Biological Sciences 300, Smith College | Neurophysiology

Administrative Information           Updated: January 18, 2018

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The textbook for our course is Neuroscience, Sixth Edition, 2018, edited by Dale Purves, George J. Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, William C. Hall, Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, Richard D. Mooney, Michael L. Platt, and Leonard E. White. (Oxford University Press). This is also the textbook for the new NSC 210 course, Fundamentals of Neuroscience.

The Smith College Bookstore offers the looseleaf edition (about $100). The advantage of the looseleaf edition is that it costs less, and you can remove current chapters to use without needing to carry around the entire heavy textbook. The disadvantage is that if you intend to resell your textbook, used looseleaf copies are worth less than used casebound copies. If you would prefer to have the casebound edition, you can order it directly from the publisher at a 20% discount. An eBook version is also available. The following information explains how to order these other editions:

The casebound is: ISBN 9781605353807, list price $135.95. Students may use a discount code before January 31, 2018 to receive a 20% discount on the casebound copy of the text. Please visit Oxford University Press and enter discount code 33927. (OUP does not offer free shipping.)

An eBook version for 180-day subscription can be purchased directly from Redshelf eBook Platform. eISBN-13: 9781605357225, list price $67.95.

A copy of the textbook will be on reserve in the Young Library (QP355.2.N487 2018).


Three major components will contribute to your final grade:

An examination in class early in the semester, covering membrane potentials. The purpose of the exam is to make sure everyone is up to speed on the important initial topics in the course. A copy of a recent exam is available on our Moodle site.

A comprehensive final examination administered in class on the last day of classes. An example of a recent final exam is available on our Moodle site.

Your team's chapters for our class's Collaborative Writing Project. Your team's work will be evaluated with qualitative comments for each of your chapters. These evaluations will contribute to the final course grade for each member of the team.

Two minor components will contribute slightly to your grade:

Weekly quizzes, at the start of class on most Tuesdays. These five-minute quizzes will ask you to explain one figure or topic from the textbook taken from the previous week's readings. A space at the edge of the quiz will allow you to make corrections when we go over the quiz before handing it in. Quizzes are intended to be diagnostic, and will not affect your final grade unless you do poorly week after week.

There may be a few special assignments associated with the readings. These will be graded P/F.


meet Tu and Th at 10:30 in Sabin-Reed 220.

Richard F. Olivo,
Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience
   From 1996-2009, Professor Olivo was also an Associate Director of the Derek Bok Center
for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, where his special interest was educational
technology. He organizes annual teaching workshops for the Society for Neuroscience
and was Project Director for the Society's Educational Resources project (ERIN). He
received the Society's Award for Education in 2014.

Office: 454 Sabin-Reed
Mailing address: Clark Science Center, Smith College
                            44 College Lane, Northampton MA 01063
Phone: 413 585-3822.
Office hours: Tuesdays 4:30-5:30, Thursdays 1:30-2:30, or by appointment.

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