BI101 Biological Concepts

for S2T 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


BI101 Biological Concepts


S2T 2013 DLA


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

I'm available 7:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Fridays

Daytime Phone

509 - 554 - 7781 (Pacific Time Zone)

Other Phone

iChat/AIM ID: tchnoqn


Semester Dates

18 March to 12 May 2013

Class Days


Class Time




Credit Hours




The password that you get when you order the Lab Kit is needed to have eScience ship you the kit. In order to receive the Lab Kit in time, you may need to request the Book Store to EMAIL YOU THE PASSWORD! You will NOT receive your Lab Kit until YOU contact eScience. It is up to you to you to ensure your Lab Kit arrives in time for the start of the term!


Eric J. Simon, Jane B. Reece, Jean L. Dickey
Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company (2009)
ISBN-10 0-321-77259-8 
ISBN-13 978-0-321-77259-6


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 10-12 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. This class meets the requirement of a "science class with a lab". If you only need a science class, you may wish to consider an alternative. 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!

Educational Philosophy:
Education is a life long journey that should be enjoyed, not dreaded. My role as your instructor in this class is to guide your journey as you discover the wonders of biology.  

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

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Correctly summarize and cite information gathered from outside sources for use in addressing homework questions and writing reports.
Core Assessment:

Comprehensive Departmental 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 (weekly Quizzes)
  • Weekly Experiment activities and reports as assigned
  • A comprehensive proctored Final Examination during Week 8 (6 - 11 May)
Proctored Final Examination:
A proctored comprehensive final examination must be taken in a proctored testing environment during Week 8 (6 - 11 May) at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative (approved) 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.

Students must 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 (subject to change):

  256 pts  Final Exam
  160 pts  Discussions
  160 pts  Mastery Quizzes
  300 pts  Experiment Activities and Lab Reports
  224 pts  Homework
1100 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, you must contact me PRIOR to the deadline so that we can make alternative arrangements. Late assignments that are graded will be assessed a penalty commensurate with the degree of lateness.

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 (18 March 2013) and ends midnight the last Sunday of the term (12 May 2013). 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 Central Time (CT). This course contains an Experiment component with descriptions and expectations supplied either online or provided by your instructor.  Weekly Experiment Answer Sheets and other materials from these activities must be submitted in compliance with the instructor's wishes.

TIME COMMITMENT: Please remember this is an accelerated format class, so each week represents TWO weeks in a regular on-campus class. Students are expected to devote a minimum of SIX hours per class week logged on to the classroom in online activities. Other activities such as reading, completing assignments, sending/receiving email and conducting research over the web may require an additional SIX hours! This is not your typical introductory class and will require significant work on your part.

PLAGIARISM, PARAPHRASING and CITING REFERENCES: When preparing your Discussion postings, Experiment write-ups, and Homework, you must provide citations for any and ALL of your sources consulted; including your text book! The use of more than FIVE consecutive words from a source is a direct quote and must be set off using quotation marks. Absence of quotation marks and/or a proper citation of sources used constitutes plagiarism and will not be tolerated. Please be sure to download the Required Citation Format 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.

So what exactly do you have to document with a citation?

  1. Any paraphrased material: The preferred use of someone else's information is for you to paraphrase the information into your own words; that demonstrates to me that you understand what you have written. For ALL work in this class, you are expected to use outside sources to formulate your answers, so you will always need to provide citations for sources used!
  2. Direct quotations: If you use the author's exact words, enclose them in quotation marks and a complete citation at the end of your answer.

NOTE: 15% or LESS of your responses may be directly quoted material. You must use your own words whenever possible and demonstrate to me that you understand what you have written.

What information does NOT have to be documented with a citation?

  1. Common Knowledge: This is hard to evaluate, so if you are unsure, then provide a citation! In general, common knowledge is information the majority of people would know (e.g., the capitol of Massachusetts is Boston). MOST of the information you will be using in this class is NOT common knowledge!
  2. Fill-in the blank answers and multiple choice question answers do not need citations.

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

Penalties for Plagiarism

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

A Plagiarism Warning will be issued for the following reasons:
  1. If you use direct quotes (e.g., copy directly) from your source without the use of quotation marks to identify the passage as a quote. 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).

DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES: All students will participate in weekly discussions through multiple responses. Spelling and grammar are very important and part of your grade. There are two Discussion topics in each week, so be sure to participate in both. An initial response in each should be made by WEDNESDAY midnight 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. You are expected to use outside sources (e.g., textbook, lectures) to formulate your response and provide citations for sources used (see the Reference Formats file in the Doc Sharing area).
  • Follow-up responses must be substantive and provide additional information or insight. You are expected to use outside sources to formulate these responses as well.
  • 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 will need to research questions whose 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.
The supplies for the experimental activities (labs) are primarily contained in the box labs from eScience. When you order your password from the Bookstore, you will then need to use that password to request eScience to send you the Lab Kit. Since this all takes time, you may need to request the Book Store to EMAIL YOU THE PASSWORD. You will NOT receive your Lab Kit until YOU contact eScience with your password!

Labs will have very specific directions for completion and reporting.  Answer Sheets will be provided for each Experiment in the Doc Sharing area of the course and MUST be used each week. Directions and requirements for both the activity and the report will be given each week. The reports of these activities will be due on Sunday of the week in which the activity is conducted. You should never leave these experiments until the end of the week; many require several days to complete.
HOMEWORK AND EXPERIMENT ASSIGNMENTS:  You are expected to use outside sources (e.g., textbook, lectures) to formulate your responses to ALL Homework questions and many of the Experiment write-up questions. Homework and Experiment assignments should 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 dropbox 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.

PRE-GRADED ASSIGNMENTSTime 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: 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). 

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 SATURDAY 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. KEEP A RECORD OF ALL YOUR ANSWERS!!! 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; note that your attempt will be reset and you will need to reenter your answers. 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.

After everyone has completed a particular week's Mastery quiz, I will release the correct answers so that you can go back and use these quizzes to study for the final exam.

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 should note that merely turning in an assignment or just meeting the minimum requirements doesn't earn an A grade. Those grades are earned by submitting outstanding or exceptional quality of work. 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.  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. Park's attendance policy:

Examples that will trigger 'present' include but is not limited to:

  • Posting to a threaded discussion
  • Dropbox submission
  • Access an exam or quiz
  • Access a lecture (or other course presentation pages)
  • Sending an email (from the course Email menu)
Examples that will not count as 'present' include but is not limited to:
  • Accessing Discussions w/o Posting
  • Landing on the Home Page only
  • Any interaction in the course via the mobile website: (

CHECK YOUR PARK EMAIL:  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.

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:
Topic: Introduction and Chemistry of Life
Readings: Chps 2 and 3

Week 2
Topic: Cellular Energetics
Readings: Chps 5, 6, and 7 

Week 3
Topic: Cell Structure and Function
Reading: Chp 4

Week 4
Topic: Cell division - mitosis and meiosis
Readings: Chp 8

Week 5

Topic: DNA Structure and Function
Readings: Chps 10 and 11 (specific pages will be announced in class)

Week 6
Topic: Genetics
Readings: Chp 9

Week 7
Topic: Principles of Evolution
Readings: Chps 13 and 14 (specific pages will be announced in class)

Week 8
Topic: Ecology
Readings: Parts of Chps 18, 19, and 20 (specific pages will be announced in class)
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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 97

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. from Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

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: .

Additional Information:



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:2/18/2013 1:41:10 PM