says "If I gave this on a midterm...", that means "I will put this on the midterm."
He also gave 2 extra-credit assignments for us. One was making a homo-polar generator and another was participating in an outreach assignment. I participated in the outreach assignment and that was a blast!
Before attending the first lecture, I thought about listening to Corbin's lectures and taking Simon's tests. Oh how wrong I was about that. Once you attend a few of Dr. Simon's lectures, you'll never want to miss one again. As one of my friends nicely put Simon, "He is cool and his tests are cool." Take Simon everyone and make him THE physics professor!! (and NOT Corbin)
P.S. For you CS majors reading this, I would compare him to Nachenberg only not as goofy. Dr. Simon is the serious version of Nachenberg.
I decided to take Professor Simon because of a glowing review I read on Bruinwalk, and I must echo that! He is excellent at relaying concepts and information, and I feel much more knowledgeable on this subject of physics than I have in my previous classes. (Though my grades remain around the same, I think.) With his demonstrations and (sometimes long, admittedly) discussions of real-world applications, he increased my interest and understanding. He doesn't have excellent attention to detail, and may say 3000 when his powerpoint clearly says 300, but that doesn't detract from our learning. However, if you prefer a professor that derives all of the equations and such, Simon isn't for you. Simon is a professor that ensures we learn the concepts of the course, and uses clickers/in-class questions to measure our understanding. I personally found the questions super helpful as a checkpoint of whether I was up to speed on the material, though I'm sure some found them annoying because they had to attend lecture. He also offers extra credit, which I would highly recommend doing! It's relatively easy, and could boost your grade 3%. His grading scheme is generous too; he will substitute your participation and homework grade for a lower midterm score. Overall, for students that like lots of derivation and learning on their own, Simon wouldn't be for them, but I would definitely recommend him to students that find learning core concepts useful, and sometimes need a heads up if they're falling behind.
Honestly, Professor Simon is a great guy. Super nice and very concerned about helping students as necessary.
However, his teaching leaves a lot to be desired. Physics can't be effectively taught with just equations on a powerpoint and multiple choice questions that are rarely answered thoroughly. He gets many things wrong during class and brushes off questions that he doesn't immediately know the answer to.
I did well in his class and received an A because I have a pretty solid background in physics, but I felt that his exams were overall unreasonable for the average student--most physics professors will only test on the 80% of the material that is actually useful; Martin will create the most contrived questions that test on the little details that few people understand (and based on how he lectures, it seems sometimes like he doesn't understand these concepts either).
His class was a lot more effort than it's worth, having to do iClicker questions in addition to MasteringPhysics and I can't say I came out of his class feeling like I learned as much as I did from 1A/1B. I would strongly disagree with the review comparing Simon to Nachenberg or Corbin and recommend most students to avoid Simon if there are other options.
His grading curves are quite lenient. Friends with percentages around ~78% received B+ grades. Two midterms and a final, one midterm dropped to be replaced with homework/participation. He offers extra credit though it does require a decent amount of effort.
This guy was awesome.
You will get an A if you just pay attention and do the extra credit (yes, there is extra credit in college class and it's 5% of your grade).
I think the way that he taught the class was very simple and effective and, he keeps us paying attention (and going to class) by giving us the in-class clicker questions (you will lose a portion of your grade if you don't answer them).
His exams were overall very easy as long as you pay attention and study well. The homework is good-enough preparation, I think.
Now because there is extra credit, this class is not curved. I got an A- in the class and did horrible on the final (ranked around the 63% of the class and below the average), but I did excellent on the first midterm (top 10% ranking) and OK on the second (top 25% ranking). All you need is an 80% or higher to get an A in the class (which is not curved).
Don't forget to do those easy weekly quizzes. Get a smart lab partner who knows, or can quickly learn how to use the equipment. The lab notebook is basically an automatic 100% if you put something together before it's due in 10th week. Just write a ton for the labs (20+ pages, double spaced), label your graphs thoroughly, and answer all the questions in the spec to get a good grade.