T test example
Examples of graded long reports
Course Structure
Formation and Functioning of Groups
Class Schedule
First Day Quiz



Meeting Time, Place Monday, Wednesday Friday 9:05-9:55, Memorial 110
Laboratory - Wednesday 11:15 - 2:15;  McKinley
Instructor Linda Dion
Office 241Wolf Hall
Phone 831-2476
E-mail (best way to contact me)
Office Hours To be announced in class
Textbook Brooker, Widmaier, Graham, Stiling. Biology, 2nd ed
Web Page

        The physiology of plants and animals, in addition to evolutionary and ecological concepts will be the topics of this course. Lecture is supplemented by labs which teach these topics.

Course Philosophy:
Introductory Biology is intended to be a survey course which introduces students to the breadth of biological sciences and prepares them for higher level courses in biology or other science majors. Therefore a broad-based understanding of content is important. But so are the skills which will be needed to continue learning later in life. These include: the ability to learn independently, the ability to think critically and explain your understanding with clarity, and an ability to work constructively with others toward shared goals. Although the lecture format of teaching has the potential to deliver content, there is no assurance that a student will develop the skills mentioned above, since listening to lecture is a very passive activity. Furthermore, studies have suggested  that collaborative learning improves  productivity, professional self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and positive social relationships. Therefore, this course will include some lecturing, but will also have an active student-centered component of learning through the analysis of  problems, or case studies.

Course Structure
About one third of BISC208 classes will be devoted to problem-based group learning and the rest will be devoted to more traditional lecturing and evaluation of your progress.  For some of these activities you will work as individuals and for some of them you will work as members of a group. Lectures will be delivered by Power Point format.  Power point slides for a lecture will be linked to the course  web page at least one day ahead of time.
:   At the beginning of each major topic,  you should always do the assigned reading before listening to a lecture or discussing a problem. (Occasionally you may be asked to preview a problem). It may be helpful for you to print out the Power Point notes, so you can more easily follow a lecture (more about that below). Key Concepts and Practice Quizzes: for each topic, I will provide some key concepts with which you should be familiar. Use these as a guideline when reviewing your notes and the readings. They will be linked to the syllabus (Class Schedule) for the first day on which a topic will be covered. Each document may also list a practice quiz on the publisher's website which you can use for practice. This website is accessible at When this site opens, click on 2nd edition,  then choose the appropriate chapter, then choose Post Test. I've omitted some questions from each quiz because the answer is wrong, ambiguous, or because we are not covering it in class. If you wish to use the electronic version of the textbook you must access Connect Plus. If you bought your 2nd ed. text new from the UD bookstore, an access code for this should be included (same one used in fall 2010). However, you must first log in to this "course" managed by the McGraw-Hill company before you can log in to Connect Plus. The log-in you should use is:

Many problems will be complex real-world scenarios which you will have to analyze in the context of the week's topic. Working with other members of your group, you will address a series of questions which will require that you use your text and class notes as resources. These problems should reinforce your understanding of the content material, help you develop analytical skills, and give you experience in addressing real problems. Sometimes you will be asked to preview the problem on line, and sometimes you will be asked to do research to prepare for it. Sometimes a problem will require that you draw something, since illustrating concepts is an effective way to learn them. The group answers that you hand in will be read, graded, and returned in the next class. Everyone who was present for the problem gets the same grade.  An upperclass biology major, or peer facilitator, will mentor your group on problem days. It is her/his job to keep you focused and engaged in discussion.

Looking at Power Point files , Problems & Key Concepts: To access Power Point files, Key Concepts or a problem, you will need to use a computer linked to the campus network. Using one from off-campus will not allow access, since these items are restricted to the UD community. However, if you live off-campus you can connect through a proxy server available only to UD students  by using this link: You will get a log-in prompt; once you have logged in, you should be taken back to the syllabus page, but now you are accessing it through the proxy server. You should now be able to access restricted files. You will find the Power Point, or Problem link in the "Class Schedule" for the respective date.

Quizzes and Exams There will be three quizzes. In addition to the quizzes, there will be 5 hourly exams. Three will be taken as individuals and two will be group exams. There will be no final exam. Hourly exams will be similar in format to the quizzes (i.e. mostly multiple choice, with the possibility of 1-2 essays), but with a more extensive synthesis of the material.  Group exams will all be in essay format. You will work with your group to answer the questions and will submit one group copy; all group members will receive the same grade for a group exam. All exams except for the last group exam will be returned in class.


    Heterogeneous groups of 4-5 people each will be assigned by me before the first class period. Except for minor changes which may have to be made because of late dropping or adding, these groups will be permanent for the whole semester. On PBL days (most Wednesdays) an upperclass biology major will attend class as a peer facilitator to help your group. 

One of the first group activities will be to formulate ground rules, or operating rules of conduct that each member agrees to abide by. These will be sent by email to each group member, and to me for future reference. Each group will be given a folder in which attendance will be recorded and  problems can be stored. An explanation of  the peer evaluation process will also be in the folder.

Attendance and punctuality to group functions is very important for  the optimum functioning of the group. Someone who is careless with punctuality or attendance may be penalized grade-wise for disrupting the functioning of the group. In the case of illness or an unavoidable absence, please notify me, as well as your group members to avoid being penalized. If you are absent on a lecture day,, consult the power point notes. Though these will help, I will supplement them during lecture. You can read about Attendance Policies for both lab and lecture in BISC208 here.


I use email frequently to communicate with the class. Often, announcements will be made by email, so you should use your university webmail account. The web page should be checked frequently for changes or additions, and will need to be accessed weekly for notes or previews. In laboratory, data may be shared and transmitted through Sakai, which will be explained in lab. Note: only lab material will be available on Sakai. Other course information is linked to this lecture syllabus, which is on the world-wide-web (exceptions are UD-restricted files). Do not search for lecture information on Sakai. All lab reports must be typed (double-spaced); graphs should be done in Excel, if directed; more information will be provided in lab.


Class Date Lecture Topic Chapter Lab Topic of Week (Wednesdays)
M 2/7
Introduction to Course & to Evolution
Key Concepts
23*, 24
No Lab
W 2/9
Microevolution   24  -
F 2/11
Hardy-Weinberg practice;  Speciation
Key Concepts
 25* to p. 520 (omit
section 3 & 4)
M 2/14
Speciation; begin Systematics  Key Concepts
 26* to p. 535
Lab 1 Introduction to Lab; Evolution
W 2/16
Problem 1 on evolution
F 2/18
Finish Systematics;  Plant Diversity
Key Concepts
29* (omit sec 2); 30* to p. 626
M 2/21
 Quiz 1 on Evolution; Plant Diversity
Plant Structure 
Key Concepts
Lab 2: Systematics
W 2/23
Problem 2 on Diversity & Structure 35


F 2/25
 Finish structure;  Plant Nutrition
37*, 38
M 2/28
 Plant Nutrition and Transport
Key Concepts
Lab 3: Animals I: Invertebrates: Dissection &  pulsation rate in blackworm 
11 W 3/2
Problem 3 on transport
12 F 3/4
 finish Plant Transport or Review
M 3/7
Individual Exam 1 on Evolution and Plants
Lab 4: Animals II:  Invertebrates: blackworm project - affect of drugs on pulsation rate
W 3/9
Group Exam 1 on Evolution and Plants
15 F 3/11  Animal Diversity; begin Circulation
  Key Concepts
32 &34*, 47
Read Ch 40 for Intro. to Animals - I will not lecture on it
16  M 3/14    Circulation. Key concepts
Lab 5:   Plants I: Anatomy & Transport
17 W 3/16 Problem 4 on Circulation
18 F 3/18   Gas Exchange  48 -
19 M 3/21 Gas Exchange Key Concepts
Lab 6:  Plants II: Transpiration Project
W 3/23  Problem 5 on Gas Exchange
21 F 3/25  Quiz 2 on material since Exam 1; finish Respiration; begin Nervous Control
Key Concepts
22 M 4/4
Nervous Control; begin Muscles
Key Concepts
Lab 7: Animals III:  Touch & Temperature Senses
23 W 4/6 Problem 6 on Nervous Control
24 F 4/8 Muscles
25 M 4/11 Thermoregulation
Key Concepts
Lab 8: Animals IV: Respiration
26 W 4/13 Problem on Thermoregulatoin
46, sec 3 & 4
27 F 4/15 Begin Digestion
Key Concepts
28 M 4/18 Individual Exam 2 (on material since Exam 1 but not including digestion)
Lab 9: Animals V: Chordate Anatomy
29 W 4/20 Digestion
F 4/22
Problem 7 on Digestion
31 M 4/25 Introduction to Osmoregulation; Begin Population Ecology
Key Concepts
49* sec 1-4;  56
Lab 10: Ecology
32 W 4/27 Activity (problem?) on Osmoregulation; continue Population Ecology
49* sec 1-4
33 F 4/29
Quiz 3 on Digestion and Osmoregulation
Population Ecology
34 M 5/2
Community Ecology
Key Concepts
57*, 58*
35 W 5/4 Problem 8 on Population Ecology
Lab 11: no lab; prepare for exam
36 F 5/6  Community Ecology
57* & 58*
37 M 5/9 Communities & Ecosystems
 59*, 54*
Lab 12: Lab Exam
38 W 5/11 Key Concepts tutor evaluations
39 F 5/13 Group Exam 2 on material since Ex.2
M 5/16 Individual Exam 3 (on material since Exam 2)
Individual exams will be made available during finals week
No scheduled lab this week; either lab or my office will be open for a half hour on W 5/19 to see lab exams
* These particular assignments are for reference only - read in a general way, using lecture content as a guide. For Osmoregulation, the only coverage will be from a few introductory remarks on 4/25, doing the reading in Chapter 49, and doing the problem on 4/27.

Syllabus & lab schedule are subject to change. Quiz & Exam dates will not change unless weather causes class cancellation, or something else happens which is beyond my control.


        The final grade is a reflection of effort both in the classroom and in the laboratory. Lecture will constitute 75% of the final grade, lab 25%. Information about your laboratory grade will be provided during the first meeting of lab, as well as in your lab manual.        

        Your grade in lecture will be based on three criteria: Individual Performance, Group Performance, Peer & Instructor Evaluation

        1. Individual Performance (quizzes, individual exams) - 60% of lecture grade
        2. Group Performance (group exams, problems) - 40% of lecture grade
        3. Peer & Instructor evaluation (modifies the group grade - note: I reserve the right to modify the peer evaluation grade if it appears there will be a miscarriage of justice). The peer evaluation system is described in the section below..

A more detailed breakdown of the individual and group components of the lecture grade is shown below:

Individual Component %Lecture Grade (60% total)
3 Quizzes
3 Hourly Exams
Group Component
% Lecture Grade (40% total)*
9-10 Problems
2 Group Exams

*Group grade will be modified by a value from peer evaluation
Total for lecture grade will be multiplied by 75%
Laboratory grading will be explained in laboratory.

The final grade will be determined from the following approximate range. However, this range is NOT set in stone. Assignment of the final course grade can be influenced by such things as final class average. Additionally, assignment of final course grade to each student will be considered on an individual basis and COULD be influenced by my consideration of circumstances which include (but are not limited to) the following:  laboratory grading by TA is significantly different (more or less rigorous) than that of other BISC 208 honors TA's

A 90-100
B 80-89
C 70-79
D 60-69
F under 60
Plus and minus grades MAY be given for the upper and lower extremes of each range.


     Attendance in class is never a problem with honors students. However, you should still know my policy, as follows:
     Attendance in class is EXPECTED; absence will be noted. Attendance will be reflected in your peers' evaluations of you. Announcements will be made, or activities started, at the beginning of class, so promptness is important. If you miss a class, notes must be obtained from another student or from the ppt file linked to the syllabus.  If you miss an exam or quiz, you will not receive credit.
     Exceptions are the following:
          1. documented illness
          2. documented personal tragedy
          3. documented official University business

     If you miss an exam or quiz for one of the above reasons, then a make-up quiz/exam will be given. Students who know they will miss a quiz/ exam for an excusable reason must inform me promptly before or on the day of the exam (no later than two hours after the class has met) through phone or e-mail; otherwise, absence will be considered unexcused and a zero will be given.  Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Under certain circumstances, a group problem may be made up, but only if the problem is turned in before the groups' problems are returned in class (this means you would have to turn in a problem at 9:05 am on Friday morning following the missed problem day);  if the absence is not considered excusable, a zero will be given for the problem missed..

    Official BISC208 policy is that attendance in laboratory is MANDATORY. We place high importance on the laboratory experience. Therefore unexcused laboratory absences will result in a grade reduction for lab and possibly for the whole B208 course. One or two unexcused absences will result in no credit for work (quizzes, assignments) done that week in lab, and three unexcused absences will result in a failure of BISC208. Excused absences fall into the categories listed above but must be made up by attending a lab at another time during the same week after first checking with me about the reason for missing the lab, and also writing to your TA. Responsibility for arranging a make-up lies with the student. Make up during a later week cannot be accomodated. If a student misses three labs for excused reasons and is unable to make them up (due to excusable extenuating circumstances), an automatic incomplete will be given. Missed labs and the final exam must then be made up in the following semester. Additional laboratory policies will be explained in lab, and they should also be read in your lab manual.


        For the problems and group exams, all members of a group receive the same grade. The expectation is that everyone made equal contributions and expended equal effort. However, in reality, that may not be true - some may work very hard, while others may "coast". To acknowledge differences in effort among group members, you will have a chance to evaluate one another with respect to attitude, participation and contributions by doing peer evaluations.
        Peer evaluations will be done twice during the semester. The first time will be at the middle of the term - these will be done as practice and to provide constructive feedback to improve group performance. End-of-term peer evaluations will be done quantitatively. They will be used to advise me in determining how, or whether, to modify a person's group score.
        Evaluation scores will be given by assigning 0-10 points to fellow group members. A score of 10 indicates that a person is a fully functional group member (comes to class on time, comes prepared to work, contributes to group) - in other words, he/she merits 100% for group effort. In the past, Honors students have usually earned a 9 to 10. If a group is not functioning well because of one or more weak members, this should be brought to my attention as early as possible so that the situation can be corrected, and low evaluation scores can be avoided.
        After averaging your peer evaluation scores, I will determine whether, and how much, to modify your group grade. An evaluation score will be used to modify your group grade in the following way. If for example, you receive scores of 9.5, 10, and 9  from your other group members, your average is 9.5 pts. This means you will receive 95% of  your group performance score. If your average is 8.5pts., you will receive 85% of the group performance score.   Again, everyone should strive for an evaluation of 10 pts. or 100%. A sample of the end-of-term evaluation form can be seen here.


        For lab and lecture, be familiar with the university policy on Academic Dishonesty. All work submitted for grading in lab and lecture, except collaborative group work (PBL problems), must be the original work of each individual. Although you will work as a group in lab, lab reports are to be written individually. This means that graphs or tables should also be done individually. Exceptions will be explained.

The most common problems of academic dishonesty among freshmen students are plagiarism and cheating (both usually done unintentionally because of misunderstanding of what constitutes these infractions). Therefore, based on the Student Guide to University Policies ( ), here are definitions of each. These definitions are not necessarily all-inclusive.   

Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else’s words, ideas, or data as one’s own. When a student submits academic work that includes another’s words, ideas, or data, whether published or unpublished, the source of that information must be acknowledged with complete and accurate references and, if verbatim statements are included, with quotation marks as well. By submitting work as his or her own, a student certifies the originality of all material not otherwise acknowledged. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  1. The quotation or other use of another person’s words, ideas, opinions, thoughts, summaries, or theories (even if paraphrased into one’s own words) without acknowledgment of the source; or
  2. The quotation or other use of facts, statistics, or other data or materials that are not clearly common knowledge without acknowledgment of the source.
Cheating is an act or an attempted act of deception by which a student seeks to misrepresent that he or she has mastered information that has not been mastered. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:
  1. Copying of all or any portion of another’s academic work and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one’s own;
  2. Allowing another person to copy one’s own academic work—whether intentionally or recklessly;
  3. The unauthorized collaboration with any other person on an academic exercise, including collaboration on a take-home or make-up academic exercise, or on the writing of a laboratory report, where instructions have stated that reports must be individually written;
  4. The unauthorized use of electronic instruments, such as cell phones, pagers, or PDAs, to access or share information; or
  5. The unauthorized completion for another person of an academic work, or permitting someone else to complete an academic work for oneself.
If academic dishonesty is discovered or suspected, the case will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs and penalties could ensue. Clearly, you as a student are best served by doing your own work. If you have any questions about the right to collaborate, please ask your lab TA or course instructor. Their decisions are binding.


This is a center ( which provides services to students with either physical or learning disabilities. If you think you need help or need to be evaluated, contact this center. I am not qualified to assess whether or not a student has such a disability, and therefore will not make accomodations for testing without instructions from this office. If I learn of any group tutoring for BISC 208, I will inform the class.