Seminar in Biology

Course Details

Course Number: BIOL 4001  Section Number: 202

Spring 2014

Location: Bolin Hall

Classroom Number: 320

Days & Times:

F 12-1PM

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Jon B. Scales   
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Course Objectives

Philosophy: The purposes of this seminar class are to:

  1. Provide students with an opportunity to express themselves orally by preparing and presenting a seminar presentation such as would be expected at professional meetings and conventions. Seminar should help the student prepare to communicate with an audience of peers both formally and informally.
  2. Provide a forum for discussion and evaluation of peer-reviewed research journal publications on current topics.
  3. 3. Examine basic concepts and current topics in biology.
  4. 4. Assess competency of biology graduating seniors in the use of microscopes.
  5. 5. Assess ability of biology graduating seniors to generate, understand, and correctly interpret data that are presented in tabular and graphical formats.
  6. 6. Assess ability of biology graduating seniors to critically and effectively read and evaluate professional literature.
  7. 7. Assess proficiency in biology via the comprehensive Major Field Test in Biology.

If this looks like shit on here, it's because this dumbass program doesn't let one cut and paste from a normal word document.  What a waste of time. 

Course Expectations

Students enrolled in seminar are expected to: 1. Prepare a written evaluation of a peer-reviewed, primary research article. 2. Give a 15 minute presentation based on a peer-reviewed, primary research article. 3. Peer evaluate presentations. 4. Demonstrate competency in microscope use 5. Demonstrate ability to interpret data presented in tabular and graphical formats 6. Demonstrate mastery of biological concepts and facts

Grading Standards

Course Grading:   


Oral presentation                             150 points

Peer evaluations & questions                        30 points

Reprint distribution                                       20 points

200 points

Oral presentation (including attendance)                          60%

Microscope proficiency exam                                                     10%

Graphs/Tables proficiency exam                                                 10%

Written exercise on reading & evaluating literature          10%

Major Field Test in Biology                                             10%

Submission Format PolicyNote: 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

no late material is accepted

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

mandatory at all course meetings

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, or call 397-4131.