*A 5 star workload is an easy workload; a 3 star is average; whereas a 1 star workload is extremely hard.
Comments:1420 - I have never written a review for anything before but I feel so strongly about this that I just have to. Dr. Ward is extremely smart, but just because you are smart does not mean you are a good teacher. I don't believe that he is here to be a professor, but he has to so that he can do research. Ward is by far the worst teacher/professor I have ever had in my 14 years of schooling, and I don't think he should be allowed to work here. Here is why. He mumbles, so it is hard to understand/hear him. He doesn't really explain the material well; he just copies equations and examples from the book but somehow makes it 10x more confusing. When we did integrals, he did them all the long confusing way with the (x+h)-x/h method rather than the easy way we learn in calc. When students asked questions, he usually couldn't hear what was said or misinterpreted the question, and therefore he would answer something unrelated (I once had to re-ask a question 5 times). I know its harder for him because he is older, so I feel bad, but that is just how it was. He assigned '3 hour' homeworks every week which really took about 8 hours (not just for me, I talked to others and they said the same). Take home tests took about the same time as homeworks and we would also have class that same day and a homework due that same week. After about 4 weeks of classes, I began feeling sick (headache and nausea) before/during/after his class every single time. I realized the class was making me extremely anxious. This went on for 5 weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday. Because of covid, class attendance didn't have the 75% rule, so I started skipping, and I immediately saw an improvement in my mental and physical health. I just read from the book to keep up, plus it felt more helpful than attending class anyways. On the last day of class, I really wanted to attend to get important info, but for two hours leading up to class I became lightheaded, nauseous, and nearly feverish, and I knew that I was too anxious to attend class. I don't even have diagnosed anxiety, so that tells you a lot. In the end I got a C+ which is the first C I've had since middle school. I will say though that he does round up a lot (most would fail if he didn't). I don't think that Dr. Ward is a bad man. He's very knowledgeable in the field of physics, which is a difficult field. It is very hard to teach yourself physics, but if you take this class you will have to do just that. Sorry this is so much, but I just wanted to put this out there. Don't take his class. - Grade In Class:C+
Comments:1420 - I have a lot to say about Dr. Ward.
He truly is a brilliant physicist who obviously loves the subject matter and loves his job. However, his teaching ability is lacking. He has a tendency to go on tangents, which I actually enjoy much of the time, but some may not. He also is generally polite and relatively helpful over email.
Despite these things, do not take a course with Dr. Ward. The homework assignments were on average 34 Mastering Physics problems per week (up to 41). These problems can take 30 seconds to 30 minutes per attempt. You get 6 attempts per problem, and with each incorrect answer, 3% is deducted off your final score, so if you work a problem 6 times to get it right the last time, you only get 85% credit for all that work. If you can’t get the right answer, you get 0% credit. Dr. Ward will not help you with homework problems, as he is unhelpful in office hours, and neither will the undergraduate tutors in the Success Center because they are not allowed to help you work homework problems. They’re only allowed to help you with concepts, and conceptual understanding will not get you anywhere in Dr. Ward’s course. It is all about just getting the right answer for homework assignments and tests. Typically, these assignments took me around 8 hours, though some took me up to around 12.
The homework load for this class was insane, but the tests were worse. They were take-home, which may sound amazing, but the two tests were 30 Mastering questions each, and the final was 33 questions (despite Dr. Ward specifically telling us in class that it was 30 questions). You are given 24 hours to do these tests, so that “time will not be a factor,” according to Dr. Ward. In total, I spent around 25 hours on these tests, so just over 8 hours per test. This is a problem if you have a lot of classes the day a test is assigned. The tests are also 1 attempt per question with no partial credit, and when it is over, he does not release the answers, so you cannot practice the questions you got wrong (but you wouldn’t have time anyway because you would already have to be working on the next Mastering assignment). Perhaps the worse part is that the week of a test, he still assigns homework, so the week of our second test, we had 30 questions for the test, and 33 questions for the homework: a total of 63 Mastering problems in a single week.
To sum it up, do not take Dr. Ward. If you’re stuck with him, go see the grad tutors on the third floor of the BSB. He teaches them too, so they will understand your pain and will help you. - Grade In Class:B+
Comments:1420 - Professor Ward's class is very difficult. Please do not take this professor. I struggled in this class not because of the material, but because of the workload. Professor Ward assigns a lot of homework, which takes an average of 5-9 hours per week. This, in combination with both labs and the lecture means that I have spent nearly 20 hours per week on physics this semester. Moreover, his exams are open for 24 hours, and are open note, open book, and open internet, because it would be nearly impossible to get a good score without these recourses. They don't sound too bad until your realize that they're 30 Mastering Physics questions, which takes any where between 6-10 hours in one night, forcing one to risk being behind in classes or just not sleep. Dr. Ward is a very nice man, very interesting to talk to, and is definetly overqualified to teach this course. Unfortunately, he makes this class extremely difficult to succeed in. - Grade In Class:A
Comments:1420 - Do not take the course with Dr. Ward. Horrible professor, basically wants you to set aside 30-50 hours per week to do labs, readings, homework, and studying like its the only course you are taking. You NEED a physics background in order to understand Dr. Ward in class, he started the semester by standing at the board writing problems on the board and answering them. No presentation or review of the readings. Homework was around 40 questions and some of them being multiple parts that were 6-7 questions. - Grade In Class:B
Comments:1408 - I took Dr. Ward during the fall 2020 semester, which was online synchronous. He is, to put it quite plainly, not a good lecturer. His slides were unintelligible, and he goes through concepts way too quickly. Asking questions often left me more confused, and I assume his office hours are equally unhelpful (I never went, for obvious reasons). The homework itself is doable, however it is extremely long and tedious, and MasteringPhysics can be annoying. If you take him, be prepared to be 100% teaching yourself the material. The tests are take home and you have 24 hours to complete them, but start early as it usually took me most of the time allotted. Dr. Ward is very accomplished and an expert in his field, but his teaching ability leaves a lot to be desired. If you have the chance to take another professor, I would recommend you do so. - Grade In Class:B
Comments:1408 - Holy crap. I took 1408 rather than 1420 because I just need a lab science credit to finish up my degree, but little did I know that this guy would be insane. First, he assigns weekly problem sets of 40 Mastering Physics problems. Mastering Physics problems can often be multi-part and take insane amounts of time. I would usually set aside a full day to do the problem set - start to finish, they may take me anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. On top of that, this guy gives you 24 hours to do a test. You might think this is wonderful, as did I, until you open the first test and find out that it is 30 Mastering Physics problems and the test takes 6-8 hours. If one of his 24 hour tests overlaps with a day where you have a high class-load such as labs and important classes, you may have to skip them or forego sleep that night just to make sure you can comfortably finish these insane tests. You'll be begging for a normal 1-2 hour exam by the end of the semester with this guy. To wrap it all up, his lectures are also awful. I actually read each book chapter religiously because it is the only thing that helped me learn, and reading the Physics book isn't particularly fun. The lectures run fast through complicated material and you are better off not trying to take notes with how fast he runs through the stuff and the examples. Just read the book and take good notes on that. I'm an A student, and this class tested my patience for how hard I was willing to go to get an A. Also this class was way more work than you'd expect for the **non-calculus** introduction to Physics class. be prepared to put aside 15-20 hours per week for the course due to the lab, reading, problem sets, and 7-hour long exams. The lecture was completely synchronous online, and you can tell the guy needs to retire, because he really struggled if anything tech-wise went wrong during class (PPT freezes, students not muting themselves). He basically lets Mastering Physics run the whole class. Do not take. - Grade In Class:A
Comments:1420 - Don't take him! His lectures are useless, he assigns too much homework, and you literally can't hear him during lectures or when asking questions. If you have to take him like I did, it's good to know his test are take home, but still very hard. - Grade In Class:B