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Physics: Intro to Electricity & Magnetism

A fun and easy way to boost your physics grades
4.4 (120 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
3,472 students enrolled
Created by Scott Redmond
Last updated 10/2016
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 8 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion

This course introduces the fundamental concepts of electric charge, electric force, and electric fields, using hand-drawn animations.  This is excellent for students who are taking a physics class but need extra help understanding the material, whether it's because your teacher is hard to understand, you miss some lectures, or you'd simply like a fresh perspective.

Master the Core Concepts of Electricity & Magnetism in this Introductory Course

  • Learn the fundamental concepts, electric charge and electric field, that help the rest of the course go more smoothly.
  • Understand how charging by induction really works so you can guarantee you'll get those grades on your unit test.
  • Explain how the electric field is independent of the test charge.
  • Solve problems involving electric charges moving through electric fields.

Boost Your Grades in Your Electricity & Magnetism Physics Course

This course will boost your physics grades by clearly explaining the fundamental introductory concepts and giving insight into what sorts of difficulties professors like to introduce in exams.  Here, you will learn all about the first two chapters, on electric charge and electric fields, of a standard physics course on electricity and magnetism.  The course author uses his experience teaching college physics to highlight the key ideas and dangerous misconceptions while having some fun with hand-drawn animations and some goofy examples.

At the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of electric charges and electric fields, and you will know what mistakes to avoid so you can get better grades on your next test or exam.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is ideal for students who are already taking a physics course and need another perspective, or who need to catch up on missed lectures.
  • This course is also helpful for students who plan to take electricity and magnetism in the near future and want a sneak preview of what's coming.
  • This course can also be helpful for new physics teachers who are looking for ideas of how to present the concepts in different ways.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
What Will I Learn?
Explain how objects get electrically charged, both with and without touching other charged objects.
Set up and solve problems involving Coulomb's Law
Explain how the electric field is independent of the test charge
Solve problems involving electric charges moving through electric fields
Determine the electric fields created by point charges and charge distributions
View Curriculum
  • Students should already understand the following math concepts: trigonometry, vectors, algebraic manipulation, and basic calculus derivatives and integrals.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 46 Lectures Collapse All 46 Lectures 03:45:51
2 Lectures 01:59

Welcome to the course!  My #1 goal is to boost your physics grade, and I would love to hear your feedback on what I can do to make this course even better for you.

Course Introduction

Here are some downloadable PDF files with practice questions that you can use to test your understanding.

Practice Activities
Electric Charge and Electric Force
5 Lectures 23:55

The electric charge is the absolute first thing to master when learning electricity and magnetism.  This lecture will quickly show you the key ideas so you can go smoothly through the rest of your course.

Introduction to Electric Charge

Conductors are quite different from insulators, and this lecture quickly shows you how.  I also show you how objects can become charged, including a description of how to use the triboelectric series to determine which object will become positive (or negative) when two materials are rubbed together.

Conductors, Insulators, and Charging

Charge polarization, which occurs when positive and negative charges are separated, explains how insulators can experience an electric force and sets up the foundation for understanding charging by induction in the next lecture.

Charge Polarization

When you charge an object by induction, you are charging it by using a different charged object but without actually touching the charged object.  Many students misunderstand how this works, and this lecture will set you straight so you can ace this question on your exam.

Charging by Induction

Coulomb's Law tells us how to calculate the electric force between point charges.  This idea becomes a cornerstone for the rest of the course because the electric force just keeps coming back.

Coulomb's Law
Electric Fields
6 Lectures 41:10

Mastering the electric field, and the idea of the test charge, is one of the most important things you can do to ace your electricity and magnetism course.  This lecture builds heavily on the comparison of the force of gravity and the idea of a gravitational field, to help you relate the electric force and field to something that's easier to grasp.

Introduction to Electric Fields and the Test Charge

In this lecture, you will see two ways to determine the electric field caused by a point charge.  Later in your course, you will use this idea to find the electric field from many point charges.

Electric Field of a Point Charge

Electric field lines are used to visualize the direction of the electric field caused by one or more electric charges.  This is a nice quick lecture, since it's a fairly straightforward idea.

Electric Field Lines

When you place a moving point charge inside a constant uniform electric field, the result is just like projectile motion, with two big differences!  First, the electric force can be in any direction - unlike gravity, which is typically vertically down.  Second, the electric force direction depends on whether the charge is positive or negative - unlike gravity, in which masses are always attracted to each other.

Motion of a Point Charge in a Constant Uniform Electric Field

Explore how to use calculus to determine the electric field of a continuous charge distribution by considering each tiny piece of charge, dq, as a point charge.

Also check the external resources for YouTube videos showing how to derive the electric field of a ring and a disk of uniform charge.

Electric Field of a Continuous Charge Distribution

The permittivity constant seems to complicate things now, but it will be used much more in later parts of the course.

Introducing the Permittivity Constant
Gauss' Law
4 Lectures 22:36

Learn the high-level aspects of Gauss' Law that we'll dive into in the following lectures.

Introduction to Gauss' Law

What is Flux?

Gauss' Law and Applications to Charged Insulators

Three Key Ideas about Conductors in Electrostatic Equilibrium
Electric Potential
7 Lectures 25:07
Introduction to Electric Potential and Electric Potential Energy

Electric Potential

Electric Potential Energy

Electric Potential Energy of a System of Point Charges

Equipotential Curves

Electric Field -> Potential Difference

Potential Difference -> Electric Field
DC Circuits Without Capacitors
7 Lectures 39:46
Introduction to DC Circuits Without Capacitors

Circuit Elements and Electric Current

Using a Voltmeter and/or Ammeter

Equivalent Resistance - Series and Parallel

Kirchoff's Current Law (Junction Rule)

Kirchoff's Voltage Law (Loop Rule)

Ideal vs Real emf
DC Circuits With Capacitors
8 Lectures 49:12
Introduction to Capacitors and Capacitance

What is a Capacitor? What about Capacitance?

Equivalent Capacitance - Capacitors in Series

Equivalent Capacitance - Capacitors in Parallel

Special Case: Parallel Plate Capacitor

Energy Stored in a Capacitor

RC Circuits (Charging and Discharging)

Magnetic Field
5 Lectures 20:24
Introduction to Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Field Lines

Magnetic Force on an Electric Charge

Motion of a Charged Particle in a Constant Uniform Magnetic Field

Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Wire
What's Next?
2 Lectures 01:43

Thank you so much for viewing my course!  I hope that it can help boost your physics grade, and I would love to hear your feedback!


Thank You!

If you would like more information about how I can boost students' physics grades, check out this bonus material.

Bonus Lecture: Where to Find More Information
About the Instructor
4.4 Average rating
139 Reviews
4,330 Students
2 Courses
College Physics Tutor and Former Professor

Scott started his career as a Mission Operations Analyst, performing tens of thousands of physics-based computer simulations of the robotic arms on the International Space Station, and providing real-time support to space shuttle missions, over a period of more than 7 years. Always passionate about teaching, Scott conducted some astronaut training at the Canadian Space Agency, and then transitioned to teaching physics at Vanier College in Montreal. After more than 3 years of teaching, Scott retired from full-time employment to spend more time with his growing family. Scott's teaching bug persisted, and Scott soon started tutoring college physics students and creating YouTube videos to help explain concepts at the right level for introductory college physics.

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