Biology for Non-Science Majors I

Biology for Non-Science Majors I


Credit Fall 2017
08/28/2017 - 12/17/2017

Course Information

Section 001
MW 12:00 - 13:20
RRC3 3323.00
Elizabeth Maxim

Section 001
M 13:30 - 16:20
RRC3 3314.00
Elizabeth Maxim

Office Hours

  • M W
    10:30 - 12:00
    RRC 3321
  • T Th
    12:00 - 1:30
    RRC 3321
    And by appointment

Course Requirements

Your grade will be based on the following assessments:

(1) Lecture Exams (500 points total):


There will be five lecture exams worth 100 points each. All lecture exams will be given in class on the dates given in the lecture schedule. Lecture exams will be approximately 2/3rds multiple choice, true/false, and matching (and graded by scantron), and 1/3rd written: short answer, essay and problems. I will provide scantrons for the lecture exams.


(2) Optional Comprehensive Final Exam: The comprehensive final exam is optional. You may use the comprehensive final to replace your lowest lecture exam score. If you score lower on the final than you did on your lowest lecture exam, the final will not count. 


(3) Lab Reports (150 points total):


Each week of lab is worth 10 points. There are fifteen weeks of lab. Lab reports will be due on the class day after we finish the lab in question. Late labs may be turned in the next class day after their due date and earn a maximum of 8 points. You will not receive credit for labs turned in after that point. If you can’t make it to class, you may turn in labs at the RRC mailroom (Room 1103.01) or scan and email them to me. If you miss a lab, you will not be able to make it up and will receive a grade of zero on the lab report.


Makeup Exams: If you miss an exam, you can take a makeup exam. You must take the makeup exam within one week of the original exam date. The makeup exam will be given in the Round Rock Testing Center. You must contact me as soon as you know you will miss the original exam to make arrangements for the makeup, as it will take at least two days to get the makeup exam into the testing center. You may only take one makeup exam during the semester.


Extra Credit: There will be extra credit questions on the lecture exams. Five extra credit assignments will also be available, each worth five points.


Grading Scale:

Your points for all of the course activities are totaled at the end of the course and a percentage score is determined. The following scale is used to determine your final course grade:

                                    Percentage Score                           Grade

                                    90% or above                                      A

                                    80-89%                                                B

                                    70-79%                                                C

                                    60-69%                                                D

                                    below 60%                                           F


Percentage scores are rounded to the nearest whole number before determining the letter grade.


Required Texts/Materials:

Lecture: Campbell Biology Concepts and Connections, 9th ed., by Taylor, Simon, Dickey, Hogan & Reece. Boston: Pearson.

Lab: Muzos, S. J. and Jarzem, J. 2014. Introductory Biology: The Unity of Life, Lab Manual, 11th ed. Austin, TX: Austin Community College. The lab manual is not sold in the ACC Bookstore. You can download your copy from this course's Blackboard site or the ACC Biology Department website.

Other Materials: Lecture objectives and Powerpoints will be available on the course Blackboard site for you to print out or view online. 

You will need safety glasses or goggles, rated ANSI Z87 or higher, for lab and closed-toed shoes for lab.

Course Subjects

Nature of Life: Characteristics of life, hierarchy of organization, energy flow and nutrient cycling in food webs

Nature of Science: Science as a way of knowing, types of scientific inquiry, scientific method

Basic Chemistry 1: Atomic structure, chemical bonds, molecules Basic

Chemistry 2: Properties of water, acids, bases, salts, pH, buffers, ocean acidification

Biomolecules 1: General properties of biomolecules, carbohydrates, lipids

Biomolecules 2: Proteins, nucleic acids

Cells 1: Cell theory, prokaryotic cell structure and function, introduction to eukaryotic cells

Cells 2: Eukaryotic cell structure and function, types of eukaryotic cells

Cells at Work 1: Membrane transport: Plasma membrane structure, simple and facilitated diffusion, osmosis, active transport, vesicular transport

Cells at Work 2: Energy & Enzymes: Energy and energy transformations, laws of thermodynamics, ATP and its role as an energy shuttle, enzymes and their function

Harvesting Energy: Cellular respiration, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, fermentation

Photosynthesis: Light energy, pigments, photosynthesis

Cell Division 1: Asexual vs sexual reproduction, binary fission in prokaryotes, mitosis in eukaryotes, cell cycle and its control, cancer

Cell Division 2: Sexual reproduction, meiosis, chromosomal abnormalities in humans

Inheritance 1: Mendelian inheritance, monohybrid, dihybrid and test-crosses, human genetic traits

Inheritance 2: Exceptions to Mendelian rules: incomplete dominance, co-dominance, pleiotropy, polygenic inheritance, linkage, sex-linked genes, gene-environment interactions

DNA and Genes: Structure and function of DNA, DNA replication

Protein Synthesis: Transcription, translation, point mutations

Gene Expression 1: Control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

Gene Expression 2: Stem cells and cloning

Genetic Technology 1: Genetic engineering

Genetic Technology 2: DNA profiling and genomics

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

This course is one of two introductory non-science major classes. This one focuses on the cellular and molecular bases of life and the similarities found among all living things. The course is intended to foster an understanding of biological issues and provide students with the tools to critically analyze biological data and intelligently relate these data to issues in our society such as cloning, genetic engineering, etc.

Specific skills and competencies expected of students who complete this course include:

• Describe the scientific process as applied in biology

• Describe the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and viruses

• Describe evolution and its mechanisms

• Describe basic inorganic and organic chemistry concepts that underlie the structure and function of cells

• Describe energy transformations in organisms including photosynthesis and cellular respiration

• Describe the structure and function of DNA in reproduction and protein synthesis, and how DNA underlies the major patterns seen in the study of heredity

• Describe various applications of genetics to technology

As a Core Curriculum course, students completing this course will demonstrate competence in:

• Critical Thinking - Gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying information.

• Interpersonal Skills - Interacting collaboratively to achieve common goals.

• Quantitative and Empirical Reasoning - Applying mathematical, logical and scientific principles and methods.

• Written, Oral and Visual Communication - Communicating effectively, adapting to purpose, structure, audience, and medium.