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Page history last edited by Derek Weber 10 years, 5 months ago


Relevant Information

A. Location and Time of Lecture/Lab 

a. Wednesday Lecture:  8:20AM-9:25AM in W222

b. Friday Lecture: 8:20AM-9:25AM in W112

b. Lab: W: 9:35AM-12:10PM in SC125

B. Instructor: Dr. Derek Weber      
C. Email:  dweber@raritanval.edu    
D. Office and Telephone NumberSC115; x8985

E.  Office Hours: M: 12PM-1PM; F: 9:30AM-12:30PM


Course Objectives

General Biology I is the first of a two-semester sequence introducing science majors to the molecular basis of biology, evolution, and the diversity of living things. 


Outline of Course Content


Educational Goals and Learning Outcomes

A. General Education Goals

After completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1. Develop an informed understanding of the fundamental concepts in biological

sciences (G.E. 1)

2. Demonstrate the fundamentals of problem solving and critical thinking (G.E. 2)


Student goals for this course:

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demostrate basic laboratory techniques

2. Organize and analyze data in a comphrensive manner

3. Critque scientific papers

4. Apply biological concepts in meaningful ways

5. Develop oral and written communication skills


Course Resources



The author of our book is Robert Brooker and the title of the book is Biology: 3rd edition.   


Connect Plus:

Connect Plus is an assessment manager sponsored by McGraw-Hill publishers.  This site will host our interactive e-book and also will deliver all chapter-level homework assignments. 



McGraw-Hill’s Connect Plus is a web-based assignment and assessment solution required for this course. Connect Plus provides an interactive eBook and is designed to assist you with your coursework based on your needs. The Connect Plus eBook is optimized for the web and includes embedded video, as well as the ability to take notes and highlight the text. Connect Plus is a cost-saving solution for your required course materials.  



Connect Plus can be purchased online at our section’s Connect web address: http://connect.mcgraw-hill.com/class/academyfall2013.  Click on the register now button.  Please enter your Raritan Valley email address when prompted.  You will then be directed towards the registration page.  In the bottom right hand corner, you can register for a three week free trial to see if you like the e-book.  If so, you can purchase access on the registration page.  When you purchase Connect online, you will have the option of purchasing Connect or Connect Plus. The Connect Plus option, which includes the eBook, is the required textbook for this course.  



To register in Connect, please visit  and click “Register Now.” Remember to choose Connect Plus as your option.


Support & Tips

If you have any issues while registering or using Connect, please contact McGraw-Hill’s CARE team through http://www.mhhe.com/support. To avoid problems related to unexpected technical issues, you are advised not to wait until the last moment to complete assignments. Please review your “Student Quick Tips” for further support.


Course Wiki: 

This site will host our syllabus, chapter materials, and our lab manual.  It will also contain updated articles related to biology and biotechnology provided by Scientific American.


Mobile Videos and Discussion Board:

We have have our own place to share ideas and resources.  This site is called Edmodo.  This is where you will post questions and answers related to the recorded lectures.  They have their own app available in the Apple Store that is free.  In order to join the course, click here and register using your full name.


Lab Manual

The lab manual will be found online on this site.  You are not required to buy the lab manual from the bookstore. 


Learning Approach


Education and learning has used the same model for years.  The content expert (the instructor) stands in front of the room and disseminates knowledge which hopefully the student grasps.  The measurement of learning is typically done through the use of mid-terms and finals or take homework.     With advances in technology, there are other opportunities to engage and learn.  What if we flipped the classroom and used our time at home to learn and our in class time to assess, to problem solve.  This would allow both the student and instructor to garner better insight into areas of deficiency and address them in person, in real-time. 


This semester we will use our in-class time to complete our homework.  We will start at 8:20AM and work in groups to complete the daily assignment.  These assignments will include constructing concept maps, completing group exams, answering case studies and other assessment instruments.  These are all designed to help all of us diagnose misconceptions and address them together.  They will also challenge us to think critically about the material which is an essential skill for your future.


The success or failure of this approach is dependent on the time the student invests when not in class.  Your job is to prepare before coming to class by completing the assigned reading and viewing any associated lectures online to meet the supplied learning objectives.  You can also use widely available electronic resources to aid in your preparation.  If you do not prepare, your grade and, more importantly, your learning will suffer greatly.


These daily assignments account for 10 points.  The teams will be set throughout the semester.  If you don't prepare you will be letting not only yourself down, but also your team.  I will periodically discuss the group with members of the team.  If there are repeated issues with one individual, that person will have to work in isolation and lose out on the many benefits teamwork has to offer.


My role during class is to answer any questions or assist in clearing up a misconception.  This does not mean I provide the answer to the question, rather I will attempt to direct you to coming up with your own solution.


The lecture schedule below provides the dates of covered topics, suggested materials and learning objectives (LO).  Use these LO as a guide to study. 


Lecture Schedule 


General Grading Policies


1.  Pre-Class Homework:

Before each Wednesday class meeting we will have a LearnSmart module complete.  These assignments are worth 10 points each and can be found on the Connect System provided by the publisher.


2.  Pre-Class Discussion:

Prior to each Wednesday class, you will have a group discussion about the reading and lectures you viewed in preparation for Wednesday's class.  These groups will consist of two teams of three.   You will have a variety of tasks to complete by the due date:  

      1. a concept or concepts that is/are new or surprising to you.
      2. a concept or concept that you found confusing
      3. a concept that relates to previous concepts covered.
      4. a response to your other team members that attempts to define or explain the concept classmates found confusing.


Your efforts are worth 10 points, based on the following criteria:


Individual Grade:

(4 pts) Meaningful contribution.  Post shows original and in depth ideas.  The main idea is easily ascertained. (due by 5PM on Tuesday before class).

(4 pts) Provided good information to help a team teammate (due by 10PM on Tuesday before class).


Team Grade:

(2 pts) Team completed the assignment.  If one member does not complete the taks set forth, the entire team loses 1.5 points. Accuracy of the assignment.  Police each other.  If someone posts something that is incorrect, make sure to correct it before the assignment is due.  Make sure you are providing accurate information.


3.  In Class Assignments:  

Each lecture will be mainly a problem solving session with some instruction.  Each in class assignment is worth 15 points with the exception of case studies which are worth 25 points.  You are allowed one missed assignment (class a semester).  Any additional absences will result in a zero for that day.


4.  Exams

We will have two lecture exams this semester.  Each exam will be worth 150 points.  The final exam WILL NOT be cumulative.  These exams will last two hours each and will contain multiple choice, true false, matching, and may also include short answer questions as well.  Please come prepared with a #2 pencil for the Scantron portion of the exam.


Make-up exams will only be permitted under special circumstances, such as illness, death in the family, or holy observance.  You must inform the instructor BEFORE the exam of any absence to be eligible to make up the exam.  There is only one excused make-up exam per term.  Official documents like a doctor's note are required to be excused from an exam.  If you are late to the exam, you may not take the exam if someone has finished and left the room, no exceptions.


5. Laboratory 



Summary of Grading

1.  Pre-Class Homework 120
2. Discussion Boards 120
3.  In Class Assignments
4.  Case Studies 300
5.  Exams (2) (150 pts each)
6.  Laboratory (12)



Grade     Points
> 90%
Very Good
Between satisfactory and good
Lowest Passing Grade
< 60%


Important College Information

a. Reasonable Accommodation:  Students with disabilities who require accommodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course MUST provide documentation of accommodations from the RVCC office of Disability Services, C143. No accommodations will be made without this documentation.


b. Class attendance:  Students are expected to attend all classes for every course in which they are enrolled. To accommodate students’ reasonable, personal situations that might prevent them from attending classes, each student is entitled to excused absences amounting to the equivalent of one week’s class time in a semester. Absences in excess of this standard are handled individually by each faculty member. A student with absences amounting to one-fifth or more of the term’s lecture or laboratory classes may be recommended to withdraw from the course.


c. Withdrawal from courses:  Students may withdraw from courses following procedures specified by the Office of Enrollment Services and in compliance with published deadlines.  Students who cease attending classes and do not request an official withdrawal will receive a failing grade (F) for the course.


d. Academic Honesty:  Cheating will not be tolerated. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Anyone caught cheating will automatically receive an F in the class.  See the RVCC Student Handbook (Rules and Regulations section).


Chapter 4

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