Major course policies are the same as for the first semester of the course. Consult last semester's BISC-207/82 syllabus for review of information about PBL practices, procedures for helping to optimize group function, roles and responsibilities, resources for researching problems, and academic honesty. The skills objectives for the course are also the same as for last semester; for that reason only the new content objectives for BISC-208 are presented here.
|Dr. Deborah Allen, Biological Sciences|
|Phone: 831-8958||Office: 209 McKinly Laboratory|
|E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org||Office hours: Stop by at any time, but if you e-mail me or speak to me first, you'll be sure that I'm there|
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The content objectives of this course are similar to those for the other BISC-208 sections. These include an understanding of basic biological concepts related to structure/function relationships in plants and animals, adaptation, and homeostasis, biodiversity, relationships between organisms at the population and community level, relationships between organisms and their environments at the ecosystem level, and to evolutionary biology. The intent of learning these concepts and related fundamental principles is to orient your thinking in a way that prepares you for more advanced study in biology. In addition, various activities in the class will be designed to introduce you to ways of taking this understanding several steps further - i.e., towards applying the concepts you've learned to new situations, synthesizing concepts to build a new (higher level of) understanding, and using your knowledge and understanding of biology to build reasoned arguments for a particular point of view.
Skills Objectives See last semester’s BISC-207/82 syllabus for a review of these.
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There is one new strategy for helping to maintain optimal group functioning this semester, in addition to the standard procedures used last semester (formulation of group ground rules with penalties; periodic informal group evaluation, and formal written evaluation twice per semester). This new strategy is the assignment of two roles, which should rotate among group members on approximately a weekly basis. The roles are described directly below, and the instructor’s evaluation in more detail under "Assignments."
Rotating Roles. There are two roles that are important to each group getting its work done, including the group’s ability to contribute well to whole class discussions. These include the role of "recorder" and "reporter." Because these roles will be so important, your group's tutor will help you ensure that each group member has a chance to perform them on a rotating basis (approximately once a week) throughout the semester.
Recorder – Writes down the group’s learning issues and their priority, and who is responsible for researching each learning issue for inclusion in its notebook (see "Forms" for learning issue record sheet). Takes notes on group contributions to whole class discussions for use by the reporter. Keeps track of who performed the reporter and recorder roles. Keeps ongoing written record (including both initial drafts and final version) of any group assignments, and prints the necessary forms from the Web as needed by the group.
Reporter – Offers group contribution to whole class discussions. Hands in group assignments to instructor by due date and time.
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Class Meeting Times
The class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 – 10:45 am in 108 Pearson (lecture), and on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. in 034 McKinly Laboratory.
Dates for Assignments/Activities
|First day of class||Tuesday, February 8th|
|First day of lab||Thursday, February 17th|
|HOUR EXAM 1||Tuesday, March 14th|
|1st group and tutor evaluations due||Tuesday, March 21st|
|First course evaluation (in class)||Thursday, March 23rd|
|Friday, March 24th – Sunday, April 2nd|
|HOUR EXAM 2||Thursday, April 20th|
|2nd group and tutor evaluations due||Tuesday, April 25th|
|Last day of lab||Thursday, May 11th|
|Final course evaluation||Thursday, May 11th|
|Last day of class||Tuesday, May 16th|
|Final Exam Week||Friday, May 19th
Monday, May 22nd – Friday, May 26th
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Sequence of Problems
Some of the general topics can be selected for links to recommended
Web sites. Select the problem image or title after we are finished working
through it in class for a list of instructor’s content objectives (please
note that these will not be posted until the majority of groups are on
the last page of the problem.) PBL-type or other laboratory exercises will
help you uncover related content in the following areas: plant reproduction,
plant physiology, plant and animal diversity, and population and community
|Problem Title or Subject Area
||General Topics Introduced by Problem
|The Galapagos (By Nancy A. Shiller and Clyde Freeman Herreid, SUNY Buffalo - Case Studies in Science web site) Photo: C.F. Herried||Island biogeography; adaptation; competition; resource partitioning; natural selection and sexual selection versus genetic drift as driving forces in evolution; use of DNA technology to develop species phylogeny and genealogies; extinction; role of humans in preservation of biodiversity; impact of people on fragile ecosystems; geology and formation of volcanic islands; colonization of islands|
|The Deforestation of the Amazon: A Case Study in Understanding Ecosystems and Their Value (By Phil Camill, Carleton College - Case Studies in Science web site) Photo: Maura Maple||Factors leading to deforestation; stakeholders positions for deforestation issues in Amazonia; global biodiversity loss; importance of biodiversity; intrinsic versus economic valuation of species; environmental policy-making; the "tragedy of the commons"|
|Bears Do It, Bees Do It...||Homeostasis; temperature regulation; endothermy versus ectothermy; metabolic rate; hibernation|
|Water, Water, Everywhere…||Homeostasis in body fluid volume and composition, including roles of hormones, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular system; nitrogen metabolism and excretion; how marine birds and mammals are adapted to an environment in which fresh water is scarce or absent|
|Zoe Takes a Dive||Adaptation to low oxygen, high pressure conditions; the physics and physiology of the "bends"; integrated operation of body organ systems (cardiovascular and respiratory); how mammals store and transport oxygen; the diving reflex as a example of reflex operation; relationship between blood pressure and blood flow|
|Patty’s Pet Palace||Structure and function of the nervous system, including operation of reflex arcs; how nerves send signals to muscles to contract; chemical messengers and receptors used in the nervous system; occupational hazards|
|Beat the Clock (if time permits)||How organisms time biologically important events; photoperiodism; role of melatonin and nervous system; jet lag|
|HIV and the Health Care
|Immune system responses to viral invasion; viral mechanisms of genetic expression; ethical and epidemiological issues related to HIV and AIDS|
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End of Problem Assignments. At least one class period
before the anticipated end of each problem, an assignment will be given
to the class that will assess understanding of major concepts. These assignments
may be individual or group, depending on their complexity and/or difficulty.
They will consist of either a written summary (1-2 page essay) on 1 or
2 of the most critical learning issues for the problems, the building of
a model or a concept map of complex structures or issues, or of a quiz
on the most important concepts introduced by the problems. Select the topics
below for additional information about the assignments and the course objectives
they are designed to assess, due dates, and scoring criteria.
|Grading Criteria for End of Problem Summaries||How to Construct a Concept Map|
|First Problem Summary Assignment||First Concept Map Assignment|
|Second Problem Summary Assignment||Fourth Problem Summary Assignment|
|Third Problem Summary Assignment|
Evaluation of Individual Performance in Groups. Individual performance in the group will be assessed in writing by both the tutor and by each group member. You will also be asked to evaluate your own performance as part of this process. These evaluations will be done twice during the semester. Informal verbal feedback about the course and your group’s function will be encouraged throughout the semester.
The same evaluation forms and criteria will be used by everyone. It may be helpful to you to use this sample form throughout the semester as a basis for giving more informal feedback to your group members, and for self evaluation. Getting spontaneous feedback about yourself during group discussions and supplying it in a thoughtful way to others is a great "reality check", and is often a first step in making progress in the types of content and process skills identified as the course objectives. Also, the information you get back about yourself on the formal evaluations won't be a surprise!
The formal evaluation forms will be filled out as a "take-home" assignment, then handed in by the due dates given below. A copy of each form (group and tutor) will be distributed to everyone during class. Additional copies of group and tutor forms can be printed by selecting them under "Forms." The tutors will total up the scores, add their own scores and comments, and provide a written summary of the final scores and comments to each student. The original evaluation forms that you hand in about each other will not be shown to the student being evaluated.
Mid- and end-of-semester evaluations will be distributed in class for completion the day they are distributed.
Exams. There will be 2 hour exams given throughout the
semester, on the dates specified in the course schedule. The exams will
cover both "lecture" and lab material (which will be related). Both exams
will be a mix of essay questions (that will examine your knowledge and
understanding of content, your ability to synthesize concepts, and your
ability to build convincing evidence to support an argument), one or two
short problems, and analyses of graphs, tables etc. that are common themes
to both lecture and lab. The exam questions about the short problems will
focus on the process of working through the problem (such as identification
of learning issues) rather than on new content areas, and/or will require
new application of concepts you've already encountered in the classroom
problems your group has worked on.
|Topics and Format for Hour Exam I||Topics and Format for Hour Exam II|
Web Site Evaluation What are the features of a good informational Web site? Which site/author do you believe when faced with conflicting information found in different sites about a controversial issue related to biology? This group exercise is designed to help you become more proficient in answering these questions. The exercise will start with a class session on how to construct a Web page. In the first part of the assignment, each group will construct their own page, on which they'll state define a controversial topic with a biological theme (and major issues related to it) for which abundant and conflicting information can be found on the Web. In the second stage, groups will then post on their page a list of active links to Web sites containing information about the controversy. The final stage will be the writing and posting of the group's evaluation of whose opinion to believe about major issues it has defined. More about this assignment and due dates....
What's That Organism? For each problem, one person from each group will be assigned a learning issue that will basically involve a taxonomic classification of an organism introduced by the problem, and a summary of its life history. (presented in writing and as an oral presentation to the group). The organism you select is up to you, but should be used to exemplify the question (related to how it has solved a major problem associated with survival in a given habitat) posed in the lists provided below under "More About the Assignment." The life history should also include an associated an explanation of the organism’s habitat (and niche). This will be a substitute for, rather than an addition to research done on other learning issues posed during the session in which it's assigned. More About the Assignment
Final Exam. This will be similar in format to the hour exams, and will be comprehensive in nature.
Final Exam Topics and Format
Laboratory. Assessment mechanisms for this component of the courses are explained in the lab syllabus. Supplements to the laboratory manual (which is available for purchase in the University bookstore) are posted on the introductory biology site on the Department of Biological Sciences web page.
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Select from the list below to view and copy some forms that will be needed for the course:
Contribution of Assignments to Final Score
|Assignment/Activity||Percentage of Final Score|
|What's that organism?||2|
|Web site evaluation||5|
|Evaluations of group performance||10|
|2 hour exams||30|
Final grades for the course will be assigned on the basis of the following absolute grading scale:
94 and above----> A
90-93 ----> A-
87-89 ----> B+
83-86 ----> B
80-82 ----> B-
77-79 ----> C+
73-76 ----> C, etc.
Please note that use of this absolute scale (rather than one based on
the class average) means that your success in the course
won't hinge on someone else's lack thereof.
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|Back to Biology courses page||Back to UD Home Page|
Last modified on April 11, 2000. Contact D. E. Allen at email@example.com for information about this site. The URL of this site is <http://udel.edu/~deallen/208syll.htm>.