(August 1, 2020)
A student’s final grade for the course will be based upon the total number of points earned. Students shall have the opportunity to earn a minimum of 1000 points that are divided between those available via the lecture component of the course and those through the laboratory component, The pertinent details are provided below.
In brief, the lecture component is worth 80% of a student’s course grade. The laboratory component is worth 20% of a student’s course grade. There are a few “built-in” opportunities to earn bonus points (see below). However, a student’s final course grade is based upon an absolute scale, i.e., there is no curving of this scale. Moreover, a student’s success in the laboratory must meet certain levels to receive a particular final course grade. These details are discussed in the relevant sections below.
Students need to take note that all examinations, quizzes, and other graded activities (e.g., SmartBook assignments, LabSmart exercises, etc.) shall be administered via the CONNECT learning platform. Most examinations and quizzes shall take place in the class room, therefore students must possess an appropriate laptop computer to take this course. In addition, most examinations and quizzes shall be electronically proctored. Details regarding the proctoring procedure shall be detailed at a later time.
Lecture Grade Components
Examinations. Dates for examinations have been established (see Lecture Schedule). These dates are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Five examinations will be given throughout the semester. The first four are worth 100 points each. The last exam, which shall be semi-comprehensive, is worth 125 points. Collectively, all five examinations are worth 525 points towards a student’s course grade.
Take note: each student in each lecture session shall not have the same version of the examination. Typically, examinations shall be mainly comprised of multiple-choice questions, true/false statements, and matching problems. However, fill-in-the-blank type questions and short essay questions may be used as well. These examinations will focus solely on material covered since the previous examination, yet current material often builds upon that previously covered in the course. The last examination is semi-comprehensive mainly covering recent material, but it will include a number of questions covering previously presented information.
Students must understand two important course policies regarding the examinations:
i) Make-up examinations will be given ONLY at Dr. Cooper’s discretion upon either verification of an “excused absence” or an acceptable extenuating circumstance. Make-up examinations may take any form, including the use of oral or essay questions.
ii) Except for extenuating circumstances, it is unacceptable for a student to request to take an examination at a time other than scheduled. Having a second examination, or even a third examination, the day before, the day after, on the same day of the scheduled microbiology examination is not even remotely a rational or valid reason to request a change in the microbiology examination date. (Out of curiosity, did you ask the other instructor to change the date of their examination?) Moreover, a request to take an examination earlier/later for vacation, holiday, or like purposes is entirely unacceptable. The latter is especially true of the final examination. Do not make plans to finish the semester earlier than 10:00 AM on December 11th. Requests to take Exam V on a different day/time shall not be honored.
CONNECT SmartBook Exercises. For each chapter covered, students should complete an assigned SmartBook exercise via CONNECT. The dates that these exercises are opened and closed have been scheduled (see the table below and Lecture Schedule). All exercises will be open at 8:00 AM on the stated date and close at 10:00 AM on the stated date. The deadlines are firm – there shall be no extensions! Each exercise will incur a significant amount of time to complete. Therefore, plan accordingly. Collectively, the exercises are worth 175 points towards a student’s course grade. Partially completed exercises earn partial credit. Non-submission of an exercise for any reasons will result in a score of “0” for that assignment.
SmartBook Assignments on CONNECT
Quizzes. Students shall have two chances to take the assigned weekly quiz. The first opportunity shall be in class. However, due to the current circumstances pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new feature will be implemented this semester for BIOL 3702 and BIOL 3702H – the “Second Chance Quiz”. The Second Chance Quiz” shall be made available to students who miss an in-class quiz due to their absence, or to any student who did not fare well on the in-class quiz. Both types of quizzes are worth the same number of points and cover the same material. Also, please take note of the following items:
1) Each student in each lecture session shall not have the same version of the in-class or Second Chance quiz.
2) Each quiz shall be mainly comprised of multiple-choice questions, true/false statements, and matching problems.
3) Quizzes will focus solely on material assigned for that particular week.
4) If a student takes both types of quizzes, only the highest score shall be counted towards a student’s total course score.
5) In-Class Quizzes and Second Chance Quizzes can never be “made up” regardless of reason. Because students have two chances to take the weekly quiz, the excused absence policy does not apply to either quiz. Extenuating circumstances may be considered by Dr. Cooper, but his decision is final.
In-Class Quizzes: Dates for eleven (11) in-class quizzes have been established (see Lecture Schedule). These dates are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.
These quizzes are worth 5 points each. A missed/unsubmitted quiz will incur a score of “0”. However, this grade component is worth 50 points total. Hence, if a student misses one in-class quiz, no real harm will occur to the student’s course grade. Missing more than one quiz may have an impact upon the number of points a student can earn. However, a student does have an opportunity to take a Second Chance Quiz regardless if the in-class version was submitted or not. As a reminder, there are no make-up chances for the in-class quiz.
Second Chance Quizzes: Second Chance Quizzes have been scheduled for specific days and times, usually on a Friday through to Saturday at noon. Please refer to the Lecture Schedule for specific dates and times. These quizzes are worth 5 points each.
A student may take a Second Chance Quiz regardless if the in-class version was submitted or not. If a student scores better on the Second Chance Quiz than the in-class version, then the former score shall be recorded for that week’s quiz score. If a student scores worse on the Second Chance Quiz, then the score of the in-class version shall be recorded. As a reminder, the privilege to take the Second Chance Quiz is a one-time opportunity not subject to the excused absence policy. That is, there are no make-up chances.
Active Learning Activities: Five (5) in-class activities have been scheduled. The specific details shall be provided by Dr. Cooper at the time of administration. Each activity is worth 10 points, thereby contributing a potential 50 points towards a student’s course grade.
Bonus Points. There is no inherent right for “bonus points”. Bonus points are only a courtesy that may be extended to students.
Please take note of the following:
· The availability of “bonus points” is wholly at Dr. Cooper’s discretion. Usually, examinations and the occasional quiz include one or more bonus points.
· Students MUST NOT ask for bonus points or special projects to earn bonus points. Such requests will be denied.
· Bonus point opportunities are never able to be “made up”. If a student misses them by being tardy, absent, or otherwise, the opportunity is gone.
· Known “bonus point” opportunities include the following non-mandatory elements:
o Assessment Quiz. Students cannot study for this in class quiz to be given during the first week of classes (see Lecture Schedule). There will be no extensions or “make ups” granted if the quiz is not submitted.
o Prep Microbiology exercise (available via CONNECT). This exercise is worth 10 bonus points – 1% of the course grade. It is available on August 17th at 8:00 AM and is due on August 28th at 10:00 AM (see Lecture Schedule). This is a firm deadline with no possible extensions.
o Syllabus Acknowledgement and Liability Waiver. Submission of these elements by the stated deadlines will earn a student one (1) bonus point each. See the “Syllabus Related Assignment” file in CONNECT to complete these requirements.
BIOL 3702L Laboratory Grade Components
Safety Quiz. This quiz, worth 15 points towards a student’s overall laboratory score, will cover those important safety items and rules as presented by the laboratory instructor. Please refer to the web page BIOL 3702L Laboratory Safety Rules and Procedures.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Any student not scoring at least 12 points on the safety quiz shall not be permitted to participate in any laboratory activity. The student must repeat taking the quiz (a different version) until a minimum score of 12 or better is achieved.
Pre-Lab Quizzes. Nine (9) scheduled pre-lab quizzes (meaning before attending a laboratory session), worth 10 points each, have been scheduled. The scores of these quizzes will be counted for a total of 90 points towards a student’s overall laboratory grade. The quizzes will cover the material provided in the laboratory instructions for the exercise(s) performed or to be performed that day/week.
These pre-lab quizzes must be taken prior a scheduled laboratory period in which the student is enrolled and has been assigned. Quizzes will normally (but not always) be available via CONNECT sometime on the Friday before the following week’s laboratory exercises. That is, if a student is assigned the 8:00 – 9:30 AM laboratory session on Wednesdays, the quiz must be taken prior to 8:00 AM that day. However, take note, due to holidays and the coronavirus pandemic interfering with a normal semester schedule, some particular pre-lab quizzes for specific laboratory sections shall be given at different times. Regardless, no exceptions to this submission deadline shall be granted. Students are encouraged to confirm the individual quiz deadlines on CONNECT.
Laboratory Reports. These reports are worth a total of 100 points towards a student’s overall laboratory grade. Note: At this time a plan for paperless submission of reports is being considered. Details will be provided at a later date. Regardless, unless otherwise noted by the laboratory instructor, laboratory reports submitted after the time stated by the instructor shall not be accepted and a score of “0” shall be recorded.
Skills Tests. These exercises, worth a total of 45 points towards the overall laboratory grade, are designed to assess a student’s mastery of particular microbiological skills. The particular instructions for these Skill Tests shall described in handouts provided as links in the laboratory web page. The Skill Tests to be performed this semester and their point values are as follows: Microscopy (5 points); Streak Plate (5 points); Gram Stain (5 points); and Bacterial Unknowns (30 points).
Again, however, at this time a plan for paperless submission of reports is being considered. Details will be provided at a later date
CONNECT LearnSmart Laboratory Exercises. Students are to complete three Learn Smart Laboratory Exercise, each worth 10 points (a total of 30 points towards the overall laboratory grade). The dates that these exercises are open and closed have been scheduled (see BIOL 3702L Schedule of Laboratory Activities; see also the composite Lecture Schedule). All exercises will be open at 8:00 AM on the stated date and close at 5:00 PM on the stated date. These exercises will incur a significant amount of effort on a student’s part – about 1 to 1.5 hours each. Therefore, students should plan accordingly.
Deadlines for these exercises are firm and will not be changed or extended upon a student’s request. Partially completed exercises will earn partial credit. An exercise not submitted on time will incur a score of “0”.
Laboratory Etiquette/Citizenship. This grade element, worth a total of 20 points towards the overall laboratory grade, represents a subjective assessment by the laboratory instructor regarding a student’s demeanor in the lab, including collegiality, ability to follow instructions, cooperation in keeping the lab neat and clean, following instructions (especially safety guidelines), etc.
Bonus Points. There is there an inherent right for bonus points. At the discretion of the laboratory instructor, bonus points may be made available. Students MUST NOT ask for bonus points or special projects to earn bonus points. In addition, bonus point opportunities are never able to be “made up”. If a student misses them by being tardy, absent, or otherwise, the opportunity is gone.
Laboratory Grade Policy. Laboratory Grades Matter! As a reminder, the laboratory section of this course is worth 20% of the overall BIOL 3702 course grade, or 200 points. However, the grade components for BIOL 3702L comprise various opportunities to earn 300 points. Therefore, the total number points earned by a student in BIOL 3702L will be normalized (i.e., proportionally converted) to represent 20% of the course grade.
Regardless of the number of points a student has accumulated in this course, the following policy applies to a student’s final course grade.
· Students who earn 140-159 normalized points (equivalent to a “C”) in the laboratory section of this course shall not be eligible for a final course grade of “A”.
· Students who earn 120-139 normalized points (equivalent to a “D”) in the laboratory section of this course shall not be eligible for a final course grade of “B” or better.
· Students who earn 100-119 normalized points (equivalent to a “F”) in the laboratory section of this course shall not be eligible for a final course grade of “C” or better.
Honors (BIOL 3702H) Laboratory Grade Components
Schedule of Activities. See the Honors Laboratory Home Page for details. These activities, some of which are based upon real-time application of microbiological skills, are subject to change.
Grading. A student enrolled in the laboratory component of BIOL 3702H will be evaluated using the following components:
· Laboratory Safety: 10%
Students shall be expected to actively follow all safety rules and procedures throughout the semester. Dr. Cooper will note any deficiencies in this area on an individual’s weekly report (see below).
Early in the semester, a student must pass a safety quiz with a score of at least 80% before being permitted to participate in the laboratory.
· Attendance/Effort: 25%
A student’s active participation and presence in the laboratory shall be monitored by several means, including attendance of class meetings and weekly reports (see below). It is expected that students put forth more than a minimal effort to accomplish the goals of their assigned project. It is anticipated that a student shall commit to actively participating in the laboratory for a minimum of 10 hours per week. Dr. Cooper will note any deficiencies in this area on an individual’s weekly report (see below).
· Weekly Reports/Group Notebook: 25%
Students shall be required to submit individual reports on a weekly basis regarding their activities for the week, results obtained, areas needing attention, and a brief synopsis of next steps. Dr. Cooper will note any deficiencies on this report and return it to the student.
In addition, groups working together on a particular project shall maintain an up-to-date and detailed laboratory notebook. The notebook is subject to periodic inspection by Dr. Cooper.
· Laboratory Etiquette/Citizenship: 10%
Students shall work collaboratively and collegially with all persons in the laboratory, abide by all safety considerations, perform their respective share of routine laboratory tasks, and maintain an orderly and clean laboratory environment. Dr. Cooper will note any deficiencies in this area on an individual’s weekly report (see above).
· Semester Report: 15%
A group of students assigned to a particular project shall prepare a scientific report that details the group’s methods, results, and conclusions. The specific parameters for the preparation and grading of this report shall be provided by Dr. Cooper.
· Public Presentation: 10%
A group of students assigned to a particular project shall present their work in a public forum (e.g., biology seminar, QUEST, etc.). Depending upon the type of presentation, this may require with a PowerPoint or poster presentation that details the group’s methods, results, and conclusions. The specific type of presentation and the parameters for its preparation and grading shall be provided by Dr. Cooper.
Total Points. Using the above grade components for students enrolled in the laboratory component of BIOL 3702H, the total number of points shall be calculated based upon a possible 200 points that can be earned.
With consideration of the laboratory grade policy noted above, the following unconditional grading scale will be used to determine a student’s final grade in this course:
· Grade of A = 900 or more total points earned
· Grade of B = 800 – 899 total points earned
· Grade of C = 700 – 799 total points earned
· Grade of D = 600 – 699 total points earned
· Grade of F = 599 or less total points earned
This grading scale is absolute! For example, a grade of “B” will be given to a student who earns 899 points. NO EXCEPTIONS! My reasoning is simple – at a minimum, every student in this course has the opportunity to earn 3% or more of the total course points as bonus points. Students should realize the following: a good grade is not an entitlement; it is an earned honor.
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