Syllabus for BIO-101

INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Introductory Biology is intended as a general biology course for non-majors. With an emphasis on molecular biology, the course covers chemical foundations, cell structure and function, metabolism, DNA, genetics, evolution, and ecology. The fourteen video programs used in the course reveal current trends in molecular biology, illustrate scientists at work, and convey the challenges and opportunities in this growing field.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Completing this course should provide you with the following:

  1. A foundation in many areas of biology.

  1. The knowledge you need to understand developments in molecular biology, allowing you to think critically about related ethical issues.

  1. Insight into where humankind fits into the global ecosystem.

  1. Curiosity about questions such as:
  1. What is the foundation of life?
  2. How do we develop?
  3. What is cancer and how do we get it?
  4. How far can genetic therapy go?
  5. How does the future of our species affect the interrelationship of all species?

  1. An appreciation of the DNA molecule and what it can tell us about the relationship to the rest of the living world.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Student Guide

  1. Telecourse Student Guide for "Cycles of Life: Exploring Biology," 6th ed., by Gerald L. Kellogg.  Coast Learning Systems, Coast Community College District; Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2010.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8400-4822-6

Textbook

  1. Biology: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed., by Cecie Starr, Christine A. Evers, and Lisa Starr. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2011

    ISBN-13: 978-1-4390-4673-9

Video Programs

  1. Cycles of Life: Exploring Biology, Coast Telecourses (26 half-hour video programs).

    Note: The video programs are being offered via streaming video technology through this course site.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Introductory Biology is a three-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Introduction

  1. Module 2: Principles of Cellular Life, Part 1

  1. Module 3: Principles of Cellular Life, Part 2

  1. Module 4: Principles of Inheritance, Part 1

  1. Module 5: Principles of Inheritance, Part 2

  1. Module 6: Principles of Evolution

  1. Module 7: Ecology and Behavior

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in four (4) online discussion forums, complete seven (7) written assignments, and take two proctored examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Introductory Biology requires you to participate in four (4) graded online discussion activities, in addition to an ungraded, but required, Introductions Forum in Module 1.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted activity and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete seven (7) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Examinations

Introductory Biology has two proctored examinations: a midterm and a final. See the Course Calendar for the dates of your midterm and final exam weeks.

For both of these online examinations you are required to use the College’s Online Proctor Service  (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.


Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored exam. It is two hours long and covers material through Module 4 of the course (telecourse lessons 1–7 and the associated video programs and textbook reading). The exam consists of multiple-choice questions based on the Self-Quiz sections at the end of each chapter in the textbook and short essay questions from the assignments.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored exam. It is two hours long and covers material from Module 5 through the end of the course (telecourse lessons 8–11 and 24–26 and the associated video programs and textbook reading). The exam consists of multiple-choice questions based on the Self-Quiz sections at the end of each chapter in the textbook and short essay questions from the assignments.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
  5. Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (4)—8 percent
  2. Written assignments (7)—42 percent
  3. Midterm exam—25 percent
  4. Final exam—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check the Announcements page and class Discussion Board regularly for new course information.


  1. Follow the sequence of learning activities outlined in the telecourse student guide when studying each lesson.

    Before viewing the video program:
  1. Read the Overview and Learning Objectives for the lesson. Together with the Viewing Notes, these sections provide a general focus for the whole lesson.
  2. Read the assigned chapters in the Starr, Evers, and Starr textbook as specified in each study assignment.
  3. Read the Viewing Notes from the lesson.
  4. View the video program.

After viewing the video program:

  1. Check your learning by (1) reviewing the Summary at the end of each chapter in the textbook, (2) completing the Review Activities and Self-Test in the telecourse student guide, and (3) taking the Self-Quiz at the end of each textbook chapter (answers are in Appendix III).
  2. Answer the assigned questions at the end of Viewing Notes.
  3. Using the Starr, Evers, and Starr textbook, add any needed information to your answers.
  4. Submit your written answers to your mentor.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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