BI101 Biological Concepts

for F2T 2009

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


BI101 Biological Concepts


F2T 2009 DL


Dr. Nancy Bowers


Adjunct Online Instructor


PhD Ecology The Pennsylvania State University
MS Zoology Virginia Polytechnic and State University
BS Zoology University of Massachusetts

Office Location

Richland, WA

Office Hours

By arrangement

Daytime Phone

(509) 554-7781

Other Phone

iChat/AIM ID: tchnoqn


Web Page

Semester Dates

19 October - 13 December 2009

Class Days


Class Time




Credit Hours



Essentials of the Living World, 2nd Edition, 2008
Jonathan Losos
ISBN-13 9780073309354; MHID 0073309354

  • Access to a spreadsheet program like Excel for data analysis and graph construction.
  • Assignments MUST be submitted using a word processing program such as Word or WordPerfect.
  • Plan on spending at least TEN hours per week (perhaps more for some students) for this course.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:


McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
(Online only) Biological Concepts offers an overview of the fundamental facts and principles of modern biology. The course is designed for the non-science student who wishes to gain an understanding of current biological concepts and their relevance to problems of human society. Emphasis will be on life, its origin, chemistry, energy transformations, reproduction, genetics, evolution, and ecology. At home laboratory activities are included. NOTE: This course is more rigorous than your typical 100-level course. 3:3:4
It is very important that you realize that this course is worth 4 credits has a Laboratory component and as such will take TWICE the amount of time as for a regular 3 credit 8-week online course!

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the scientific method and be able to evaluate experiments using procedures and terminology of the scientific method.
  2. Explain the basic chemistry of biological systems and how chemistry is used in the maintenance of living organisms.
  3. Compare and contrast the processes of mitosis and meiosis with reference to the movement of chromosomes and their significance in the transmission of genetic information.
  4. Discuss the theory of evolution and the many different mechanisms which are involved in evolutionary processes. Describe the various biomes and their placement and characteristics.
  5. Describe the structure of DNA and illustrate its significance in determining the composition, characteristics, reproduction, and behavior of an organism
  6. Describe the structure and function of a cell and its various parts; compare the structures of bacterial, plant and animal cells

Core Assessment:

Comprehensive Final Exam

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Grading Rubrics/criteria for each listed item are included within assignments. Students are responsible for the following assessments:

  • A minimum of 4-6 Discussion responses each week (2 topics)
  • Weekly Reading assignments and class activities
  • Weekly Homework assignments
  • Weekly vocabulary and concept questions (Quizzes)
  • Weekly Experiment activities and reports as assigned
  • A comprehensive proctored Final Examination during Week 8
Proctored Final Examination:
A proctored comprehensive final examination must be taken in a proctored testing environment during Week 8 at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location. Because this exam is comprehensive, I urge you to schedule the final for the latter part of Week 8 so that the material for that week may be covered. The Final Exam is closed book/closed note and will take two hours to complete.

It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor no later than Week 6 of the term. Non-Park proctors must be APPROVED by your instructor. Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Proctor Website. A Proctor Request Form will be made available to you during the second week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval. Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade. Proctored examinations require photo identification at the time of the test.


Assessments in this class are worth the following points:

  250 pts  Final Exam
  160 pts  Discussions
  160 pts  Mastery Quizzes
  236 pts  Experiment Activities 
  194 pts  Homework
1000 pts  TOTAL

Grades will be awarded in this course based upon the following scale:

A = 90% and above
B = 80-89%  
C = 70-79% 
D = 60-69%
F = Below 60%

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late work will not be accepted unless under extreme circumstances (at the instructors discretion). If you know you are going to miss a deadline, please contact me PRIOR to the deadline so that we can try to make alternative arrangements. Late assignments that are graded will be assessed a penalty.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
FORMAT: A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday. The class begins the first day of the term (19 October) and ends midnight the last Sunday of the term (13 December). Material for each week will be released on the Friday prior to the start of the week. You can access each week's materials by clicking on the various links (e.g., Lecture, Discussion, Homework, Experiment, Quiz). Unless otherwise indicated, assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed by Sunday at midnight Mountain Time. It is important to understand that this is not a course where assignments can be posted at any time during the 8-week term and there is a deadline each week for that week's assignments.

TIME COMMITTMENT: Students are expected to devote a minimum of EIGHT hours per class week logged on to the classroom in online activities. Other activities such as completing assignments, sending/receiving email and conducting research over the web will require additional hours! This is not your typical introductory class and will require significant work on your part. Here is a quote from a previous student:

"Since this is a 4 credit hour course, students need to be aware that this class takes up a lot of time, and is a very difficult class if you are working full time and, are taking other courses."

PLAGIARISM, PARAPHRASING and CITING REFERENCES: When preparing your Discussion postings, Experiment write-ups, Homework and Quiz answers, you must provide citations for any and ALL of your sources; including your text book! Copying and pasting of information you find on the Internet (or any other source) without the use of quotation marks and proper citations is plagiarism and will not be tolerated. Please be sure to download the Reference Formats file in the Doc Sharing area that addresses how you should cite your references; your grade on your Discussion postings, Homework and Experiment reports will reflect your ability to do this correctly. Proper use of information you find in books, newspapers, journals or on the Internet include:

  • Paraphrasing or summarizing information you find and proper citation of the reference. This means that you MUST USE YOUR OWN WORDS in your responses!!!!
  • Limited direct quotation of phrases using quotation marks. I will NOT accept large amounts of quoted material; you must use your own words whenever possible!
  • Proper citation of the reference (see the Reference Format file in the Doc sharing area)

The above policy is true for your Discussion postings, Homework assignments, Quiz answers and Experiment Reports. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism and how to prevent it, take some time to review this Plagiarism Tutorial. Additional resources are available in the course Webliography. Penalties for plagiarism in this course are:

  1. First offence: You will receive a written Plagiarism Warning from your instructor and a zero for that particular portion of the assignment.
  2. Second offence: You will receive another written Plagiarism Warning and a zero for the entire assignment.
  3. Third offence: I will submit a written Plagiarism Warning and an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report to an Online Academic Director.

DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES: A good deal of your learning in this class will take place in our weekly Discussions. All students will participate in discussions through multiple responses. Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course. By using a word processing tool you have ready access to some type of spell check capability, please use it. Disruptive behavior (as deemed by the instructor) will not be allowed. There are two Discussion topics in each week, so be sure to participate in them all. An initial post in each one should be made by THURSDAY with at least one follow-up response to another student (in BOTH topics) by Sunday. The interaction that you have in this class is by exchanging these posts and is a very important learning tool. Be sure to read the Discussion Grade Rubric (accessible when you click on the Discussion link under each of the weeks) so that you understand what is expected of your posts.

  • Initial responses must address the questions fully and contain references to any sources used (see Reference Formats in the Doc Sharing area)
  • Follow-up responses must be substantive and provide additional information or insight.
  • You must answer any questions posed to by the instructor; this response does not count towards your required follow-up responses.
  • ALL sources used (including your textbook) MUST be properly cited.
Our Discussions are a little different than what you may be familiar with. You are often requested to research some questions and the answers are not really "debatable". So follow-up responses should either elaborate on what someone has said (e.g., find additional information) or bring in new but related information. Tips for success in the Discussions:
  1. Complete your textbook readings and lecture before posting any responses.
  2. Conduct additional research if necessary and cite all of your sources (including your textbook).
  3. Read ALL postings by both your instructor and your fellow students BEFORE you post your response.
  4. Answer any questions posed to you by your instructor (these do not count as follow-up responses).
  5. Use the "What's New" feature at the bottom of the course homepage to determine when new postings have been made.
EXPERIMENT ACTIVITIES: This course contains weekly experimental activities (labs). Students are required to purchase the necessary materials (see the Experiments link under Course Home and ensure that you are able acquire all of the listed materials). Labs will have very specific directions for completion and reporting. Answer Sheets are provided for each Experiment in the Doc Sharing area and MUST be used. The reports of these activities will be due on Sunday of the week in which the activity is conducted. Directions and requirements for both the activity and the report will be given each week. I suggest you review the Experiments link found under Course Home as soon as possible so that you can prepare for these experiments! You should never leave these experiments until the end of the week; many require several days to complete.
SUBMISSION OF ASSIGNMENTS: All Homework and Experiment assignments must be submitted via the appropriate Dropbox. Use the dropdown menu to select the dropbox (e.g., Week 1 Homework, Week 1 Experiment). Assignments MUST be uploaded as a SINGLE file attachment (no multiple files will be accepted) to the drop box as either a Word, WordPerfect or Rich Text Format document. No other file formats will be accepted for credit and absolutely no PDF files accepted. You may be required to submit graphs and data from Excel; these should be copied and pasted into your Word file! Please do not type your answers directly into the Dropbox comment area.

Time permitting, I may "pre-grade" your work if submitted by Friday of each week. So if you are able to submit your Homework or Experiment by Friday, check back and see if I have left you any comments in the dropbox. Do NOT count on this happening though! Late work (e.g., submitted after the Sunday deadline) will not be accepted unless under extreme circumstances. You must contact the instructor PRIOR to the deadline in order to make arrangements for late submission (if approved). I do not accept assignments emailed to me.

MASTERY QUIZZES:  Each week you will need to complete a Mastery quiz that covers your readings. You can take this quiz as many times as necessary, but in order to receive credit (20 pts) for the quiz, you must attain an 80% or better. The quizzes are graded automatically, BUT please note there are a number of fill-in the blank and short answer questions that I will need to hand grade; often your answer may be correct but the computer does not recognize it (e.g., misspelling, slightly different phrasing).  I strongly recommend that you submit your first attempt no later than SATURDAYs so that I can grade your Quiz. Your final attempt is due no later than Sunday at midnight. This is the procedure I recommend for completing the Mastery quizzes:

  1. After you have completed the readings and read the lectures, complete the quiz. Disregard the grade that comes back since the final grade may actually be higher.
  2. Wait 12-24 hrs to allow me to hand grade your quiz and then check the GRADEBOOK. If you have not met the 80% cut-off, I will enter a zero. I will enter 20 pts if you have reached 80%.
  3. Note that I will often leave you feedback for some of the short answer questions; this feedback is designed to assist you in meeting the required 80%, so take advantage of it! To access the feedback, click on the grade (or asterisk) in the Gradebook for a given quiz.
  4. Retake the quiz if necessary. You only have until Sunday of each week to reach the required 80%. 
  5. NO CREDIT is given if you do not make the 80% cut-off. You have all week to attain this grade so you should be able meet this cut-off by Sundays.

COURSE HANDOUTS - DOC SHARING: There are a number of files that you will be required to use throughout the term; many are part of your Experiment assignments. Please be sure to go to the Doc Sharing area of the course and download these files now (click on the tab at the top of the screen). That way they will be available to you as you need them. NOTE: You MUST use the appropriate Experiment Answer Sheets to submit your reports!

GRADES AND FEEDBACK: You are responsible for checking the Gradebook weekly to be sure that I have entered all of your grades. I will try to have your assignments graded no later than the following Monday or Tuesday (at the latest) of each week. Associated with each grade will be Feedback on your performance (e.g., discussions, homework, quizzes, project work). It is critical that you READ this information, since it is designed to help you improve or to recognize what constitutes acceptable work. To read individual feedback on each assignment, click on the grade for that assignment. This should bring up my comments for you to read. I may attach files as well which you should download and read.

NOTE: I strongly suggest that you check the Gradebook each Monday in case there are any problems with your submissions!

EXTRA CREDIT: There is NO extra credit available in this course! If you want to attain an A in this class, then you will need to complete all the assignments at the A level.

ATTENDANCE: Attendance in this online course is determined by your keeping up to date with classroom assignments and responses. Your attendance is also tracked by the amount of time spent online. You are required to participate in the weekly discussion topics. Failure to "show up" for the weekly work will count as an absence for that week. Computers do crash, but this is not a legitimate excuse to miss class. It is your responsibility to notify me by phone and/or find another means to submit your work. See Park's attendance policy below as well.

CHECK YOUR PARK GOOGLE APPPs MAIL:  I will be communicating with you regularly via your Park Email account. It is required that you use Park Email for your online class, so check your Park Email daily! Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. All emails sent to the instructor must include "BI101: Purpose of message" in the subject line of the email. Emails without this information will not be recognized.

PARK UNIVERSITY'S ONLINE COURSE POLICIES: In addition to the specific course policies above, students are responsible for reading and adhering to Park's Online Course Policies. If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1
 19 - 25 October 2009
Topic: Introduction and Ecology
Readings: Chps 1, 2, 21, pp 388-392 and 406-410

Week 2 26 October - 1 November 2009
Topic: Principles of Evolution
Readings: Chps 15 and 16

Week 3 2 - 8 November 2009
Topic: Chemistry of Life
Readings: Chps 3 and 4 

Week 4 9 - 15 November 2009
Topic: Cell Structure and Function
Reading: Chp 5

Week 5
 16 -22 November 2009
Topic: Cellular Energetics
Readings: Chps 6, 7 and 8

Week 6 23 - 29 November 2009
Topic: Cell division: mitosis and meiosis
Readings: Chps 9 and 10

Week 7
 30 November - 6 December 2009
Topic: DNA Structure and Function
Readings: Chps 12 and 13

Week 8 7 - 13 December 2009
Topic: Genetics
Readings: Chps 11 and 14
PROCTORED Comprehensive Final Exam

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plagiarism Warnings will be issued for the following reasons (true for ALL assignments, including your Quizzes):

1. If you use direct quotes (e.g., copy directly) from your source without the use of quotation marks. NOTE: Simply providing a citation for your source is NOT sufficient; you MUST also use quotation marks.
2. If you poorly paraphrase material from your source.
3. If you do not properly cite all of your sources (including your textbook).

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Exceptional analysis of knowledge gained through critical thinking based on analysis of experiments. Able to critically think in the analysis of experiments. Limited use of knowledge but no evidence of critical thinking based on analysis of experiments No evidence of critical thinking or use of knowledge gained 
2, 3, 4, 5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Exceptional capability to explain and describe organizational levels of biology Analyzes processes involved in the genetics of organisms; evolution; cell division; and biological chemistry Limited knowledge of processes and their organizational importance No evidence of knowledge of processes and their organizational importance 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Exceptional ability to integrate the genetic, reproductive and evolutionary information to gain a deeper understanding of biological processes; evaluate functioning of ecosystems; critically evaluates the relationship of biology and chemistry Integrate the genetic, reproductive and evolutionary information to gain a deeper understanding of biological processes; evaluate functioning of ecosystems; critically evaluates the relationship of biology and chemistry Limited knowledge of information but lack of evidence of ability to integrate different areas No evidence of knowledge of information along with inability to integrate different areas 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Accurately answers 80% of the objective test items Accurately answers 60-79% of the objective test items Accurately answers 40-60% of the objective test items Accurately answers less than 40% of the objective test items 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Exceptional ability to describe the connections between different biological concepts Able to describe the biological concepts and their interconnections Some knowledge of concepts but lack of ability to describe connections Little knowledge of biological concepts or ability to make connections 
1, 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Able to create unique explorations of scientific problem and present results in a clear and concise manner Demonstrates mastery of scientific method usage and presentation of results. Can follow directions of exploration but limited ability to understand processes and the present the results No evidence of ability to follow directions or to understand processes involved. 
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Scores more than 90% on assessment exam Scores between 70 and 90% on assessment exam Scores 40-69% on assessment exam Scores less than 40% on assessment exam 


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Last Updated:9/30/2009 1:21:01 PM