BIS 101 General Information


The grade structure is built on the following scores:

ItemMax score
Midterm I90
Midterm I90
Midterm II90
Midterm III90
Quizzes OR Midterm Q50

Quizzes will be administered during each lecture via the iClicker system. See iClicker-class polling below for details. You can also take Midterm Q, a make-up midterm specific for the Quizzes. If you take both the Quizzes and Midterm Q, you get the highest of the two scores. In other words, you could theoretically skip all the lectures, take Midterm Q, and still do very well in this course.

Final grade will conform to overall BIS101 course grade distribution, i.e. it will be consistent with other BIS101 lecture sections in this quarter and other quarters. If the scores are distributed in the usual near normal mode, as expected, the grade will be curved.

Lecture Quizzes

We will use the i>Clicker (see iClicker below) for class polling and interactive quizzes. Bring your i>Clicker to each lecture because some grade points are assigned to Clicker-based Quizzes. For each lecture, you get 1 point just for clicking regardless of whether you are right or wrong. About 2 points are for getting questions right. The scoring structure is such that you can miss up to three lectures and still get full score. More than half of the Quizzes will be relatively easy and you will be able to get full score on this item relatively easily. Of course, you can go fishing and take Midterm Q the last week of the course.


Attendance is highly recommended, but not compulsory. Exams will only be rescheduled for valid excuses. The valid excuses are: 1. Conflict with an official UCD-scheduled event. 2. Documented death in the family 3. Doctor-documented sickness. 4. Meteorite impact, T-Rex loose on UCD campus, or equivalent. Rescheduled exams will follow a format decided by the instructor, which in most cases will be oral questions and answers.


i>Clicker, i>Clicker+, i>Clicker2 will all work. Available in the bookstore or through online retailers (~$44-33 new on Amazon, to ~$35-20 used). We will also try to enable the iClickerGO app (free for 2 weeks, $10/qrt), which can be installed on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and tablet. Make sure that what you get is compatible with your version of the operating system: use the free trial first to make sure it works. In preparation for class use you must register you i>Clicker by going to this web site. You will need your i>Clicker number (back side, right above battery access opening) and your UCD student number (looks like: 997660000). If you use i>ClickerGO registration is from the app in your devise. Registration is necessary for proper credit of your class use of the i>Clicker. How does it work? The instructor will download your i>Clicker data from the i>Clicker web registry. Did your registration succeed? We will post the list of registered clickers for you to check at the end of the first week.

Lecture material availability

The class presentation is based on whiteboards with some content. They will be further annotated during lecture. I will try to post the whiteboard PDFs before lecture. Many slides will be empty or semi-empty. Smartsite links will be provided in the Syllabus as soon as possible after each lecture for the following material. Occasionally, technical problems may be prevent a podcast or screencast from being recorded. We apologize in advance for those instances.

  • PDF of white board
  • Podcast
  • Screencast

Both Podcast and Screencast are susceptible to failure either due to a software hiccup or human error. We apologize for any missing data.

Preparation for exams

The questions are multiple choice, of moderate difficulty, and students tend to average around 70% correct answers. The assigned quizzes and example exams to be provided before each exam date should give you a fair idea of what to expect. You will be responsible primarily for material covered in the lecture and in the assigned questions. Book readings (pages assigned) are only for helping your understanding of the matter covered in lecture and tested in the study questions.

Exam taking details

No phones, tablets or devises with any connectivity are allowed. You can use a calculator, but non the calculator app on your phone.

Classroom behavior

Skipping class is OK. If you attend, as we recommend, please follow a few common sense rules as a courtesy to others. Refrain from chatting after the class starts, reading the paper, displaying affection in manner that involves more than holding hands. Unless you absolutely have to go, attend until scheduled end time.


Any form of cheating will result in a grade of 0 and referral to the ethics and disciplinary board. Important: if you click for somebody else, you are cheating: both you and the clicker owner will receive a Quizzes/Midterm Q total score of 0 for the course.

Students with disabilities

If you have established eligibility for special accomodation procedures we will be pleased to implement them.

Study TIPS
  • Do the assigned quizzes.
  • Enroll in the Discussion if you can (CRN 65241-7)

BIS101 has a sister offering: the 101 Discussion. The discussion is not required but it will be of great help in mastering genetics and I recommend enrolling in it if you can. Top ten reasons to enroll in 101 Discussion (look carefully at 7-10!)

  1. Keeps you off the street
  2. You get ONE credit
  3. The TAs are hot
  4. Seven sections provide good choice of times
  5. Looks good on your transcripts
  6. Meet fellow students interested in genetics and expand your network
  7. In balance, it takes no extra time as you learn faster and need less study
  8. Genetics is a difficult topic: get extra guidance
  9. It will take you step-wise through difficult problems
  10. Genetics will be key to any career in the biomedical field: learn it well

In summary, taking the Discussion is highly recommended. If you do it, make sure to take those connected to the Comai lecture: CRN 65241-7.


General Class Questions including Enrollment
  • Q. I have missed a lecture, or my clicker did not work properly. Will I lose important points? A: You can miss four lectures and still get full points.
  • Q. What exactly is Midterm Q? A: Midterm Q is a multiple choice test worth 50 points and it is an alternative to the Lecture Quizzes. You can take Midterm Q whether or not you have taken the Quizzes. Midterm Q will cover the same topics covered in the Lecture Quizzes, but will be a little more challenging. Midterm Q will be offered at one specific time only (see Syllabus).
  • Q. If I am on the waitlist will I get into the class? A: The course is fully subscribed. Keep trying if you want in case space becomes available. You do not need to come to the lecture but can follow online. This will avoid overcrowding Wellman Hall 2. I can register you as an auditor: Email me at You will be able to use the smartsite including the lecture videocasts.
  • Q. What is my TAs email address? A: See BIS101 Teaching staff and office hours.
  • Q: What are the prerequisites for this course?
  • A: BIS2A, 2B and (2C may be taken concurrently); Chemistry 8B or 118B or 128B, may be taken concurrently; Statistics 13 or 100 or 102 or 130A or equivalent (100 preferred; Statistics may be taken concurrently
  • Q: I cannot attend exam I. Can I take it at a different time? A: See Attendance and valid excuses.
  • Q: My girlfriend grand-daddy is throwing a party in Kathmandu for his 100th birthday. I have to be there. Can I reschedule a conflicting exam? A: No. The valid excuses are: 1. Conflict with an official UCD-scheduled event. 2. Death in the family 3. Doctor-documented sickness. 4. Meteorite impact or T-Rex loose on UCD campus.
  • Q: Do I have to know all the information in the textbook readings? A: Not all. You are responsible for the material and concepts covered in the Lecture and in the Study questions.
  • Q: Is my clicker getting recorded? A: Starting with the first lecture we collect clicker responses, match them to registered students and post them on the smartsite. We will also post those from unregistered clickers. From this information students can verify that their clicker is been recorded.
Text Book

The text book is “Genetic analysis: an integrated approach” by Mark F. Sanders and John L. Bowman. There are two editions available: 1st and 2nd. Either will work fine. The text book will serve two functions. I. It will provide a reference to supplement and clarify your notes from class. II. It will provide quizzes and answers for study. If you buy a new text, you may get web access with it. That is useful but not needed. If you want to conserve $, buy the used first edition. It will work just fine. Because genetic problems are an indispensable part of learning genetics, you really cannot do well without the text book

1. See page 2 for BIS 101 Teaching staff and Office Hours
3. See page 4 for Sample Exam
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