MCB 300
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
course home pagecourse contactUniversity of Illinois

Grading Policies

Basis for Course Grades:

Plus and minus letter grades will be used for semester grades.

The Grading Scale is as follows:

A+ 960-1000 C+ 720-759
A 920-959 C 680-719
A- 880-919 C- 640-679
B+ 840-879 D+ 600-639
B 800-839 D 560-599
B- 760-799 D- 520-559
    F less then 520

All point totals are estimates and may be altered slightly throughout the course of the semester. The point totals contained in the following table represent the use of the plus/minus grading system coupled with a 4.0 grade point system. The University has assigned the grade point values shown for each letter grade. Students who earn the points shown below (out of 1000 possible points) will be guaranteed the indicated letter grade. At semester's end, after the final exam, the faculty will analyze the course grade distribution, and may decrease, but will not increase the points needed for each grade.

Listed below are the total possible points for your score:

A. Three exams (150 pts. each) 450 points possible
B. Final exam (150 pts.) 150 points possible
C. Eight homeworks (44 pts. each; drop one) 308 points possible
D. Thirty-one Clicker questions (4pts for correct responses, 2 pts for participation, 0 pts for no response; drop 4 each half) 92 points possible
  Total possible points 1000


There will be 8 homeworks worth 44 points each; the lowest homework will be dropped. Each homework (worth 44 points total) will be composed of 32 points of multiple choice and 12 points of short answer questions.  The lectures covered by each homeworks can be found on the syllabus, but will usually cover material since the last homework.  Homeworks will be open at 11am and close 10am on the due date. These will be completed in LON-CAPA (please see instructions for LON-CAPA below if you are not familiar with the system). Note: No make-up homeworks will be given.

Please make sure that you are able to access LON-CAPA in advance of your first homework. If you have problems please contact Renee Alt for assistance.


iClicker questions will be asked during certain lectures during the semester, these lectures are noted on the syllabus. You will receive 4 points for answering questions correctly, 2 points for incorrect responses and 0 points if you do not participate. Your clickers must be registered in LON-CAPA in order for you to receive credit. You have until the end of the second week of classes to register your clicker. If you have an issue with your clicker during a lecture please come and see Renee Alt immediately after lecture to inform her of your issue and if she determines your issue is excusable you must send an email to no later than 24 hours after that lecture.


If you believe that an answer was improperly graded on an exam or quiz you must fill out a copy of the "Request for Re-grade" form available on the "Forms" link on the course web site. This form must be completed and either electronically sent to Renee Alt ( or a hard copy delivered to her office (232 Burrill Hall). Please note: you do not need to hand in the original assignement.

All requests for re-grades must be made within one week of the day that the graded paper was returned. Due dates for re-grades can be found under the "Regrade Due Dates" link on the website. The grader has the option to leave the score as is and comment further on the answer in question, accept the argument presented and award additional points or lower the original score if he/she finds additional mistakes that were missed during the first round of grading. The paper will be re-evaluated and returned to you within one week of its submission.

Final exams will not be returned to the student and will remain the property of the course, nor will answer keys be posted or made available in any way. Students may make an appointment with Renee Alt in order to view the final but it will stay in the procession of MCB staff. Final exams will not be subject to the MCB 300 regrade procedure, concerns should be directed to Renee Alt.

LON-CAPA Information

The MCB300 Website contains a direct link to the LON-CAPA website ( and login page. Students accessing the LON-CAPA network for the completion of homeworks must first log into this site. Detailed Access Instructions can be found there and part of it is reproduced below:

Welcome to LON-CAPA at UIUC! We will be using LON-CAPA, or Lecture Online Network with Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach, in your MCB course. The software was officially piloted in MCB during the Spring 2005. The program itself is a combination of learning assessment tools with course management capabilities. You will be using LON-CAPA this semester to access and complete MCB300 homeworks.

Access Instructions: In order to log into LON-CAPA you must have a username and a password. Your username is your UIUC NetID (the first part of your University email address). The password for LON-CAPA will have to be established by setting up an Active Directory (AD) password through CITES. To set up your Active Directory password visit the following site:

Click on the Change PASSWORD box to set up your password if you haven't already used Active Directory, then select the CITES Passwords box. You will then need to enter your NetID and NetID password. When setting the password be certain that ONLY the box for AD password is checked. Uncheck the other password boxes. Set up your Active Directory password (please make a note of it to avoid forgetting it later!). Also note that if you have used the AD password in previous semesters, like in other LON-CAPA courses or for WebCT, it is a good idea to change your password for security concerns.

Once you have created an AD password go to the LON-CAPA website at: This log in page will ask you to enter your LON-CAPA username (your UIUC NetID) and password (CITES AD password you created). The domain, uiuc is already filled in for you. After successful login, you will get to a screen with your currently available courses and roles, for example student in MCB 300. Select the course you would like to access. Once you have logged in you can access any of the LON-CAPA content by selecting Main Menu. Inside the course, you can access your assignments (e.g., quizzes) by selecting Navigate Contents at the top of the screen or by clicking on the icon. Clicking on the folders will display the contents within. Once you have selected a problem in a folder you can move through the folder by clicking forward and backward on the arrow buttons at the top of the screen or by going back to Navigate Contents and clicking on each link.

Browsers: LON-CAPA functions using all common and current web browsers, like Mozilla, Firefox, and Safari on PC and Macs, as long as JavaScript and cookies are enabled in your browser. Internet Explorer is not recommended as security boxes will pop up after each page loads. If you have problems seeing figures or getting content to load on your computers, try switching to a different web browser.

Logging out: Make sure you always exit LON-CAPA by either clicking on the exit link at the top right of the screen or by clicking on the exit icon under Main Menu; do not simply close the web browser! If you share a computer or use a computer lab make sure when you are in LON-CAPA you see your name at the top right of the screen.

Troubleshooting: The major cause of problems in using LON-CAPA is students being unable to login. There are two common reasons for this: a locked password or forgetting the password. If the Active Directory password has not been used in a while it is locked for security reasons. The solution to this is to go to the Active Directory website (see above) and click on the unlock ACCOUNT box. If you have forgotten your password click in the change PASSWORD box used when the account was first set up, or contact the CITES Help Desk at 244-7000, and specify you have forgotten your Active Directory password. As always when resetting the password make sure only the AD password box is checked. Do not contact the MCB office or the LON-CAPA Support Staff for questions about forgotten passwords! The AD passwords are handled by CITES exclusively.

If you have any problems using LON-CAPA, contact Renee Alt ( If your question is about a specific issue you encounter while in LON-CAPA, please use the internal communication function, and specify your name, course, section letter, and question (include assignment number, problem number, etc., if applicable).