Discussions in Biology

Course Details

Course Number: BIOL 5001  Section Number: 170

Fall 2012

Location: Bolin Hall

Classroom Number: 212

Days & Times:

M 5:30 - 6:20 PM

Course Attachments

BIOL5001FALL12SYLLABUS  BIOL5001FALL12-20120821-151621.pdf


MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Michael M. Shipley   
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Course Objectives

1. Provide a forum for discussion and evaluation of peer-reviewed research journal publications and review articles on topics in biology.

2. Provide students with an opportunity to express themselves orally by preparing and performing a seminar presentation as would be expected at professional meetings. This will prepare the student in proper scientific communication with an audience of their peers in both formal and informal settings.

3. To allow an exploration on current topics in biology.

Course Expectations

A.  Lead a group discussion of a paper assigned to you. Each student will facilitate a round-table discussion of a particular paper provided by the instructor. All students will be given a copy of the paper to read in advance.

B. Present the background and results of a paper of your choosing.  The presentation should be 15-17 minutes in length and should utilize overhead transparencies, slides, or PowerPoint. It should be based on an approved journal article from any area of biology, and the journal article should be within the last three years (no earlier than 2007). The presentation should address:

                                                A. Background on the topic of the research article

                                                B. Hypothesis/Problem addressed in the research article

C. Summary of procedures used

D. Results of the research

                                                E. Conclusions drawn from the research

F. Critique of the work

                                                           1. Was the hypothesis/problem studied and answered?

                                                           2. Were methods appropriate for the study?

                                                           3. Were appropriate conclusions drawn?

                                                           4. What other work would you suggest be done?


Ten minutes will be given to answer questions concerning your topic from those in attendance at the conclusion of your presentation. A general class discussion of the research will be appropriate during this time. Provide a reprint of the journal article to  everyone in the course THE WEEK BEFORE YOUR PRESENTATION DAY.

Each student will read each article prior to the presentation and should ask at least one question to the presenter about the article or topic after the presentation has been made.

C. Construct a presentation announcement page to be posted in Bolin Science Hall. Be creative! The idea is not only to announce your presentation, but to encourage people to come and hear what you have to say about the topic. Make sure to include:

                 Presentation Title, Your Name, Presentation Time and Date, Building

                 Name and Room Number.

The announcement page should be approved by the instructor and turned in ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR PRESENTATION so that copies can be made and posted several days before your presentation.

     NO RECYCLED PRESENTATIONS! Your presentation should be one that you have             prepared specifically for this class.

            D.  Evaluate all of your fellow classmates’ presentations.

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Seven points of the attendance grade will be deducted for each absence.

Seven points will be deducted if no question is asked of the student presenter.

Other Policies

Grade Determination:


Discussion  leader (grade by instructor)         -             35%

Seminar presentation  (half of grade by instructor and half by fellow students)          -            35%

Seminar announcement (quality)           -            10%

Attendance/Questions asked                      -            20%


Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.