Frequently Asked Questions

Number 1
Question: I have missed exams, and/or labs, and/or not completed some homework assignments. What can I do at the end of the semester for "extra credit" so that I can make all of this up?
Answer: All of the credit for the semester is detailed on the course outline. There is no "extra credit," and certainly nothing that can be done at the end of the semester to make up for not doing the assignments and turning them in on time.
Number 2
Question: I'm going to be absent from class on (insert date here)---will I miss anything?
Answer: No! Of course not! Well, unless you mean the lecture, examples, homework, demonstrations, discussion, and important announcements. I suggest that you arrange to get the notes from someone in class for the day that you were absent.
Number 3
Question: Do you give bonus points?
Answer: No.
Number 4
Question: How can I make up one of the scheduled exams that I have to miss because of (select as many as apply)
  1. university sponsored activity
  2. medical emergency
  3. family emergency
  4. abduction and gang probing by aliens previously scheduled
  5. selected for new "Survivor: Greenland" show
  6. voted in as an "American Idol" finalist
  7. something else incredibly important to me
Answer: If you have a really, really good excuse other than medical, contact me BEFORE the scheduled exam and I will try to let you take it early. If you are suddenly ill the day of the test, please contact me by phone or e-mail as soon as possible, but well before the next class meeting, and if possible, bring a note from your health care provider.
Number 5
Question: How does the laboratory/discussion grade factor into my grade for the course?
Answer: Please see the course outline or the online grade calculator. Your lab/discussion score will be determined by the lab/discussion instructor(s).
Number 6
Question: What score do I need to make on the final to get a particular letter grade for the course?
Answer: Beats me! I won't try to do the calculation for you either, but due to my incredibly generous nature, I have made it easy for you to do yourself using the amazing automatic grade calculator that I wrote.
Number 7
Question: When/where are you going to post the scores for the exam?
Answer: I will post your exam scores just as soon as I can. Your semester grade will be posted on Raiderlink as soon as possible after all work for the semester has been graded---calling, e-mailing, or knocking on my door while I am in the process of doing this just delays the results for everyone and annoys the professor.
Number 8
Question: Do you curve?
Answer: No. Since the average semester score for this course is fairly high, norming the average to a C (grading on a curve) would lower most student's letter grade.
Number 9
Question: Can you tell me what my grades are?
Answer: No. It is extremely time-consuming to look up and e-mail a large number of students their scores during the semester. So, if you want to know how you are doing, you can check your homework, or exam scores anytime.
Number 10
Question: Do I need to bring a bluebook or scantron for the exam?
Answer: No for the bluebook, but yes for the scantron. I also recommend a good writing implement (a #2 pencil) or two, a good eraser, and a reasonable scientific calculator (mine is ≤ $12).
Number 11
Question: I have the correct answer on my returned exam, but I coded the wrong answer on the scantron. Can I get credit anyway?
Answer: No. Only if the scanner misreads your scantron can a correction be made after you have turned in your exam and scantron, so please make sure that you code what you intend, including your R-number.
Number 12
Question: I came to all of the classes and tried really hard, so can I make an appointment to see you after the semester to ask for a higher grade than I earned?
Answer: No. If time runs out and, even though you tried really hard, you wind up one inch short of the goal line, it still is not a touchdown. Everyone has to play by the same rules. So, unless you can demonstrate an actual mistake in your grade, there is no need to schedule a meeting after the semester to ask for special treatment.
Number 13
Question: I didn't really follow the instructions on the grade calculator, but when I don't, it shows that I should be getting a higher grade than the one reported. If I send you email about this after the semester and waste your time, will I get the higher grade anyway?
Answer: No. If you contact me after the semester and you are wrong because you did not follow the directions, then you will drop to one letter grade lower than the one you actually earned---so you better be really sure.
Number 14
Question: I can't get the online homework system to accept my answer. Can you show me what I am doing wrong by email?
Answer: No. Dr. Gibson does not do homework or hints by email---it is a poor way to try and explain a problem and there is only one of me, so there is no fair or practical way for me to do this.
Number 15
Question: I just got around to checking over my exam from earlier in the semester and I think that my scantron was scored incorrectly. Can you dig through all the scantrons and regrade mine by hand?
Answer: Yes, if you have checked your returned exam very carefully with the answer key and it is within three class meetings of when the exams were returned. If I do this once and it turns out that your scantron was graded correctly, please don't ask me again.
Number 16
Question: The Lab and/or the discussion section is not in sync with the lecture? Why, and what should I do?
Answer: Lecture, lab, and discussion sections meet at multiple different times during the week, so perfect synchronization simply isn't possible. Also, some topics don't lend themselves to introductory lab experiments as well as others and not every lecture section will be on exactly the same schedule. So, read ahead in your text and lab book if you need to do so. Develop this skill and it will serve you well in other classes as well as in your career.

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