Grading for the Biology Graduate Students
Grades are assigned based on lab reports, assignments, and participation (including the notebook, outlines, and lab etiquette). Students are expected to demonstrate their mastery of the material through the successful completion of all assignments.
On the first day of lab, you will be given a preliminary homework set dealing with math and graphing (dilutions, making solutions, and creating and interpreting standard curves). You should have seen this math before. If any of it is hazy, come see me. This assignment will be worth 50 points. The Assignment is due on September 4.
Over the course of the semester, you will turn in 5 formal lab reports as outlined below:
Pipetting and Dilutions
LDH Purification and Enzymatic Analysis
2, 3, and 4
Characterization of LDH Using SDS-Page and Western Blotting
5 and 6
Analysis of GMOs
TUES Nov 25
Experiment #9 will be turned in as a 50 point assignment, not as a lab report. It will be due December 4.
Specific Aims/Grant Writing Graduate Assignment: In addition to regular assignments, biology graduate students will be required to write an expanded Specific Aims section of a hypothetical grant proposal. The Specific Aims Assignment will be worth 100 points and is described on the pages following the Schedule of Experiments.
Lab Reports are worth a total of 550 points; participation is worth 100 points; the Specific Aims Assignment is worth 100 points. The overall class is worth 750 points. Grades will be assigned on a strict 10% scale based on 750 pts (100-90% = A; 89-80% = B; 79-70% = C; 69-60% = D; 59% and below = F).
Attendance of the lab is mandatory (this includes the pre-lab lecture and the lab itself). Lab meets once per week and labs build upon each other. Although you will be working in groups, it is not acceptable to miss class. Students are expected to have read all materials prior to class and to have formulated a flowchart or some sort of outline for the day’s work to make the course run more smoothly. If you have a dire excuse (extreme and verifiable illness, accident, or injury; extreme family emergency) and you have proof of this dire excuse (which must be provided to me), one lab may be missed without penalty. Missing more than one lab will result in an instructor drop with the grade of “F”. Please plan on being present the entire lab period as well; you may get out early, but you should not assume that you will.
Students are required to maintain a laboratory notebook for this class. You will use the notebook to record protocols and any changes made to those protocols, individual and class lab data, and all calculations made during the course of your experiments. You will then use your notebook to write your lab reports. Below are some guidelines for keeping a laboratory notebook. You should also read Boyer, Chapter 1, Section B for more information.
You will be turning in 5 formal Lab Reports over the course of the semester as outlined in the Grading section of this syllabus. To help you write your lab reports, you will use LabWrite, a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded lab report writing tutorial system designed by NC State University. LabWrite is freely available at http://www.ncsu.edu/labwrite/index_labwrite.htm. LabWrite has many useful features and will help you to write a good lab report. You should also consult Boyer, Chapter 1, Section B. Lab reports must be typed in their entirety (including photo captions, tables, graphs, etc.). All 8 sections described in LabWrite (from title to references) must be included in each report. Reports will be held to the highest writing standards, so make sure you proofread your work before you turn it in! All reports are to be individually written, but you may talk with your lab partners and work together when discussing results. Below are some general notes to consider while writing your lab reports:
No late assignments will be accepted for any reason. This is a non-negotiable policy. Lab reports are due at the beginning of lab lecture on the days specified in the grading section.
Cell Phones in Lab
You should never make or receive phone calls or texts during lab. Phones are a distraction that can result in lab accidents that are harmful to you, your lab partners, and your experiments. If I catch you on your phones playing, you will lose 1% from your overall grade in the lab. An exception to the “no cell phones in lab policy” may on occasion be made for data collection purposes. Cell phones can be of surprising use in documenting data; HOWEVER, should you spill anything caustic on your phone or contaminate your phone with potentially hazardous or infectious materials, YOUR PHONE WILL BE CONFISCATED AND TREATED AS WASTE (i.e., it will be destroyed and you will NOT be reimbursed for your loss). Many phones will fit into a plastic baggie if you wish to protect your phone and use it in the lab. In all cases, cell phone use is to be limited and any loss of damage associated with cell phone use in the lab will be the fault of the student, not the department.
University Code of Conduct
For university standards of conduct please refer to the MSU Student Handbook. In general, students are to attend all meetings of all classes; instructors may drop students for excessive absences, indifference, disruptive behavior, or failure to complete class assignments; students are prohibited from cheating, plagiarizing, or colluding. Students are expected to have read the Student Handbook.
Cheating, plagiarism, and collusion (as well as several other forms of conduct) are all strictly prohibited at MSU. Please read the MSU Student Handbook definitions of cheating, plagiarism, and collusion and MAKE SURE that you do not engage in any of these behaviors. If you are unclear on what may count as cheating, plagiarism, or collusion, please see the instructor or the Dean of Students.
According to the 2012-2013 MSU Student Handbook, p. 47, “An instructor may drop a student any time during the semester for excessive absences, for consistently failing to meet class assignments, for an indifferent attitude, or for disruptive conduct.” For the purposes of this course, “consistently failing to meet class assignments” includes consistently not turning in assigned work or turning in work that consistently receives a failing grade.
By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.