Directions for Using Minds On Physics

Question Organization

Each assignment in the Minds On Physics Internet Modules (a.k.a., MOP) consists of a collection of up to 40 questions. Many questions are very similar, perhaps differing only in the order of the choices. Similar questions are organized into groups. You must answer one question from each group in order to complete the assignment. If you miss one question from within a group, another question from that same group will eventually be presented to you.

Progress Bar and Health Bar

Each time you answer a question, MOP provides immediate feedback regarding your success. If you are doing MOP in For Credit mode, then a progress bar and a health bar are immediately updated after each answer. If the answer is correct, the progress bar will increase by a certain percentage. The exact percentage it increases by depends upon the number of questions in the assignment. If there are 10 questions in the assignment, the progress bar increases by 10% for each correct answer. It increases by 12.5% for each correct answer in an 8-question assignment. If you answer a question incorrectly, your health bar decreases by a certain percentage. The exact percentage it decreases by depends upon the number of questions in the assignment The progress bar decreases by a smaller percentage for those assignments with less questions. But one cool thing is that your health bar also increases each time you get an answer correct. Though you would never know it, it can even increase past 100%; it's just that the health bar stops rising when it reaches 100%.

Starting Over

When doing MOP in For Credit mode, you will sometimes have to restart the assignment. This occurs when your health bar empties - that is, reaches 0%. Starting over doesn't reduce the amount of credit your earn. When it comes time to rewarding a student credit for completing an assignment, MOP is forgiving of all those misses and failed attempts. Completing an assignment on the fifth attempt earns the same credit as completing the assignment on the first attempt. In fact, nobody (except for you and MOP) will ever know that it took you five tries to complete the assignment.

It can be frustrating to have to start over. But consider this: if you are having difficulty with an assignment, then your grasp of the concept is not as strong as it needs to be. Each time you're forced to click on the Start Over button, allow it to be a reminder that your understanding of the concept is still developing. But before you get too frustrated, take some time to accept some help. After all, that's what we do when we don't understand - we accept instruction ... teaching ... correction. MOP wants to prevent your frustration from turning to despair. That's why MOP provides plenty of opportunities for ...

Getting Help

The Minds On Physics Internet Modules is surrounded by opportunities for getting help. It is present on a website filled with tutorials, animations and review resources. At any time that you are having difficulty, those resources are literally a mouse-click away. Sometimes, the fastest and most sure path through a troublesome assignment involves pausing, reading, and reflecting. The opposite strategy - rushing through questions with little understanding of a concept - is usually the fastest and most sure path to frustration. So when you're having trouble, take some time to learn.

So how do you get help with a Minds On Physics assignment? It's easy - begn by clicking on the Hints and Help button. This will open a help page; MOP will automatically advance forward to a specific location upon that page. You will find the question (or at least a portion of it) listed at the top of the screen. Information relevant to the question follows the question. Definitions are given. Principles are stated. Common misconceptions are identified. Troubling language is interpretted. Etcetra, etcetra, etcetra. This is where you need to pause ... read ... and reflect. Sometimes, you may even need to click on one of the Hot Links that are included on the Help page. These links take you to The Physics Classroom Tutorial where the concepts are explained in great detail. At all times, remember: promoting learning, proper thinking about physics, and correction of misunderstanding is the goal of the Minds On Physics program. Trouble with an assignment is an indication that you are in need of help. Accept the help that is offered.

Tracking Your Answers

The Minds On Physics Internet Modules keeps track of the questions that you are missing. It remembers what questions you have missed on the current attempt as well as on previous attempts at the assignment. It looks for patterns in your misses in an effort to identify troubling questions. When it observes that you are regularly missing questions from within the same group of questions, it lets you know. Even in the middle of an assignment, it will notify you of a pattern of missing. An exclamation point will flash on the screen and you will be offered the chance to correct your misunderstanding and modify your thinking about the concept. This is MOP's attempt to promote learning and to help you avoid frustration.

Success Codes

If you are doing MOP in For Credit mode, then the completion of an assignment results in the publishing of a success code. If your teacher has assignmed MOP as a homework assignment, then you must write this success code down. It is your means of obtaining credit for the assignment. There is no database to keep track of your success; so YOU must be the keeper of the data. Minds On Physics makes this an easy task by providing a record sheet in the Record-Keeping section of the website. But you must always remember to write the success code down. As a backup measure, you may want to also save the success code on your computer as a cookie. The cookie is only a backup ... be sure to write the success code down. Your teacher will give you instructions about when and how to hand the success codes in. And by the way, you should know that no two students will ever have the same success codes. They are unique to the student, the teacher and the assignment.

The Silver Medal

In addition to keeping track of the questons that you miss, Minds On Physics also keeps track of your progress on each attempt. If MOP detects that you are repeatedly making progress but failing to complete the assignment by just one question, it will reward you with a Silver Medal. For most instructors, the Silver Medal is not as high of an honor as the Gold Medal (completing the assignment), but it is usually worth some credit. Write the Silver Medal Success Code down, then consider going for the Gold.

In case your wondering, the criteria for earning a Silver Medal are rather complicated. MOP considers numerous criteria. First and foremost, you must have tried for the Gold five or more tries. Second, it looks to see if you have been progressing to 80 to 85% progress before starting the assignment over. For instance, MOP calculates considers such criteria as the average of your most recent three attempts, the average of your best three attempts, the average of all your attempts, etc.