Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I log in?
You are likely using the wrong username. Please note, your username may NOT be your email address. If you click the “Request New Password” link, then you’ll get a new password, but it won’t work because the password is not the problem. You’re using the wrong username, that’s the problem. You need to use the username you chose, and this may NOT be your email address. Also please note that both the username and password are case and space sensitive.

I can sign-in, but why can’t I enter the course for which I paid?
For all self-study courses you’ll be automatically enrolled and this should not be an issue. For an instructor-led course, however, there’s a path through which this problem may arise. But it’s not really a problem. Rather, it’s a necessary evil. Here’s the deal: If you enter the correct course ID when you registered, then you are automatically enrolled. No problem. If you don’t enter the course ID when you register, then at a later time you can select your course among the many others. There’s a problem. The instructor can only accommodate students whom he or she approves—not just anyone from around the world. Thus, upon joining your instructor’s course, you need to wait for your instructor’s approval. You’ll want to send your instructor the following kind words: “Dear instructor, My name is [     ]. I am enrolled in your course, but my status needs to be modified from “pending” to “active”. Within your “course admin” please modify my membership status accordingly at your earliest convenience. Thank you for letting me know when this has happened. I am eager to begin this semester and looking forward to working with you.”

Where can I learn more about the Conceptual Academy self-study courses?
Scroll down to the bottom of any page, including this one, and click the “Self-Study Courses” link within the footer.

I'm registered and enrolled in a course, but I don't see the chapter reading quizzes nor the video quizzes
You’re looking at the public side of the website. You need to be logged into your account upon which you'll see a big blue “My Profile” button in top right of your browser. Just to the left of the My Profile button you'll see the “My Courses” link. Click that link and it will bring you to the list of your courses. Most students will have only one course, but it's possible to have more than one. Click "enter" to enter a course. You'll be brought to the FYI page of your first class where you'll see your instructor's profile image, advice about the content, and documents to download (scroll downward). To the left of the FYI page you'll see the list of chapter sections you are to study for this class. Click a chapter section and the video tutorials for that chapter section will appear. Please note: There may be several videos for one chapter section—you need to watch ALL these videos to complete the tutorial for that one chapter section. The chapter reading quiz will be at the bottom of the list of chapter sections (your reading assignment) and you'll find a video quiz button under each video (most videos, actually, not all). Also, for some chapter sections there are no videos and you'll see a graphic with a "For Your Consideration" question, which, though not for credit, you should seriously try to answer.

Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?
Quick answer: Scroll downward. Long Answer: Any website is intuitive after you know where to look. Thank you for your patience as you become familiar with our layout. You’ll note our aim has been to keep each page as clean as possible and free of any advertisements. That said, we have much to offer, which makes placing our resources on each page a challenge. With user feedback, we expect navigation to improve over time. For now, when in doubt, scroll downward!

How do I use this website?
Please watch our help videos, which you’ll find within the “About This Site” main menu as well as within the footer of every page under “More Help Videos”.

What are your instructor-led courses?
After making contact with a qualified instructor, we set up an account for that instructor. Through this account all of our online resources are collated to the instructor’s course syllabus, from one semester to the next. With a course ID, the instructor’s students enroll in this customized course where they navigate through our resources by the calendar dates of their semester. Reading quizzes give students credit for having read the textbook. Video quizzes provide credit for having watched our video tutorials. We offer other resources, such as worksheets and study advice on the content of each class. The main focus of Conceptual Academy is on delivering academic content, much like the textbook but through a different medium. The instructor’s main focus can then be on helping the students to learn that content, which happens outside of Conceptual Academy through classroom activities, follow-up lectures, office visits, homework assignments, laboratories, exams, and more. This is also known as the "hybrid" or the "flipped classroom" model in which students go home for their lectures and reading assignments and come to class (virtual or on-campus) to study with their peers under the expert guidance of their course instructor.

What are your self-study courses?
Our self-study courses are very similar to our instructor-led courses (read the above) except the author steps in to serve the role of the instructor. Clearly, this is less than optimal given that the author is not available for providing personal assistance. However, as experienced professors, they have anticipated questions and concerns about the material through their personalized “FYI” pages found for each class within the course.  Also included are numerous worksheets, chapter summaries, and, most importantly, the unit exams with directions on how to take these exams using the collaborative “pyramid” format. Ideally, the student taking a self-study course has a mentor to help guide and inspire them throughout the course. The textbook must be purchased separately. There are numerous hands-on activities within the textbook that can serve as the lab experience.

The Conceptual Academy video lessons work well for me. Do I still need the textbook?
Yes, you need the textbook. You really do. Our video lessons will give you the context you need to read the textbook with greater understanding. Perhaps more importantly, however, the textbook also contains the questions at the back of each chapter. It’s essential that you work on these questions. Hmm. Consider this: If you think you only need to watch our video lessons and read the textbook, then you’re in trouble. It’s one thing to absorb information. It’s quite another to be able to articulate that information yourself. If you understand something, if you really do, then you should be able to explain it to some one else. That should be your litmus test of whether you have learned or not. To get to that point, you open your mouth and start talking. Not easy! You also get there by working on the questions at the back of each chapter. Also not easy! Stop grumbling. When learning is easy, so is forgetting. We all need to exert effort in order to learn. No one is exempt. Please read the article on “How to Study Effectively”. This article will empower you to do well both in school and beyond.

Why are your textbooks so expensive? Can I use an earlier edition? 
The textbook industry is undergoing some significant changes. It's a long story that you can read about in our article "Why Are Textbooks So Expensive". The short version is that authors and publsihers receive zero compensation for the sale of used and rented textbooks. It's a lot of work writing a textbook. It's not so much work binding 800 pieces of paper to a cover and moving it from point A to point B. In buying a used textbook you're buying the movement of that paper into your hands. Zero dollars of your money goes to the people who crafted the very reason you're wanting that paper in your hands. To compensate for zero income from the use of their intellectual property, the publisher keeps raising the price far beyond normal rates of inflation. It's a non-sustainable cycle about to burst along with health care costs and increasing tuition. Sigh. But to the second question. Can you use an earlier edition with Conceptual Academy? Yes!! First, please note that by joining Conceptual Academy you are supporting the creators of your curriculum directly. Our gratitude runs deep as this allows us to continue doing what we love doing and have been trained to do, which is to create meaningful curriculum. That said, please go for the latest edition you can possibly afford. Toward that consider the eTextbooks, which you'll find much more affordable. To get more specific, regarding any of our chemistry courses, you'll need the 4th or 5th edition of Conceptual Chemsitry. The third edition really won't do as the sequence of topics has since been modified significantly. For Conceptual Physics, the latest 12th edition is the first edition to have section numbers. This is important as the video lessons here at Conceptual Academy are organized by section numbers. In a pinch, the 11th edition will work, but you'll experience some confusion of what goes where. For Conceptual Physical Science, the 5th edition is particularly important for the changes that were made to the astronomy chapters. As you may know these days there is a lot changing in our understanding of astronomy as more and more discoveries are being mades using space probes and space telescopes. Your next question will be: "Really, what significant improvements are made from one edition to the next?" Please understand that a textbook is more than a collection of facts and figures. There is a pedagogy that can only be developed through years of classroom feedback. Think of it this way, would you want to use a modern phone or one from the 1950's. They both do the same thing, right? Of course they don't. Similarly, might you rather use a textbook from the 1950's? Of course not. Our understanding of how we humans learn is improving, as is the technology that helps us to create curriculum from which students can learn. The changes from one edtion to the next may at times be slight, but over the life of a textbook, these changes really add up. So, we suggest you go for the latest edition you can afford. And thank you for your support!

Is Conceptual Academy compatible with mobile devices?
Almost, not quite. This "rich and robust" site is optimized for desktops and laptops. To accommodate smart phones and tablets we have "mobile links" underneath each video lesson assuring that you are able to play that video on your mobile device.