Teaching labs

The Physics Teaching Labs offices are located on the second floor of Gant South Building.

  • Room S-206, phone 860.486.4920
  • Room S-207, phone 860.486.0434

Teaching labs policies

Students’ Rights & Responsibilities

  • Students and TAs have the right to be treated with respect and appreciation for any differences of ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexuality or national origin by everyone in the community.
  • Students and TAs have the right to expect an alcohol and drug free environment.
  • Students and TAs have the right to expect the PTL Office to maintain appropriate rules to promote effective learning, addressing concerns such as scheduling, cancellations, space, noise, conduct, rules of dress and cleanliness.
  • Students and TAs have the right to academic confidentiality in all aspects of their experience within the Physics Department.
  • TAs and students are expected to behave in the utmost professional manner. Crossing personal boundaries can be considered as harassment and abuse of the power relationship between TA and student.
  • TAs and students have the right to report any unwanted advances or behavior, and expect corrective action on the part of the PTL Office and the Physics Department.


  • Attendance is required at all labs. If you miss a lab, you will receive a zero for your in-class work. Any student arriving to lab more than 15 minutes late will not be permitted to join the lab. This will count as an absence for the student.
  • A valid absence is a lab absence where the student is permitted to attend a different lab section during the same week. Students are still required to complete the lab, even if their absence is valid. Accompanying documentation is required for all valid absence reasons. The students must give at least one week’s notice if they wish to reschedule a lab. A rescheduling is not guaranteed and is pending availability of space in alternative lab sections. All rescheduling must be done by a physics lab technician or the lab director. TAs are not allowed to reschedule students. If the student is not able to be rescheduled, then the student will get a zero for the lab report.
  • Valid absence reasons include:
    • Varsity athletic events (NO CLUB SPORTS)
    • Academic conferences
    • Religious observances
  • Note on religious observances: In accordance with University policy, students anticipating a lab absence due to their observation of a religious holiday must notify the TA or lab director in writing within the first three weeks of the semester.
  • Students who may miss a lab due to participation in a University-sanctioned activity must inform their teaching assistant and the teaching lab manager of all potential conflicts at the beginning of the semester.
  • A course instructor may decide that a student warrants an incomplete rather than a failure for the missed work. A student who feels that his or her case warrants special attention may discuss this option with the course instructor

Your Teaching Assistant

  • Your lab instructor is a teaching assistant for the Physics Department. Learn your TA’s contact information and the times they are available. Each TA will be available for one hour every week to help you with any lab questions you might have. Use them as the great resource that they are.
  • You are expected to treat your TA with the same respect that you would any instructor within the Physics Department.

Rules of Conduct

  • Disrespect for anyone or anything in the lab will not be tolerated. It is your responsibility to make this classroom a safe space for everyone in it, including yourself.
  • In all discussions and group work, full respect for all people is required. All disagreements about work must stand and fall on reasoned arguments about physics principles, the data, or acceptable procedures, never on the basis of power, loudness, or intimidation.
  • It is O.K. to make mistakes. It is, in fact, one of the best ways to learn. If you could perform every experiment with absolute perfection, and if you understood all concepts presented in this class, you would not be taking this class. The learning process involves making mistakes and learning from them. Everyone in the classroom has the right to be wrong and it is everyone’s responsibility to uphold that right.

Plagiarism and Cheating

It is perfectly reasonable and expected that you will share information and ideas with colleagues. The lab session is meant to be a collaborative effort, and students will come to the table with different ideas and approaches to resolving the problems. This exchange of ideas is encouraged. Since members of this class have highly diverse backgrounds, you are encouraged to help each other and learn from each other.

Plagiarism, however, will not be tolerated. Copying somebody else’s work, presenting data that is not your own, adding your name to a problem that you didn’t solve…. All of these examples are forms of academic misconduct. You can find a detailed description of academic fraud in the Student Conduct Code. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism has profound consequences, including expulsion from the University. As a general rule, students can work as a group in class but formal lab reports and pre-lab work should be completed individually. If in doubt, ask your TA.

Equipment and Space

Hundreds of students use this laboratory each week. Another class may enter the lab room directly after you are done. Please demonstrate respect for the environment and the equipment in the lab. The lab tables and floors should be clear of any paper or garbage. Please clean up your area before you leave the lab. The equipment needs to be left neatly at your station. If anything is not working properly, notify your TA immediately.

Computers in the Lab

The computers in the lab are part of the necessary equipment. The same rules regarding negligence or mishandling also apply to them. Additionally, any changing of settings or installation of programs is strictly prohibited. Use of email and web browsing is restricted to lab-related necessities.

Required materials

You are required to bring your lab manual, a USB flash drive (or cloud-based access), a calculator, a notebook and writing materials to lab each week. You may be required to bring additional materials, including personal safety equipment. Your TA will review the required materials for your course during the first week of labs.

Food and Drinks

No food will be allowed in the lab. Drinks in sealed containers are allowed, but must be consumed away from any lab stations. You will be asked to dispose of your food and open beverages on your way into class, or you can leave your items outside and retrieve them when the lab is over.

Cell Phones and Other Distractions

Please get rid of any distractions during your lab session. Turn your cell phone off. You are expected to be focused on what you are doing. Your TA can exercise the right to take your cell phone away.

Frequently asked questions