(1) PARTICIPATION = 15% of the grade

Class participation will be judged based on your active engagement in the once-a-week discussion, which will be based on a total of approximately 10-20 assigned readings for the semester. References to research papers will be posted on the class website each week on a related topic, some papers from the biological sciences and some from the computer programming/engineering perspective. Each student will be required to read at least one paper each week, and to alternate papers from the two areas, i.e. one week choose a paper from your own field and next week choose a paper from the field with which you are much less familiar. Sometimes the papers will be pretty uniform, so don't stress about your choices too much. For each scientific paper, I will create two or three "guiding questions" that will help you focus on the general concepts expressed in the paper.

(2) WEEKLY DRAFTS = 60% of the grade

These reports will result primarily from the once-a-week lab work so that you have an appropriate venue in which to describe the programming and electronics work that you do. In effect, these are "works in progress" that ultimately will become one cohesive scientific paper. One class at the beginning of the semester will be devoted to describing a properly written scientific paper and helping you create an outline with "placeholders" which, little by little, will be filled in as the lab work progresses throughout the semester. Reports will be graded either "S for "Satisfactory" or "U" for "Unsatisfactory". This dichotomous grading will allow you to generate the scientific paper in accordance with the progress that you make in the lab without stressing out about points. Some weeks you might not be able to fill in many placeholders, but other weeks you might be able to write a considerable amount. I wil give you extensive feedback on each report that should help you understand what you have mastered and what you need to improve upon. You will be expected to incorporate key pieces of information from the readings, lecture, discussions, and lab into each draft, ideally on a weekly basis.

Please email me your weekly drafts, under the filename: YourName_Week_Number.doc. Type in black. I will input my comments in blue. Delete my suggestions if you have implemented them, or leave them if not. That way I don't have to type twice.


The due date will be the last day of class, before Finals Week. This final version will be 10-35 pages long, and will have been edited to fit the norms of a properly written scientific paper, norms that were taught in class and reinforced through feedback on the drafts.

The headings in the paper will be as follows: