Biology for Non-Science Majors II

Biology for Non-Science Majors II


Credit Spring 2021
01/19/2021 - 05/16/2021

Course Information

Section 011
Distance Learning
TTh 12:00 - 13:20
Elizabeth Maxim

Section 011
TTh 13:30 - 14:50
Elizabeth Maxim

Office Hours

  • M
    4:30 - 6:30 pm
    Blackboard Collaborate
    For BIOL 1408
  • T
    3:00 - 4:30
    Blackboard Collaborate
    For BIOL 1409
  • T
    4:30 - 6:30 pm
    Blackboard Collaborate
    For BIOL 2306
  • W
    1:30 - 3:00 pm
    Blackboard Collaborate
    For BIOL 1408
  • Th
    3:00 - 5:00 pm
    Blackboard Collaborate
    For BIOL 1309

Course Requirements

(1) Lecture Exams (500 points total): 

There will be five lecture exams worth 100 points each. Please see the course schedule for the exam deadlines. Lecture exams will be approximately 2/3rds multiple choice, true/false, and matching, and 1/3rd written: short answer, essay and problems. The lecture exams are worth 58.8% of your final grade.

The exams will cover material from the lecture presentations, group activities, and labs.

You will be taking your exams through Blackboard using Lock-Down Browser and Respondus Monitor. You must have a computer that can run Respondus Monitor, a working microphone and a working webcam to take the exams.  If you have a Chromebook, it will not run Respondus Monitor, but you can take exams with an ACC Online Proctor instead. You will still need a camera and microphone.

Please see the course schedule for exam deadlines. If you miss an exam deadline, you will receive a 0 on the exam. If you know you are not going to be able to meet an exam deadline, and you have a good reason, please get in touch with your instructor right away to work something out.

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. The optional final will not be used to replace a missed exam!

(2) Group Activities (140 points total):

You will be assigned to a discussion group. Each week, your group will complete an activity and discuss it by making posts to your group’s discussion board. There will be 15 group activities, each worth 10 points. Your lowest group activity grade will be dropped at the end of the semester. See below for more information on making posts to your discussion board. The group activities are worth 16.5% of your final grade.

Please see the course schedule for posting deadlines. If you miss a posting deadline, you will receive a 0 for that group activity. 

(3) Labs (210 points total): 

Labs will be completed entirely online. You’ll get lab instructions that explain the lab experiments, and also give you data to interpret. Plus there will be questions to answer. Once you have completed the lab, you will take a Blackboard quiz over the lab. Please see the course schedule for lab quiz deadlines. There are 15 labs, each worth 15 points. Your lowest lab grade will be dropped. The labs are worth 24.7% of your total grade. 

Please see the course schedule for lab deadlines. If you miss a lab deadline, you will receive a 0 on the lab. 

Extra Credit: There will be two extra credit questions on each lecture exam, each worth two points. Five extra credit assignments will also be available, each worth five points.  That makes 45 potential extra credit points, worth approximately 5% of the total point value.

Grading Scale:

Your points for all 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 Course Materials:

(1)  Campbell Biology Concepts and Connections, 10th edition, 2020, by Reece, Taylor, Simon, Dickey and Hogan.  Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.

(2) Unit study guides, powerpoint presentations, lab instructions, group activities, and extra credit assignments will be available on the course Blackboard site. Lecture recordings will be availablee in Blackboard Collaborate and YouTube.

Course Subjects

Evolution and Natural Selection 1: What is evolution, adapations, natural selection, artificial selection

Evolution and Natural Selection 2: Genetic drift, gene flow, mutation, sexual selection, kin selection

Species & Speciation: Species concepts, reproductive isolating mechanisms, speciation, speciation mechanisms

Evolutionary History: Plate tectonics, continental drift, mass extinctions and their causes

Systematics: Studying evolutionary histories, phylogenetic trees and how to interpret them, classification and naming of species

Prokaryotes & Viruses: Abiogenesis (origin of life), evolutionary history of prokaryotes, prokaryotic cell structure and function, the two prokaryotic domains (Archaea and Bacteria), where do viruses fit in?

Protists 1: Eukaryotic cell structure, function and origin, evolutionary history of eukaryotes, modern plant-like protists: seaweeds and phytoplankton groups

Protists 2: Animal-like protists: amoebas, ciliates and other protozoans; and fungal-like protists: slime molds

Fungal Diversity: Characteristics and evolutionary history of fungi: yeasts, molds, mushrooms and other groups

Fungus Kingdom: Fungal lifestyles: decomposers; parasites of plants and animals; lichens and mycorrhizae

Introduction to Plants: Characteristics of plants, adaptations of plants to life on land

Bryophytes and Seedless vascular plants: evolutionary history of plants, bryophytes or non-vascular plants (mosses & liverworts), seedless vascular plants (ferns and clubmosses)

Gymnosperms: Evolution of seed plants and their characteristics, characteristics and major groups of gymnosperms

Angiosperms 1: Characteristics and evolutionary history of flowering plants, the main groups of flowering plants

Angiosperms 2: Pollination and seed dispersal in flowering plants

Plant Form and Function: Structure and function of flowering plants

Introduction to Animals: General characteristics of animals, animal body plans

Animal Diversity 1: Sponges, radially symmetrical animals (Cnidarians) and simple bilateral animals (flatworms)

Animal Diversity 2: Roundworms, segmented worms, and mollusks

Animal Diversity 3: Arthropods and echinoderms

Animal Diversity 4: Chordate characteristics, invertebrate chordates, hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous fishes

Animal Diversity 5: Bony fishes, animal adaptations to life on land, amphibians, the amniotic egg

Animal Diversity 6: Nonavian reptiles, birds, mammals

Introduction to Ecology: What is ecology, abiotic and biotic components of the environment

Biomes: Aquatic and terrestrial habitats and their characteristics and distribution

Populations: Population characteristics and dynamics, human population growth

Communities & Ecosystems: Species interactions, biodiversity, community dynamics, food webs

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

This course is one of two introductory non-science major classes. This one focuses on the diversity 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 extinction, global warming etc.

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

• Describe evolution and its mechanisms

• Describe various types of ecosystems and the ecological principles that underlie their properties.

• Describe how organisms are named and classified and interpret phylogenetic trees

• Describe the diversity, structure and function of viruses, prokaryotes, and the various eukaryotes groups, including protists, fungi, animals, and plants.

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.