Ms. Janet Stein Carter, Assistant Professor of Biology
Course #34BIOL101-001
Office: room EDU-215-Q; phone 732-5313
TH 9:30 - 10:45 am
Office Hours WF 12:30-1:30, TH 11:00-12:00
(If I’m not in my office, then check the Lab area)

Successful completion of high-school-level courses in biology with lab, chemistry with lab, and algebra is a prerequisite for this course. This science majors’ course was designed to build on, not replace that foundation. If you never had those courses or did not successfully complete them, then there is a prerequisite of at least one quarter of General Biology lecture (34BIOL104) and lab (34BIOL114). If you had those high school courses, but did poorly in them or cheated your way through them rather than learning the material, or if it was so long ago that your memory is fuzzy, you may have trouble being successful in this course. If any of those cases apply to you, then in order to improve your chances of mastering the material presented in this course, as reflected by your grade, it is strongly recommended that you, also, take at least one quarter of General Biology (34BIOL104 and 34BIOL114) before attempting this course. Knowledge of basic high-school-level mathematics such as working with logarithms, interpreting graphs, and solving simple algebraic equations will be assumed as a “given.”

If you are underprepared, obtaining the necessary prerequisites could add to the time needed to get your degree. You cannot expect to simultaneously get your degree quickly and do well in a course for which you are underprepared, and will need to choose which of the two is more important to you, and which will better prepare you for the courses you will face at the next level of your college career. Typically, students who try to rush through their coursework without the proper prerequisites do poorly in those courses, thus being underprepared for the next level of courses. Students who do take time to gain the proper prerequisites for a course thereby get much more out of that course, which in turn, better prepares them for subsequent courses.

Also, your textbook was written at a college level, and includes a fair amount of scientific terminology. If you are not able to read at a college level, you will not be able to comprehend the text, and thus will have great difficulty with this course. If that is the case, you should take courses to improve your reading and writing skills before attempting to take this course.

Course Description:
3 undergraduate credits. This science majors’ course focuses on the major processes, concepts, and theories of living organisms. Topics include the elements of chemistry important to biology; the structure and function of biological molecules; and cellular theory, organelles, and processes. The application of these concepts to daily experiences and biological terms and their derivation are tied to the lecture topics. Prerequisite: high-school biology or Biology 104 (taken the summer before), high-school chemistry, and high-school algebra.

Aims of the 101-102-103 Sequence:
Biology 101 is the first quarter in a three-quarter sequence of classes. At the completion of this sequence of science majors’ courses, you should have mastered the knowledge and skills that will serve as a broad foundation for the more specialized biology courses you will be taking later on. You should also understand and appreciate the relationship between biological knowledge and your everyday life, including a better understanding and appreciation of your body’s functions and a greater enjoyment of leisure time activities.

It is important to note that the “purpose” of these courses is not to give you an “A” so you can get into Pharmacy or Medical School, etc., but rather to provide you with the foundation knowledge and skills you will need to survive and do well if you make it that far.

Course Objectives for Introductory Biology 101:
This course will explore the basic processes, concepts, and theories of biochemistry and modern biology, including cell theory, utilizing examples from everyday life. The objectives will be:

  1. To learn about the structures and functions of the biochemicals, organelles, and cells in the variety of living organism in the world around us;
  2. To explore and further your understanding of the major concepts, theories, and processes, including cellular respiration, which relate to living organisms, and the historical context in which these concepts and theories were developed;
  3. As these processes are studied, to learn to think critically about them – to be able to use the scientific method to analyze a problem, formulate a hypothesis, and develop a means of finding a solution;
  4. To relate biological terms to their Latin and Greek derivation, thereby facilitating the prediction/understanding of definitions for unfamiliar words;
  5. To explore and discuss the ethical and/or social responsibility issues related to topics under consideration; and
  6. To communicate in ways appropriate to the biological sciences about the processes and concepts studied.

Methods of Reaching These Objectives:

  1. Participation in discussion and class problem-solving will be an important component of this course. You will prepare for class by reading, researching, and thinking about the scheduled topics prior to class time. When you arrive for class, you should have a basic understanding of the topics to be discussed and have formulated any questions that might have arisen as you read about these topics. This will enable you to participate in a meaningful way in discussing the scheduled topic for that day.
  2. Several times during the quarter, you will be asked to summarize an article in the popular press in the form of a newsnote and turn this in to be duplicated/posted for class discussion.
  3. You will be expected to accurately define key terms, translate pertinent wordstems, reproduce explanatory diagrams, and explain important concepts in your own words. Test structure will require written essays and short answers. Wordstems provide a fundamental tool to understanding language, thus etymology of major terms will be derived and tested.
  4. You should be able to logically predict the meaning of any new words encountered that contain known wordstems.
  5. You should develop a sense of the influence of historical context and discoveries on the evolution of our modern understanding of biology.
  6. You should gain a basic knowledge and understanding of chemical structures and processes important to biology and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of these in everyday life, including being able to predict how a chemical might be expected to react based on its structure.
  7. You should gain a basic knowledge and understanding of cell structure and function, especially the process of cellular respiration, and the implications of these for your own body.
  8. You should be able to defend your viewpoints on ethical issues based on supportive biological data.

Grades will be determined based on the total points from your three test scores (100 pt. each), three newsnotes (5 pt. each), electronic newsnote comments (3 or 5 pt. each — max. of 50 pt., see separate page), study group participation (5 pt. each), and final exam (200 pt.) plus any points from other smaller assignments. Ten percent per class period will be deducted for any work, INCLUDING TESTS, which is turned in late, and no late newsnotes will be accepted for a grade. A histogram (curve) of total scores will be constructed and analyzed using statistical methods. In general, the class mean will serve as the dividing line between “B” and “C” scores, and only those students whose scores are above the mean plus one standard deviation unit, thereby demonstrating superior mastery of the material covered, will receive an “A”. An “F” will be given when an individual repeatedly scores at the bottom of the class and shows blatant disregard for good study habits and class attendance. Any student who stops attending class and does not go through the official withdrawal process will be given the grade of “UW”--unofficial withdrawal--the equivalent of an “F”. Grades will be awarded based on a straight A-B-C-D-F grading scale.

I realize that there are some medical conditions which, legitimately, can preclude a student from having an equal chance to learn in this course. A very obvious example would be a student who had trouble hearing me speak, thus was at a great disadvantage because (s)he would miss what I was saying in lecture. However, other, more subtle, conditions such as ADD and dyslexia can also adversely affect an equally-intelligent student’s opportunity to obtain information and/or communicate to me that (s)he has learned the needed material. It is not “unfair” to anyone to make arrangements to compensate for such medical conditions, but rather, this can help insure that such people have an equal chance at doing well in this course. Obviously, however, such students would still have to demonstrate that, given reasonable accommodations, they are capable of mastering the required material. Thus, students who need some type of accommodations in order to “level the playing field” and put them on a par with the rest of the class should speak with me now, not after grades have suffered.

Required Text:
Campbell, Neil A., et al.. 2002. Biology, 6th ed. Benjamin/Cummings Publ. Co., Inc. Menlo Park, CA.

Optional Resources:

Assigned Readings:
In order to increase your comprehension, allow in-class discussions to move from a rehashing of background material to more-interesting examples and applications of those topics, and allow you to enjoy and benefit maximally from this rigorous science majors’ course, assigned readings from your text should be done prior to the class time for which they are listed. As additional background material to aid your understanding, you are also encouraged to read the online “lecture notes” I have available for my General Biology students (see links, below). Note that these Web pages were designed to be interactive and include a number of “games,” pronunciations, and other interactive features to help students to better understand and learn the various topics. Extra readings (“literature research”) on your own is encouraged. If you find a good reference on a topic to be covered, please share it with the rest of the class. Page numbers are listed in the schedule.

There will be three (3) tests worth 100 points each. These will include short-answer questions, several short essay-type questions such as definitions or diagrams, and meanings of Latin and Greek words used in forming biological terminology. The final exam will be 200 points and will be comprehensive with emphasis on the material covered after the third test. (Note: A number of students have found it useful to make “flash cards” from which to study word stems and definitions.)

Students who miss a test should make arrangements with the instructor to make it up BEFORE the next class period. Requests to make up tests after the tests have been returned and discussed will be denied unless a student has a valid excuse (such as a doctor’s note). Optionally, a more difficult make-up test may be written (but graded on the same curve as everyone else). Only one test may be made up late, and then only with a valid excuse. If more than one test is missed, subsequent tests will receive a “zero.” This means that if you skip one test because you “don’t feel like it,” then miss a second test due to illness, you have used up your one chance and will receive a “zero” on the second test. It has been my experience that students who don’t take a test on time because they think they need more time to study end up doing no better (if not worse) when they do finally take the test. There will be a 10% per class period penalty for a late test.


Although test, paper, and newsnote due dates will be as listed unless an announcement is made to the contrary, the actual lecture topics covered may take slightly more or less time than listed, and thus may vary slightly from the schedule. Pages marked “MM” are in the Merck Manual, and are included for those who wish to read further on a topic. Links are provided to pertinent sections of my General Biology online notes. Since portions of our discussions will be similar, those notes may serve as additional background information and aid in your understanding of the topics.

Schedule Based on Two 75-Minute Periods Per Week

4-I Introduction to Course, Emergent Properties of Life
print out and read all handouts linked below
1-25, 104, 104, 104, 106
6-I Early History of Biology, Later History: Scientific Revolution, Early Models for Evolution
428-431, 104, 106
11-I Darwinian Evolution, Atomic Theory: Subatomic Particles and Structure of Atoms
432-442 26-39, 104, 106, 106, 104
13-I Atomic Theory: Functions of Atoms, Ionic and Covalent Bonds, Organization of Periodic Table; Water: The Most Important Solvent
26-39, 41-47, 104
Ionization of Water: Acids and Bases
47-50, 104
20-I Tests Returned and Discussed, Ionization of Water: pH and Buffers,      NEWSNOTES DUE
47-50, 104
25-I Chemistry of Carbon: Organic Chemistry, Functional Groups, Carbohydrates: Monosaccharides, Structure of Glucose
52-60, 62-65, 104 104
27-I Carbohydrates: Optical Activity, Discuss Newsnotes
62-65, 104

1-II Carbohydrates: Di- and Polysaccharides, Lipids: Triglycerides – Structure, Saturated and Unsaturated, Cis- and Trans-Fatty Acids
65-68, 68-71, 104, 104
3-II Lipids: Soap, Emulsions, Phospholipids, Lecithin, Mayonnaise, Membranes, Steroids, 68-71, 138-142, 104, 104
Proteins: Polymers of Amino Acids, Structure, PKU, Aspartame
71-76, 104
10-II Tests Returned and Discussed, Proteins: Function, Enzymes, Active Sites and Inhibition,      NEWSNOTES DUE
76-80, 96-104, 104
15-II Dietary Protein, Protein Complementation, Origins of Life
853, Lappé (ch 4 pp 172-182), 484-497, 510-523, 104, 104, 106, 106
17-II Introduction to Cells, Discuss Newsnotes
4-6, 108-113, 510-522, 104, 106, 106
22-II Organelles, Cell Membrane Function
113-136, 138-153, 104
24-II Diffusion and Osmosis, Energy in Cells, Metabolism, and ATP
138-153, 87-96
Harvesting Energy: Glycolysis
155-164, 104
3-III Tests Returned and Discussed, Harvesting Energy: Fermentation,      NEWSNOTES DUE
170-172, 104
8-III Harvesting Energy: Cellular Respiration and the Krebs Cycle, Electron Transport Chain: Cytochromes, Hydrogen Pump
164-166, 166-170, 172-174, 104
10-III Electron Transport Chain, cont., Discuss Newsnotes
166-170, 172-174, 104
FINALS WEEK – Final will be some time the week of 14-III, TBA

Some important, related links:

Student Personal Information Sheet and Preliminary Questionnaire

Please print out this sheet, fill out, and turn in.
Please use pen and print clearly.

Last Name: First Name: Today’s Date:
Nickname/Preferred Name: Phone (incl. area code if needed):

E-Mail Address:
Address: City/Zip: Major (real major, not what’s on the UC forms):
Who is your academic advisor?
Indicate which achievement tests you’ve taken and the scores Math score English score
SAT yesno

ACT yesno

Which Clermont College placement tests have you taken?



List all high-school and above (other college-level?) courses you’ve taken in:



Who advised you to take this course?

List any other interests, hobbies, etc. relating to biology:

Is there any information which you would wish to volunteer regarding any medical conditions, etc. of which you feel I should be aware and for which special accommodations may be needed to give you an equal opportunity to succeed in this course?

So I can get an idea of the level of everyone’s math skills, please answer the following questions (please show all your work):
What is the average of the numbers 67, 34, and 72?
Express the number 1/10000 as a decimal and in scientific notation.

Express the number 3.47 × 105 in “regular” notation.
In a study of side effects of a new drug, 327 people developed hives while 142 became nauseous. If everyone who took the drug developed one of these two symptoms, what percentage, to four significant figures, of the users developed hives?
Writing Sample: Write a short paragraph about some aspect of biology which you find exciting, and explain why that topic is of interest to you. Use your best compositional and grammatical skills.

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Copyright © 1998 by J. Stein Carter. All rights reserved.