MCB 354
Biochemical & Physical Basis of Life
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
astenger@illinois.edu
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Course Information

Click here to download a pdf version of the course information and policies.

MCB 354: BIOCHEMICAL & PHYSICAL BASIS OF LIFE

Lecture: 112 Gregory Hall, 9:00–9:50 AM Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

Alejandra Stenger (Course Coordinator); astenger@illinois.edu
   Office: 252B Davenport Hall
   Office Hours: By appointment

Dr. Satish Nair; snair@illinois.edu
   Office: 430 Roger Adams Lab (RAL)
   Office Hours: TBA

Dr. John Gerlt; j-gerlt@illinois.edu
   Office: 3107 Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB)
   Office Hours: TBA

MCB Core Curriculum Office:   252 Davenport Hall; 244–6239; (9:00 AM–12:00 PM, 1:00 PM–5:00 PM M–F)

MCB 354 WEB SITE

Course Web site: www.life.illinois.edu/mcb/354
Course Gradebook: https://gradebook.atlas.uiuc.edu/courses/mcb354/fall14/index.html

REQUIRED MATERIALS

The following is a specific list of items required for MCB 354. These items should be available and should be listed correctly at the Illini Union Bookstore (IUB). They may not be available and it is not guaranteed they will be listed correctly at any other bookstore. Please pay careful attention to dates and editions when purchasing these items. Any items (other than those specifically named below) listed by bookstores as optional or recommended have not been previously approved by the course faculty.

REQUIRED TEXTS & SUPPLIES

  1. "Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Sixth Edition"
    by Nelson and Cox
    W. H. Freeman Publishing, 2012

  2. Note: We are recommending students buy the loose-leaf version of the text which includes E-book access available at IUB and other campus bookstores. Students may elect to purchase new or used copies of the traditional hardback text if they prefer.

  3. Scientific calculator
    NON-GRAPHING with simple log functions
    To be used on exams (graphing calculators may NOT be used during exams)

Students seeking additional readings should refer to most popular biochemistry texts such as Introduction to Protein Structure by Branden and Tooze, Biochemistry by Berg and Stryer, and Biochemistry by Voet and Voet. Some versions of these are on reserve at the MCB Learning Center and the Undergraduate Library.



SECTION CHANGE, ADD AND DROP INFORMATION

Students may add, drop, or change sections of MCB 354 before 5:00 PM, Monday, 8 September 2014.

Friday, 17 October 2014 before 5:00 PM is the last day to drop the course or to elect the Credit/No Credit option.

To elect the Credit/No Credit option, students must apply in their College Office.

To drop the course after the drop deadline, students must petition a Dean in their college office and bring the Instructor's Estimated Grade Report section of petitions to Alejandra Stenger, 252B Davenport Hall, for completion and signature.



WHEN MCB 354 CLASSES BEGIN

MCB 354 lectures will begin on Monday, 25 August 2014 at 9:00 AM in 112 Gregory Hall.

MCB 354 discussions will begin the week of 25 August 2014, in C120 Chemical & Life Science Laboratory (CLSL). The honors section (MCB 297 section) will also meet in C120 CLSL.



EXAM AND CONFLICT EXAM INFORMATION

EXAM INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Exams I, II, and III will be given on Tuesday evenings (see Course Policies: Examinations for exam dates). Arrive early; the exams will begin at 7:00 PM sharp. The exams will cover material from lecture and any assigned reading. Please see the MCB 354 website for any further details concerning each exam.

  2. The exams will be administered in various lecture halls and classrooms on campus and the section location assignments will be posted on the MCB 354 website several days prior to each exam. You must take the exam in the room to which you have been assigned.

  3. Bring your University photo ID, several sharp #2 pencils, and an eraser. You will need a scientific, NON-PROGRAMMABLE calculator to complete these exams. NO PROGRAMMABLE (graphing) CALCULATORS will be allowed in the exam room.

  4. Please do not bring to the exam any backpacks, purses, hats, bags, books, notes, papers, clipboards, musical instruments, or anything other than the items listed in number 3 above. You will be allowed to enter the exam room with these items, but they will be placed away from student seating during the exam. No one will be monitoring who deposits and collects these personal effects, so thefts and mistaken identification of belongings can occur. We urge you not to bring valuables to the exam room. You will be asked to place all jackets/coats completely under the chair in which you are seated. In the case that the floor of the exam room is wet, you will be allowed to place jackets/coats at the front or back of the room during the exam. Cell phones, pagers, ipods, audio equipment, and any other electronic devices must be turned off and placed away from student seating during the exams.

    The MCB 354 faculty/staff is not responsible for any of your personal belongings. We strongly suggest you do not bring them to the exam site. The Illini Union Bookstore has lockers available for temporary storage of such items if you are unable to leave them at home prior to an exam.

  5. If you have a University course that conflicts with the exam, contact Alejandra Stenger by 5:00 PM, the Thursday prior to the exam via the online Conflict Exam Request Form. No late Conflict Exam Requests will be accepted. See the Conflict Exam Instructions section for further details.

  6. If you are ill or incapacitated on the day of an exam, you are urged to seek assistance at McKinley Health Center or elsewhere as needed, and to miss the exam (your score will be prorated if your absence is excused). Do not call your TA. Call Alejandra Stenger or the MCB staff (244-6239) and advise them of your situation. When you are well enough to return to classes, go to the Office of the Dean of Students during regular business hours, M-F 8:30 AM-5:00 PM. It is located in various rooms of Turner Student Services Building, 610 E. John Street, Champaign; 333-0050. Inform the Deans that you need confirmation of a confining illness to be sent to Alejandra Stenger. It is the student's responsibility to provide Alejandra Stenger with all of the documentation received from the Dean's office. NOTE: If you choose to attend an exam while suffering from illness or family/personal emergency, and you choose to complete the exam, that exam determines your score.

  7. Texting, or the use of a cell phone for any purpose during an exam, is prohibited. Doing so may earn you a zero on the exam, or more extreme penalty at the discretion of the instructor.

CONFLICT EXAM INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Conflict exams are given on the regular exam day. You must make arrangements to take a conflict exam by 5:00 PM on the Thursday prior to the exam day. Use the MCB 354 Conflict Exam Request Form on this website to make these arrangements. You must make these arrangements for each exam for which you require a conflict—your request for a conflict exam will not be carried to subsequent exams.

  2. A Conflict Exam will only be given to individuals who find themselves in one of the following situations:

    • A regularly scheduled course for credit at the University that takes place during the scheduled exam time
    • Sporting events for University athletes and club team participants
    • Employment (if possible you should reschedule your work shift)
    • Travel or conferences associated with RSOs (not general meetings)
    • Travel associated with job or secondary school interviews (if possible schedule interviews around exams)

    Please note that you will not be granted a conflict exam for conflicts associated with educational enhancement opportunities (ie, Kaplan Courses, Princeton Review).

    Please bring written documentation supporting your claim of conflict and a copy of your course schedule to 252 Davenport Hall to be time/date stamped and placed in Alejandra Stenger's mailbox. If you have a question about whether your conflict will qualify, please call the MCB Office in advance of the deadline.

  3. Students will be informed via email about the conflict exam time and location after conflict forms have been reviewed.

  4. You will be required to remain in the exam room until exactly 6:50 PM if you are taking it from 5-7 PM. Students taking the conflict exam are given the same exam as students taking the exam at the regular time. In order to protect the integrity of the exam, conflict exam students are held until 6:50 PM. If you wish to use the remaining 10 minutes to complete your exam, you may.



FINAL EXAM AND CONFLICT FINAL EXAM INFORMATION

FINAL EXAM INSTRUCTIONS

  1. The Final Exam will be administered on Monday, 15 December 2014 from 8:00-11:00 AM.

  2. The exam location(s) will be posted on the MCB 354 website by 20 November 2014 at 9:00 AM.

  3. Bring your University photo ID, several sharp #2 pencils and an eraser. You will also need a calculator to complete this exam. No programmable (graphing) calculators will be allowed in the exam room.

  4. Please do not bring to the exam any backpacks, purses, hats, bags, books, notes, papers, clipboards, musical instruments, or anything other than the items listed in number 3 above; you will NOT be allowed to enter the exam room with these items. We urge you not to bring valuables to the exam room. You will be asked to place all jackets/coats completely under the chair in which you are seated. In the case that the floor of the exam room is wet, you will be allowed to place jackets/coats at the front or back of the room during the exam.

    The MCB 354 faculty/staff is not responsible for any of your personal belongings. We strongly suggest you do not bring them to the exam site. The Illini Union Bookstore has lockers available for temporary storage of such items if you are unable to leave them at home prior to an exam.

  5. In case of illness or personal emergency the day of the exam, contact a dean in your college. Contact Alejandra Stenger of your intent to miss the final exam first so she may refer you to the appropriate dean. Note that all students must take the final exam to receive a grade in the course.

  6. A conflict final exam will be given only for students who have met the requirements stated on the Conflict Final Exam Instructions section. Complete the online Final Exam Conflict Request before 5:00 PM on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 to arrange a conflict final exam. No late requests will be accepted.

CONFLICT FINAL EXAM INSTRUCTIONS

  1. A Conflict Final Exam will only be given to individuals who find themselves in one of the following situations:

    • Students with three final exams scheduled within a 24 hour period as defined in Section 82.A.4). Final Examinations of the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students which can be found at http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/.

    • Students who have another final exam scheduled at 1:30 PM on Monday, 15 December 2014. The conflicting course's enrollment must be lower than the MCB 354 enrollment in order for you to take the MCB 354 conflict final exam. Please see the MCB 354 Staff in 252 Davenport Hall for enrollment information.

    • Students who have a verified personal problem, and who have received written permission to take the MCB 354 conflict final exam from a dean in their college as arranged by Alejandra Stenger. NOTE: If you choose to attend an exam while suffering from illness or family/personal emergency, and you choose to complete the exam, that exam determines your score.

  2. Any student with one or more of the above situations should use the MCB 354 Conflict Final Exam Request Form on the MCB 354 website and submit the form by the last day of classes, 5:00 PM Wednesday, 10 December 2014. No late requests will be accepted. Students may contact the MCB office with questions or concerns about conflict final exams.

  3. All student requests will be reviewed and students will be contacted as soon as possible via email regarding the status of their request. Following the review of all requests, a conflict exam time and location will be determined, and qualified students will be informed of their eligibility before 12:00 PM noon on Reading Day, Thursday, 11 December 2014.



THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE TO 252 DAVENPORT HALL

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GENERAL INFORMATION & POLICIES OF MCB 354

  1. The course faculty and the TAs are in charge of the orderly conduct of students in class and may exclude a student who does not comply with a reasonable request in this regard.

  2. All students are assumed to have read and understood the Code Of Policies And Regulations Applying To All Students, University of Illinois, and will be expected to act accordingly.

    The Code is available online at: http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/

  3. Concerns over exam grading, discussion teaching or grading, and exam or discussion absences should be directed to Alejandra Stenger.

  4. The deadline for grade corrections on all items is ONE week after corrected items are returned or grades are received.

  5. Excused class time compensating for evening exams is provided by cancellation of lectures/optional review sessions.

  6. Reference letters and recommendation forms are to be submitted to the student's discussion TA, whose evaluation will be reviewed and countersigned by a member of the course faculty. Course lecturers typically will only write letters for students they personally know.

  7. The faculty and staff of MCB 354 are not responsible for any student personal belongings during examinations or class periods.

  8. Audio recordings are permitted during lectures, but due to copyright and intellectual property issues involving publishing companies and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, video recordings of any kind are strictly prohibited. If any audio recording, transcription, screen capture, or related distribution of any MCB 354 course material is done via social or electronic media, MCB 354 personnel must be granted access to the group/site upon request. Failure to provide access will result in a failing grade in the course for the group/site's administrator(s).



ATTENDANCE POLICIES

  1. Attendance will be recorded at every discussion session. Each student must sign the attendance sheet, be present for the entire discussion period, and participate in class discussion in order to receive 4 points for the class session. Students arriving more than 5 minutes late to the discussion room will be ineligible to earn 4 points for that day's class session.

  2. Students must attend their scheduled discussion section unless they are assigned to a make-up discussion.

  3. Make-up discusions are assigned by Alejandra Stenger. Only students who can provide an acceptable reason with supporting documentation for an absence will be eligible to make up a missed discussion. Documentation should be dated and presented in writing to Alejandra Stenger. If you have an acceptable reason for absence, we will make every effort to accommodate you.

  4. TAs cannot reschedule students to other discussion sections, including their own.

  5. Students attending a make-up discussion session must complete all course work assigned during the make-up discussion.

  6. Students who wish to have consideration for religious observances which conflict with class or exams must present verification in writing to Alejandra Stenger within one week of the first lecture (September 1st), in compliance with the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students (Rule 34.B.4). If the religious observance is such that the exact date cannot be determined in August, contact Alejandra Stenger before the deadline and inform her about the approximate date or dates of absence(s).

  7. Any student requiring special accommodations for disabilities (physical, learning or otherwise) should request provisions for such as soon as possible from Alejandra Stenger.

  8. Students with conflicts with evening exams in MCB 354 must submit a conflict exam request form on the MCB 354 website by 5:00 PM on the Thursday immediately prior to the exam so that a conflict exam can be arranged. Written evidence of the conflict must be provided (see Examinations section) No late requests will be accepted.

  9. Class absences before and after vacations (e.g. Thanksgiving Break, before finals) are not excusable.



WHAT TO DO IF YOU MUST BE ABSENT

Absence from Class

We know that students become ill and that family emergencies arise. In order to accommodate absences due to illness or emergency, we allow that a specified number of discussions may be missed without penalty. These missed discussions can be dropped according to the criteria set forth in the Course Policies for this course (Note: there are no drops for Quizzes). If you are absent for an exam, you must notify Alejandra Stenger via email (astenger@illinois.edu) within 48 hours of your missed exam. Please note that missing exams will result in missing scores being prorated at the end of the semester only if you have contacted Alejandra Stenger within 48 hours.

Extended Absence from Class

If you experience an illness (chronic, recurring or lasting three days or more) or other circumstance that causes an extended absence from class (lasting three days or more), please contact the Office of the Dean of Students during regular business hours M-F 8:30 AM-5:00 PM. The office of the Dean of Students is located in the Turner Student Services Building, 610 E. John Street, Champaign, 333-0050. A representative of that office will provide us with the necessary information to address your circumstance. Please fill out an online MCB 354 Absence Report Form for your course which can be found on the course website.

Absence from an Exam or Quiz

If you experience an illness that causes you to miss an exam, you should go to McKinley or your private physician to seek assistance. Whether it is an illness or an emergency that prevents you from taking your exam at the appointed time, you should then contact the Office of the Dean of Students during regular business hours M-F 8:30 AM-5:00 PM. The office of the Dean of Students is located in the Turner Student Services Building, 610 E. John Street, Champaign, 333-0050. It is the student's responsibility to provide their course coordinator, Alejandra Stenger, with all of the documentation received from the Dean's office. Please fill out an online MCB 354 Absence Report Form for your course which can be found on the course website.

Absence from a Final Exam

If you should experience an illness or emergency that prevents you from taking your final exam at the appointed time, you should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 333-0050. If this occurs during normal business hours, your call will be answered by staff. If this occurs after hours, you will be given a phone number for the emergency Dean on call. There will always be someone available for you to call. Please fill out an online MCB 354 Absence Report Form for your course which can be found on the course website.

NOTE: The documenation for an absence must include relevant names, times, dates, and an explanation of the date(s) and reason(s) for absences. Without this information, you may not be excused from class.

Exam Proration

If you must miss an MCB 354 hourly exam, the possibility exists to have one exam prorated with proper documentation. You must contact Alejandra Stenger via email within 48 hours of the absence. If you do not provide documentation to Alejandra Stenger (i.e., a Dean's letter) in a timely manner and upon receipt, there may be a negative impact on your ability to receive a prorated score. NOTE: The final exam cannot be prorated. Your prorated score will be calculated based on the following formula:

{Exam A} {Exam B} {Exam C}
(%tile)(200) + (%tile)(200) + (%tile)(200) = (%tile) = ____ points for Exam_____
             (200 + 200 + 200)

Please note that the percentile that we use to calculate your score may be different from the percentile seen in the online gradebook, due to the accounting for missing scores. You must complete at least two exams and the final in this course in order to earn a letter grade in the course. If you are unable to do so, the instructor will recommend that you drop or withdraw from the course.

Prior to the last day of class, you will be given a preliminary proration of your missing score. This proration is only to give you an idea of what your missing score *would be* based on the other scores that we have for you at that time. Your actual proration will be done with the final exam grade included. Please understand that this preliminary proration score may increase OR decrease depending on your performance on the last exam. The actual proration score will be the score used to determine you final grade.



MCB 354 WEBGRADEBOOK

The MCB 354 WebGradebook can be accessed directly at:

      https://gradebook.atlas.uiuc.edu/courses/mcb354/fall14/index.html

Scores on exams and quizzes will be available for student review on the MCB 354 WebGradebook. To check your scores, sign into the MCB 354 Web site and click on the Gradebook link and follow the instructions presented there. All students are responsible for checking their scores on the WebGradebook after each exam and quiz is returned to them. Each student is responsible for reporting possible discrepancies to the TA and if immediate action is not taken, the student is responsible for bringing this to the attention of Alejandra Stenger within ONE week of receiving their graded quiz or exam score. Students are encouraged to keep all graded papers returned to them until after final grades are issued.

The final deadline for WebGradebook corrections is 5:00 PM, Wednesday, 10 December 2014.

No WebGradebook scores will be altered after this deadline so please be certain to check all your scores before this time.



DISCUSSION PROBLEM SETS

Discussion problem sets are posted on the course website and should be completed before discussion each week. The problem sets are an opportunity for students to practice the material that may be covered on exams (and exams will have short answer portions).

Students have the opportunity to earn 4 points per discussion. Completion of problem sets is required before attending discussion in order to earn full discussion participation credit. Students will discuss the questions in groups and will be responsible for answering an assigned question. The TA may assist the groups and verify correctness. Points for these problem sets will be based on coming to class prepared (2 points for attendance and completion checked by the TA), and group participation (2 points). Please note that if you are more than 5 minutes late to your discussion section you cannot receive the full points for that day of discussion. You will be allowed to drop 3 discussion problem sets. Questions or clarifications needed should be addresses to the TAs in discussion or in their office hours.



QUIZZES

Four 40 point quizzes will be administered online by the LON-CAPA system. Quizzes will be opened for a designated time slot on the day they are assigned and will be timed (time limits will be announced before each quiz). Please note that computer problems, server issues, or other technical problems are NOT sufficient means for extensions of deadlines. If students ever have any technical problems they must contact Alejandra Stenger immediately, and assistance will not be provided after 10:00 PM. Students are responsible for knowing the quiz date schedule; forgetting to do a quiz is not an acceptable excuse for accommodations.

Quiz Time Day Date
Quiz 1 12:00-10:00 PM Tuesday
Quiz 2 12:00-10:00 PM Tuesday
Quiz 3 12:00-10:00 PM Tuesday
Quiz 4 12:00-10:00 PM Tuesday


EXAMS

Evening exams, quizzes, and the final exam may be in the multiple choice, true-false format, short answer, essay, and/or problem solving format. Material for evening lecture exams will be drawn from the lectures, lecture materials, associated text readings, and reserved reading, if any.

All grades are entered into the WebGradebook. Once the exams have been administered, they become property of the students. Within one week of each exam, answers are posted. It is the student's responsibility to make certain that the grade on the Web Gradebook is correct. If a student believes that an error has been made, it should be brought to the TA's attention immediately. If an explanation cannot be found, the student and/or the TA should bring the problem to Alejandra Stenger or the MCB 354 Staff in 252 Davenport Hall.

The final exam is the property of the course and is not returned to students, nor are answers posted or made available in any way. Should a student feel that an error has been made in the grading of the final exam, that student should contact Alejandra Stenger.

Exam Time Day Date
Exam I 7:00-9:00 PM Tuesday 23 September 2014
Exam II 7:00-9:00 PM Tuesday 14 October 2014
Exam III 7:00-9:00 PM Tuesday 11 November 2014
Final Exam 8:00-11:00 AM Monday 15 December 2014


COURSE GRADING

Student grades in MCB 354 will be based on total of 1000 points. Categories listed below are approximate, but should closely resemble the final distribution.

  3 Lecture Exams   600  
  Final Exam   200  
  Quizzes   160  
  Discussion Participation   40  

  Total   1000  points  

A more specific point breakdown for MCB 354 follows:

40 points   Discussion Problem Sets (13 @ 4 points each, drop 3)
160 points   Quizzes (4 @ 40 points each)
600 points   Exams (3 @ 200 points each)
200 points   Final Exam

1000 points   Total

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 grade point values shown for each letter grade have been assigned by the University. 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 (to accommodate poor class performance on an examination), but will not increase the points needed for each grade.



MCB 354 Standard Grade Scale

Letter Grade

Point Ranges

Grade Point Value

A+

1000–890

4.000

A

889–850

4.000

A-

849–810

3.667

B+

809–770

3.333

B

769–730

3.000

B-

729–690

2.667

C+

689–650

2.333

C

649–610

2.000

C-

609–570

1.667

D+

569–530

1.333

D

529–490

1.000

D-

489–450

0.667

F

449–0

0.000



STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

  1. Science cannot exist without honesty. The faculty and staff of MCB 354 require students, as scientists-in-the-making, to hold the highest standards of scientific and academic conduct. Any form of cheating on any graded work in this course is unacceptable, and will be dealt with as outlined below, and in accordance with the University-wide standards in the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students.

  2. We require that all graded work be entirely your own, and that anything you write using the words of other writers be correctly attributed. Some specific points follow:

    • On exams, the answers that your turn in for grading must be your own, formulated during the exam from your own understanding of the material and without any supporting information, be it written, verbal or electronic. Copying the work of another student, or allowing another to copy your work, or copying work from any other source, is unacceptable. Since we cannot always monitor you as you complete your work, we must rely upon appearance of your work from which to judge. If the work you submit resembles that of another student or another source too closely, we may conclude that it was not your original work. Always make a conscious effort to complete your work on your own and to protect it from the view of others, in order to ensure that it will be seen as your own. Failure to adhere to these standards, for any portion of an exam, may result in a grade of zero for the entire exam, for all persons involved. Texting, or the use of a cell phone for any purpose during an exam, is prohibited. Doing so may earn you a zero on the exam, or a more extreme penalty at the discretion of the instructor. Use of any social or electronic media to share information, request information or make confidential information public is prohibited. Any use of this type may earn you a zero on the exam or a more extreme penalty at the discretion of the instructor.

    • Questions about grading may be discussed with TAs and exam regrade requests may be submitted. ANY alteration of answers on graded work (rewriting answers, adding content, erasing answers, etc.) will NOT be accepted. Please note all exams are copied after grading and are kept on file for review. Failure to adhere to these standards, for any portion of an exam, may result in a grade of zero for the entire exam or a more extreme penalty at the discretion of the instructor.