Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
a. Glossary is provided at the end of each chapter, but I feel the definitions are not detailed enough and are too specialized without referencing the particular cases where it is applicable. For example, the rms equations work for sinusoidal functions (which is what the book deals with) but, that limitation is not clearly stated to the student. Some glossary terms are a bit too succinct and as a result are oversimplified. For example: "model: simplified description that contains only those elements necessary to describe the physics of a physical situation"
b. Some glossary terms are repeated with a different definition “grounded: when a conductor is connected to the Earth, allowing charge to freely flow to and from Earth’s unlimited reservoir grounded: connected to the ground with a conductor, so that charge flows freely to and from the Earth to the grounded object” p. 652
c. The index is fairly detailed, easy to click on the page in the pdf.
d. The range of topics covered is quite vast and is enough for a first-year introduction. However, the amount of detail provided for some of the basic concepts is in some cases too little.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
I would need to go through the text with a fine-toothed comb to be able to say this with all certainty, but it seems that overall the material is accurate, error-free and unbiased.
Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
I believe so, of course there are (as always) the photos with computers that look dated, but should not be difficult to fix. Many images are general enough to withstand the test of time. The material is modular enough that things could be added/removed/modified as needed.
Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
a. I find that the explanations of the basics for many topics are too limited. More time is devoted to the (admittedly more interesting!) subtopics or ideas that follow the basics. I think that the explanations of the basics are lacking, especially in the later chapters, and the students may need to use additional references. However, the text is more interesting than others because of the inclusion of the extras.
b. On the same theme, most examples are great ‘application’ type, however, many students may not be familiar with the terminology used for a particular device (such as a combustion engine or headphones/mic) and I feel insufficient explanation of each item is given. Also, some examples are a bit confusing, Fig. 16.18., Fig. 23.36
c. Much of the data is presented in a tabular format, an associated graphical representation would be useful. ex. table 14.4
d. The authors clearly tried to make connections with real-life examples and I think that is very helpful to get the students' intuition to connect to the challenging concepts.
Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
Seems that way, I could find no glaring inconsistencies. The one thing that is a bit odd is some terms are defined twice with 2 different definitions. For example:
Definitions at end of chapter repeats Ch. 11:
“diastolic pressure: the minimum blood pressure in the artery
diastolic pressure: minimum arterial blood pressure; indicator for the fluid balance”
Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
a. Each chapter is sectioned, labeled and indexed well. Has own self-contained glossary and review at the end. Obviously, some chapters must be done after others, especially the specialized chapters, but this is not an issue. Other than that, there is not undue reliance on previously presented material. In fact, some material is repeated in several locations in the text as needed.
b. In general, the text is quite large and would definitely need to be split up in some way. Chapters would have to be omitted or the text would have to be split into 2 parts. It seems that it lends itself well to that.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The tone of the text is definitely accessible to students, and is an easy read. However, the flow of ideas (in some cases) may be difficult for inexperienced students to follow. The thoughts are not compartmentalized, they are more of a lecture-style explanation rather than solid, clear-cut description of the material. I think this will work well for the more engaged students but may be difficult for the weaker students. This may potentially be an issue.
Personally, I would have re-organized some of the chapter contents and grouped things together a bit differently (especially the circuits, EM chapters), but I think that is more of a personal preference rather than a criticism.
Organization Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
a. Images: There is quite a bit of jpeg aberration with images that are not photographs (which really should not be saved as jpegs in the first place). This appears on images such as graphs, vector diagrams, tables, etc. that were placed in as images, and this is really quite distracting. This would be an easy fix for the book authors, just saving the original images in a format which is more appropriate for that image type (such as bmp or gif) would remove the issue entirely. (ex. image on p.100 and many, many others)
Aside from that, some pixilation is also evident in some photos, but not terrible. Most figures themselves are clear and of good size, but some are a bit cluttered and small, ex. 18.24.
b. In general, some images have a feeling of being placed a bit haphazardly, maybe rounding the corners or putting a frame around them would have made them look more in-place. Other images look well integrated.
c. Equations: Inconsistent sizing of things like brackets, superscripts look out of place, bars over symbols are too far just general formatting issues. Probably occurred when the document was converted to pdf. Some numbers look larger than the surrounding text.
d. Navigation: The links that I tested worked (from index, to chapter section, to the PhET simulations).
Interface Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
None that I noticed.
Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
Images try to be inclusive of various ethnicities. I saw no offensive terminology.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
a. The use of the links to java games (PhET Interactive Simulations) is a great idea, though the games themselves are not particularly good or well-defined (it is not clear what the user is supposed to do to play the game).
b. I’ve never been a huge fan of the prime (‘) notation for anything other than the derivative. Text uses it for the quantity “some time later” in Ch. 8.
c. Some questions are of the “Professional application” nature, I think that is really nice to spark the students’ interest and show application of the material in the real world.
d. Many biomedical applications and examples in this text. I do find this material interesting, but it is a definite extra that is very prevalent in the chapter questions as well as supporting chapters. I'm a fan of applications, but I wish the topics were a bit more varied.
e. I like the presence of conceptual questions at the end of the chapters, gives the students a chance to test their 'general feel' of the concepts before plugging in numbers into equations.
f. In terms of relevance to Canada: there are quite a few photographs of US navy, SOPS, NASA, security agents. Many examples of places in the United States, the book is definitely US-centric.