Joel Hess

The following information comes from the named instructor and should describe characteristics general to courses as taught by this instructor. Individual sections of specific courses will deviate from this description in some respects.

Class Format

Face-to-face sections of Physical Science are taught at a somewhat fast pace due to the amount of the material needing to be covered in the class. However, I will always take time to answer questions and go through plenty of mathematical examples to help those that are struggling to understand a particular concept or equation. That being said, we will be learning our way through the physical sciences both conceptually and mathematically, though the math will never get more complicated than basic algebra. Throughout the course, we will be doing hands-on work in the laboratory as well as learning the material by working with computer programs or watching videos, so that there will be a variety of ways to learn besides just the traditional lecture.

Resource Use

Textbooks are important for a full understanding of the material. Though I will not assign work out of the textbook, reading the book will be very beneficial since it may present material differently than how it is presented in class, so it will give you a different way of looking at a topic that you may be struggling with. The book also contains many very nice pictures, which are great for visualization. (I do draw on the board, but I’m no artist!) Lastly, the book has many practice problems and examples which will help you if you are struggling with the mathematics.

Calculators are essential for working the mathematical problems. Although phone calculators are acceptable for assignments, they are not allowed on tests. Other than phone calculators, any simple calculator is fine. Scientific and graphing calculators are not necessary, though they are acceptable.

Online homework will be given in the form of multiple choice quizzes. There will be a five-question quiz after each chapter is covered in class. They are not timed quizzes, and you get one and only one submission.


There will be 4 to 5 unit exams as well as a final exam. These exams will cover about 60% of the points for the course. The online quizzes will cover roughly 10% of the course, leaving the remaining 30% to be made up of in-class work, such as laboratories.

Homework Policy

The only homework will be the online quizzes. However, it is recommended to read the textbook over the material being covered in the lectures, for a full and better understanding of the material.

Attendance Policy

You are not graded strictly on attendance. However, almost every class session will have a lab or some other work which will be done and turned in during class or which you will be graded on, so attendance is crucial for maximizing your grade in the course.


Due to a busy schedule, I am not typically on campus except during class times, but I can always make an appointment to meet with you if you would like. I do check email regularly, and will respond as quickly as I can.