Biological Sciences 300, Smith College | Neurophysiology

Administrative Information           Updated: January 23, 2020

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Neuroscience, Sixth Edition, 2018, edited by Dale Purves et al. (Oxford University Press).

The Smith College Bookstore offers new and used copies; rental copies are also available online. A copy of the textbook is 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 by the Registrar during the self-scheduled exam period in May. 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, graded P/F.


meets Tu and Th from 10:50 to 12:05 in McConnell 102.

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: Thursdays 1:30-3:30, or by appointment.