MCDB 1111 coreBioI – fundamentals

Fall 2017 MWF 10-10:50 in MCDB A120 (GOLD)


Prof. Mike Klymkowsky (aka Prof. or Dr. K)
Office: Porter Bioscience B425 Office hours: 4:15 to 5:15 on Wednesdays
or (if necessary) appointment - e-mail me @

Learning Assistants:
Tamar Hedeshian (office hour: Mondays from 2-3PM in Learning Lounge: Porter B0054
Keegan King: (office hour: 11:00 to noon on Tuesdays Learning Lounge: Porter B0054

Teaching Assistant
Jessica Westfall (office hours: Wednesday from 9-9:50am in Learning Lounge: Porter B0054)

For policies on disabilities, religious observances, classroom behavior, sexual harassment, and the honor code : click here

INFORMATION:MCDB 1111 uses an interactive on-line text (through nota bene) and beSocratic tutorials. Full text can be downloaded here:

Read the text first (in NB) and then work through beSocratic activity, note those points you find confusing.

In NB, try and help members of your group with questions & answers; generate a short list of questions you would like to discuss in class.

Please note, I get an email for every comment made.

Tweet #biofundamentals

learning lounge

This course may be different from what you are be used to. There is no co-seminar and all exams are held during scheduled class periods. Our goal is to help you learn biology, not to sort you - so please take that into account.

  • text book is free and on-line (pdf)
  • get lost? google biofundamentals
  • You need access to the web for both NB and beSocratic

Because the class involves active discussion about materials covered, we have a few rules (many based on research on how students learn).

  • Computers and phones in class: In class minimize use of computers; attempt to suppress your cell phone useage (turn off ringer).
  • Reading and reacting to the text before class: come to class prepared to question and discuss the materials presented (that means to raise, answer, or respond to questions). I will tend to wander around the classroom and may tap on the shoulder and ask for your opinion or answer.
  • For this reason, we use an interactive web-based text.
    • You will receive an e-mail (to your official university e-mail address) from nota bene; sign up to establish an account.
    • We will go over how to use NB in class.
    • Please note: 10% of your grade is based on your using NB to interact with the text and your fellow students before class. I will be using your comments to structure in class discussions, so they are both important and valuable.
  • Footnotes within the text are not required reading.
  • Office hours:
    • I have office hours from 3 to 4 every Thursday, feel free to drop in. You can also e-mail to arrange an appointment. My office is 425 Porter BioSciences (in the back of the lab).
    • There is also the MCDB Learning Lounge (Porter B0054) where students from a number of different classes often hang out [map], feel free to use it, since it is for you.
  • Syllabus: The syllabus may change depending on our learning rates. Please check it if you have questions about your study/travel plans.
  • Exams: This course builds from one concept to the other -- therefore all exams are cumulative, but primarily focused on the topic of the section leading up to the exam. There are three midterms and a final (dates can be found on the syllabus).

EVALUATION (GRADES) : Your grade is determined by three independent measures.

  1. Interacting with the text (through NB) and beSocratic activities (10%): You will be expected to comment on, answer, or help answer the questions in the text. Your responses are captured by the system. At the end of the semester, you will be awarded full points if you engage the text and your group in an active and substantial manner. Similarly there is a beSocratic activity due prior to (almost) each class period.
  2. Classroom participation may be used to resolve letter grade boundaries if necessary.
  3. Exams: (90%) Your exam score accounts for 90% of your grade. Exams are not curved.

    I know it now exams: These will be offered with the final, and your IKIN scores will be added to your midterm scores (for midterms 1, 2 and 3).

Summary: A > 90%, B > 80%, C >60% D>50%. F>40%