Reviewed by Lawrence Davis, Associate Professor, Umpqua Community College, on 12/6/2016.
Generally yes. Covers the topics typically covered in the first term of a calculus based introductory (200-level) physics course. I did not see an
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
Generally yes. Covers the topics typically covered in the first term of a calculus based introductory (200-level) physics course. I did not see an obviously located index, however the digital format of the book is searchable. However, this feature does not completely replace an index because some students buy a printed book. There is a glossary at the end of each section, but not a global glossary.
Accuracy rating: 4
The book is generally accurate. Inaccuracies are not related to content, but rather to typographic errors and such. More importantly, a site exists where errata can be submitted by users and those submissions can be seen by users. https://openstaxcollege.org/textbooks/university-physics-volume-1/errata
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
The text is written and arranged in similar fashion to standard texts on the subject, which have not changed much over a decade or more. The main updates are links to Phet simulations and other resources, however if the locationsURL of these resources changes then those links will be broken until updated.
Clarity rating: 4
Overall, the language and format appears to be less technical/formal than some standard texts, such as Halliday. Most students these days supplement the text with other resources such as video lectures and simulations, and open courseware, which I encourage. However, this means convincing students to read the text in-depth is even more difficult than in the past. The less formal language may help with this, and students comprehend the material at a level such that student outcomes will be affected by the slight reduction in rigor. Certain sections dealing with common misconceptions, such as centrifugal force, were given specific treatment with careful language, which is important.
The writing style often uses the word "this" in a paragraph of text with "this" referencing a concept described in a previous sentence or paragraph, which might possibly lead to confusion for students.
Consistency rating: 4
This appears to be the case.
Modularity rating: 5
Yes, it is extensively subdivided, even using headings, textbox background color, and text size/font to organize information. At times it appears to be overly differentiated, possibly to the point of distraction, but that may be a personal issue. Students might appreciate the level of differentiation.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
The topics are presented in the same general order as standard textbooks on the subject. Some sections within chapters are ordered differently. This appeared to be purposeful, but at times possibly convoluted, such as calling chapter 10 Fixed axis rotation and then including rolling motion at the beginning of the Chapter titled Angular Momentum before any discussion of angular momentum is presented.
Interface rating: 4
Generally the figures, links, graphic quality are sufficient with few exceptions. I found the quality to be generally higher than OpenStax College Physics, which had some issues with low quality graphics.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
Generally appeared acceptable, I am not an expert on grammar. See comments in the Clarity categories.
Cultural Relevance rating: 3
I did not notice anything offensive, however there did not appear to be a significant representation of a variety of ethnicities represented in graphics and diagrams. Gender representation was somewhat more level. I did not read every chapter problem.
Planning to adopt starting fall 2017, I will be asking students for their opinions on the text.
Reviewed by Chadwick Young, Professor of Physics, Nicholls State University, on 2/9/2017.
This is the first in a 3-volume set. It covers all of classical mechanics along with waves and oscillations. It is appropriate for a calculus-based
Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
This is the first in a 3-volume set. It covers all of classical mechanics along with waves and oscillations. It is appropriate for a calculus-based physics course in a 3-semester sequence. Combined with the other volumes, it can be adapted to use in a 2-semester sequence.
The book does have an excellent index in the PDF version. Online, it has searchable content, but I could not find an index. The table of contents, however, should be sufficient for a student to use it as a reference book.
The book does have a glossary for each chapter, giving the meaning of bolded words throughout. These definitions are concise and accurate.
Accuracy rating: 5
The content is accurate. I’ve reviewed chapter 4, which is on 2-dimensional motion. The authors give a nice treatment of vectors, projectile, and circular motion. I like how they bring in more advanced topics, like Brownian motion, as they present these ideas. Instead of dealing with generic vectors, like many textbooks, the authors present only the displacement, velocity, and acceleration vectors. I prefer to present vectors mathematically first, without physical context, but I’ll try this next semester.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
This is a solid, introductory, calculus-based physics text. I expect these basics of physics to last long beyond what anyone can envision. The pedagogy, too, is up-to-date. The students get lots of practice as they work through each section. However, I’d love to see Concept Coach and/or Tutor implemented for this book. Physics is difficult without deliberate and spaced practice. These tools can help the student to master physics.
Clarity rating: 5
Of course, the book does use appropriate language, which will be unfamiliar with most students. However, the vocabulary builds in each chapter, and the text has links back to previous material when it is referenced in the chapter. Of course, the PDF doesn’t have the same linkable text. Again, the glossary does offer good, simple definitions of bolded words.
Consistency rating: 5
This book is consistent. It uses terminology from chapter to chapter, but it always refers back to technical terms in previous chapters with handy links. The framework, too, builds in each chapter. Students learn skills—vector math, eg.—that they continue to use in the ensuing chapters. Of course, physics is a particularly good subject for such building. The reason I love physics is because it is consistent.
Modularity rating: 5
Like many physics texts, this book is divided into appropriate and small sections. Chapter 4, for example, is divided into 5 sections. A professor can assign a particular section per day as the students (or before) cover the material in class. Indeed, these sections do not disrupt the reading but, instead, provide convenient breaks that allow the reader to pause and reflect. At the end of each section, the authors have included conceptual questions and practice problems so the reader can ensure their own mastery of the material.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
As I stated previously, I might not present these topics in this particular order. For example, I like to cover centripetal forces with rotation. However, these issues are very minor. The authors follow a putative order for presenting the topics; this order is used by many textbooks.
Interface rating: 5
No issues here. The OpenStax folks have their game together. Figures are clear and well-labeled. The online interface, which I prefer over the PDF, is easy to use.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I didn’t notice any grammatical errors. It has, in my opinion, better writing than some other standard books (Halliday, Serway, Tipler, etc.).
Cultural Relevance rating: 3
Of the 6 cartoon figures, all were white, and 2 were women. However, the people presented in these figures are small and not a big part of the text. In fact, 4 of the characters were partially obscured by masks or sporting equipment. The book does not take extra measures to make minorities feel included.
The text is not offensive in any way (unless someone hates physics!!).
Great book! I intend to use it next year. I'd love to see some online tools like Tutor or Concept Coach, even if for a fee. I'd likely use them in my course.