MCDB 4650 - Developmental Biology 2021

Fall 2021 TTh 11:10AM-12:25PM in Gold A120


INFORMATION:MCDB 4650 uses beSocratic assignments, in class activities (and lectures).

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

  • Reading and reacting to the text before class: come to class prepared to raise concerns or question and discuss the materials presented.
  • complete beSocratic activities before class. You are not graded for correct or incorrect, but on effort.
  • scheduled "talking with students" times:
    • We are also happy to meet with you at other times, just contact us by email and we can set up a time
    • There is the MCDB Learning Lounge (Porter B0054)(see map ↑) where students often hang out, 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.
  • Class videos will be posted on the course web page - if you miss a class you can review them.
  • Exams: This course builds from one concept to the other -- therefore exams are cumulative, but focused on the topic of the section leading up to the exam.
  • Dossier: You will have an online dossier to post answers to various questions.  Your comments can be revised throughout the semester Dossiers must be completed before the end of the University schedule final exam date.

learning lounge


Classroom Behavior:

Both students and faculty are responsible for maintaining an appropriate learning environment in all instructional settings, whether in person, remote or online. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy.  For more information, see the classroom behavior policy, the Student Code of Conduct, and the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

For policies on covid, names and pronouns, disabilities, religious observances, sexual harassment, and the honor code : see below. 


Requirements for COVID-19

As a matter of public health and safety, all members of the CU Boulder community and all visitors to campus must follow university, department and building requirements and all public health orders in place to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. CU Boulder currently requires COVID-19 vaccination and boosters for all faculty, staff and students. Students, faculty and staff must upload proof of vaccination and boosters or file for an exemption based on medical, ethical or moral grounds through the MyCUHealth portal.

The CU Boulder campus is currently mask-optional. However, if public health conditions change and masks are again required in classrooms, students who fail to adhere to masking requirements will be asked to leave class, and students who do not leave class when asked or who refuse to comply with these requirements will be referred to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. For more information, see the policy on classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct. If you require accommodation because a disability prevents you from fulfilling these safety measures, please follow the steps in the “Accommodation for Disabilities” statement on this syllabus.

If you feel ill and think you might have COVID-19, if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should stay home and follow the further guidance of the Public Health Office ( If you are fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay home; rather, you should self-monitor for symptoms and follow the further guidance of the Public Health Office (


Accommodation for Disabilities

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit your accommodation letter from Disability Services to your faculty member in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities in the academic environment.  Information on requesting accommodations is located on the Disability Services website. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or  for further assistance.  If you have a temporary medical condition, see Temporary Medical Conditions on the Disability Services website.

Preferred Student Names and Pronouns

CU Boulder recognizes that students' legal information doesn't always align with how they identify. Students may update their preferred names and pronouns via the student portal; those preferred names and pronouns are listed on instructors' class rosters. In the absence of such updates, the name that appears on the class roster is the student's legal name.


Honor Code

All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Honor Code. Violations of the Honor Code may include, but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access to academic materials, clicker fraud, submitting the same or similar work in more than one course without permission from all course instructors involved, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (; 303-492-5550). Students found responsible for violating the Honor Code will be assigned resolution outcomes from the Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution as well as be subject to academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the Honor Code academic integrity policy can be found on the Honor Code website.

Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Harassment and/or Related Retaliation

CU Boulder is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming learning, working, and living environment. University policy prohibits sexual misconduct (harassment, exploitation, and assault), intimate partner violence (dating or domestic violence), stalking, protected-class discrimination and harassment, and related retaliation by or against members of our community on- and off-campus. These behaviors harm individuals and our community. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) addresses these policies, and individuals who believe they have been subjected to misconduct can contact OIEC at 303-492-2127 or email Information about university policies, reporting options, and support resources can be found on the OIEC website.

Please know that faculty and graduate instructors have a responsibility to inform OIEC when they are made aware of any issues related to these policies regardless of when or where they occurred to ensure that individuals impacted receive information about their rights, support resources, and resolution options. To learn more about reporting and support options for a variety of concerns, visit Don’t Ignore It.

Religious Holidays

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.


EVALUATION (GRADES) :Your grade is determined by three independent measures (500 points).

  1. Google Doc portfolio: 30% of class grade (150 points): You are expected to complete the various activities before class and then update your responses to related questions in your dossier, which you can update and revise throughout the semsester.
  2. beSocratic activities:10% (50 points) of total grade.
  3. Exams: Your two exam scorses account for 60% of grade (300 points).

Summary: A > 90%, B >75%, C >60% D>50%. F<50%