Course Title: General Physics A

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: General Physics A

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2009

Course Coordinator: A/prof Johan du Plessis

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2144

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.5.07

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is a first-year core component of the Scientific Photography program within the Science degrees administered by the School of Applied Science. It is also designed to be suitable for Chemistry students and it may be taken as a general student elective. It is an introductory physics course for students with little or no physics background and it provides knowledge of the basic concepts in the physical world which scientific photographers will meet in practice.
The course covers introductory key concepts in physics, such as units, kinematics, dynamics, Newton’s Laws, as well as energy. A range of additional topics will be covered in the course, such as electricity or optics. The choice of these topics will be flexible and will be related to the interest and discipline of the participating students.
The course is supported by a set of laboratory exercises in mechanics, optics and in electricity.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The primary capabilities developed by this course are:
• Knowledge capability: a basic understanding of physics, in particular units, dynamics and energy.
• Technical capability: Students will gain hands-on laboratory experience that will support the theoretical knowledge gained in lectures.
• Critical analysis and problem solving: Students will be encouraged to analyse problems through a number of techniques, including physical simplification and modeling, and making links with established theory. These techniques will be applied in particular to a range of practical physical situations. Appropriate levels of mathematical reasoning pertinent to physical problems will be engendered in students.

On successful completion of this course, students will:
• Be able to state fundamental physical laws pertaining to classical mechanics and energy, as well as the other major topics chosen.
• be able to solve a variety of problems in the above areas.
• be able to conduct experimental investigations in a scientific manner, and demonstrate familiarity with a range of basic scientific,

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

• attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
• completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lecture notes for this course can be downloaded on a week-by-week basis.
Students participating in this course will be expected to purchase a copy of the textbook for reading set sections, sample problems, conceptual questions and numerical problem lists and diagrams. The textbook may also be of assistance for laboratory reports.

Overview of Assessment

There is ongoing assessment during the semester to encourage students to engage with the material and to give feedback on progress. This is performed with laboratory reports and assignments, including both conceptual and numerical problems. Assignments will be performed with web-based assessment. Problems include some exercises which require integration of concepts across different topics in the course.

A mid-semester examination will allow assessment of students’ achievement in the initial stages of the course while a final examination will test the understanding of the final two stages. The final examination will test mainly conceptual understanding of the material, with some shorter numerical and mathematical exercises.