Author: Dr. Thomas Caceci
Most of the emphasis of the course is on visual recognition of specimens on the microscope. There are no written in-class exams in this course, though some of the "book" information may be the subject of quiz questions (see below under "On-Line Quizzes").
Two practical exams are scheduled: a midterm exam and a final exam. Each will have 50 stations, i.e. a microscope holding a slide with some cell, tissue, or organ to be identified. You'll have two hours to do these 50 ID's. At the conclusion of each exam, I'll leave the microscopes set up for about half an hour, and put the correct answers next to them. This permits you to come back and see how well you did—and is incidentally one of the best ways to reinforce your knowledge of the material. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity at the midterm and final exam times.
Dates for the midterm and the final are decided by the Associate Dean's Office and for all intents and purposes are set in concrete: I have no authority to change them. The midterm exam and the final are of equal weight in calculating the final grade for the course (see below). The midterm exam will only cover exercises from the first part of the course; the final will cover the second part, i.e., the final is not comprehensive. See the syllabus for details of which exercises are to be covered on each exam.
In addition to the scheduled exams, I will administer six on-line quizzes. You will be provided with a site address on the WWW to log into to take the quizzes. Each quiz will have up to twenty questions: answers are to be recorded on paper and handed in anonymously in accordance with course policies on grading. Details of the process will be given in class. All quizzes are weighted equally.
Quiz questions will always include an identification, and some may include a follow-up question related to the identification, which is related to the "book" part of the course.
Please note carefully the following:
THE QUIZZES ARE CUMULATIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE
You may be asked questions on a quiz from any part of the course up to and including the topic of the previous lecture/lab session.
QUIZZES ARE "OPEN-BOOK" FORMAT.
You are free to consult any information source you like (except "Koofers," the policy on which is stated below) in determining your answers. You must work independently, however.
Dates on which the quizzes will be given are up to the class, as a collective decision.
You know your schedule better than I do. My only requirement is that three quizzes have to occur before the midterm, and three after it. The lowest quiz score will be discarded and only the average of the highest five used for calculating the final grade.
The principal goal of this course is to provide the background you will need for the histopathology section of the General Pathology course in the second semester. As a segué into that course, the last two weeks of the class you will be required to identify "unknown" specimens. These will be actual microscope slides, containing real specimens from hospital cases. I do not expect you to understand the pathology you see, of course. But I will expect that you will be able to tell me what tissue or organ is on them. You'll have several days for these, and as with the quizzes, you may consult any source of information in determining your answer. You'll know how you did on the unknowns before you go into the final exam.
Scoring and Weighting, and Final Grade Calculations
The midterm and final practical exams are each worth 30% of the final grade. The average of the five highest quizzes is worth 30%. The last 10% of the grade will be determined by your success at identifying the unknowns. Final "letter" grades for the course are based on the grading system outlined in the Student Handbook, and I refer you that section of the Handbook for the cut off points for each grade level. Grades will NOT be "curved."
Here's an example of course grade calculation:
Midterm score: 80% x 30 = 24
Final score: 93% x 30 = 27.9
Average of highest 5 quizzes 92% x 30 = 28.8
8 out of 10 unknowns = 8
FINAL COURSE GRADE: The total score of 88.7 is a B+
Policy On Make-Up Exams
You are expected to take all exams and quizzes on the day(s) scheduled and announced. Make-up exams will be permitted in accordance with established College policies, and have to be arranged beforehand except in extraordinary circumstances. Usually I'll demand to see a signed, notarized Death Certificate, stating that you personally will be dead on the date in question; but a letter from the Governor indicating that you are going to be incarcerated for a major felony on that date is acceptable.
Note carefully that attending a wedding, even if it's yours, is not a legitimate excuse for missing an exam, nor is a bridal/baby shower, engagement party, etc. or other social function. See the Student Handbook for details on what is an what is not an acceptable reason for requesting a make-up exam.
Since only 5 of the quiz grades are used in calculating the grade, you may, if you wish, skip a quiz and the resulting "0" score will be dropped. If you expect to miss a major exam, you must have a legitimate reason and you MUST comply with College policies and request permission to do so in advance.
In other words:
Unauthorized absences from exams will not be tolerated.
If you have a legitimate disabilty, recognized as such in accordance with the established policies of the College and University, I will make appropriate accommodations for you during exams, in class, etc., as required by the American With Disabilities Act. In order to arrange this accommodation, it is your responsibility to let me know not later than one week before the midterm or the final exam that you require it. The College's policies for handling such requests is spelled out in detail in the Student Handbook you received at orientation.
I require that you provide me with the documentation from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) discussed in this section.
The Associate Dean for Instruction should also be notified of the situation, again, this is your responsibility. The provisions of the Health Information Privacy Protection Act prohibit me from telling the AD that I've had a request for accommodation; and The AD is prohibited from revealing to me anything about your disability status without your permission.
Because quizzes are taken at times and places, and under conditions of the student's choosing, I cannot and will not make changes in either the scheduling or nature of the quizzes.
Availability/Posting of Keys and Grades
Keys and scores for the midterm, quizzes, and final will be sent out to the class via e-mail as soon as possible after an exam is administered. It usually takes me a couple of days to grade and calculate the numbers on an exam, but I will do my best to have grades up within three days of a quiz, and one week of a major exam. All grades will be posted using the "Anonymous Grading" number.
The use of old exams, colloquially known as "koofers," is not permitted under any circumstances. I regard the use of koofers as a serious violation of the Honor Code and will deal with violators of this rule by requesting disciplinary action from the Honor Board. Anyone who has knowledge of the existence of a "koofer" who fails to bring it to my attention will also be treated as having violated this policy.
The unauthorized duplication, copying or reproduction of quiz questions and images, source code, and/or their retrieval from the server will be regarded as a violation of this policy.
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