Introduction to Biology

Course Details

Course Number: 1103  Section Number: 11A

Fall 2014

Location: Bolin Hall

Classroom Number: 214

Days & Times:

Lab meets M 1-3 and must be taken concurrently with Introduction to Biology Lecture



Course Attachments

Introduction to Biology Lab Syllabus  BIOL1103 Laboratory Syllabus F2014-20140821-104406.docx

Introduction to Biology Lab Schedule  BIOL1103 Laboratory Schedule F2014-20140821-104424.docx

Textbooks

MSU Faculty Member
Elizabeth Ann Machunis-Masuoka PhD   
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Course Objectives

Laboratory Objectives

  1. To provide introductory-level biology students (non-majors) with an understanding of the experimental side of biology. Students will perform pre-planned exercises and will use the scientific method to design, conduct, and present the results of their own mini-research projects.
  2. To assess student abilities with respect to 4 Core Objectives: critical thinking (assessed through lab reports and mini-research projects); communication skills (assessed through lab reports and oral and visual presentation of research projects); empirical and quantitative skills (assessed through the ability to perform metric conversions, measurements and calculations); and teamwork (assessed through the mini-research projects, which will be group projects).

 


Course Expectations

General Lab Rules and Expectations

  1. Students are expected to show up on time for their scheduled lab, attend every lab period, and to prepare for and participate in each lab exercise.
  2. Students are expected to have read all laboratory materials before coming and to be prepared to perform the scheduled labs in a safe and timely manner. Failure to prepare for the lab will make the lab harder and longer. You will be tested on both the material in the lab manual and on the skills you learn performing the labs; it is therefore in your best interest to treat the lab seriously.
  3. Students are expected to complete all laboratory activities, including answering the questions in the lab manual, prior to leaving the lab. TAs will initial the lab as complete and record completions as part of your participation grade. Failure to complete the labs because of willful negligence will result in a loss of participation points.
  4. All students in a group are expected to participate in the lab and even if you divvy up the work, all students will be expected to know all parts of the lab. Lab is designed to provide hands-on experience, so you must get your hands into the experiment. Everyone needs to be able to use the microscopes; everyone needs to touch the organisms; no one can sit on the side and do nothing. If you refuse to participate you will lose points and your grade will be much lower than students who do participate.
  5. Students are expected to follow all safety rules while in the laboratory and are expected to sign the Laboratory Safety Contract provided to them during the first lab meeting.
  6. Students are expected to stay for the entire lab period, if necessary, so do not plan your schedule in such a way as to try and skim time out of lab.
  7. Students are expected to follow the MSU honor policy: do not cheat or copy anyone else’s work (quizzes, exams, lab questions/tables/pictures/graphs, lab reports, etc.). So long as each member of a group is equally participating, you may share information amongst yourselves, but ONLY so long as everyone works. Any student caught cheating on any assignment will receive a failing grade for that lab assignment. Consistent cheating will result in a failing grade for the lab portion of the course.

 


Grading Standards

Lab Grades

The laboratory counts as 25% of your final overall course grade for BIOL1103. Lab grades will be based on points distributed as follows:

            Quizzes (10 quizzes @ 10 points each; top 9 scores count):    90 points

            First Midterm                                                                           100 points

            Lab Final (Second Midterm)                                                    100 points

            Lab Report Draft                                                                     25 points

            Lab Report Final Copy                                                                        50 points

            Mini-Research Project Poster and Presentation                                    100 points

            Participation                                                                             35 points

            Total Points Possible:                                                             500 points

Your overall percentage out of the total possible will be reported to the lecture instructor (Dr. Little) for incorporation into your final grade calculation. All grading questions for the lab should come to me.

 


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.

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

Attendance

Attendance of the BIOL1103 laboratory is required. Our general policy is that any student with 3 or more absences in the laboratory receives a failing grade for the laboratory. Excused lab absences must be for dire situations or because of university sanctioned events and any make-ups of missed material will be at my discretion. It is your responsibility to notify me of the reason for your absence and to provide documentation for that absence. Excused absences must be accompanied by written verification of the reason for the absence that is written and signed on official letterhead (e.g., a doctor’s note on clinic letterhead/clinic absence form). Without documentation, the absence is un-excused. Un-excused absences will not be eligible for make-ups.

 

Excusable reasons for missing lab include 1) Extreme and verifiable illness (colds and elective procedures don’t count and you must have a doctor’s note verifying you could not come the actual day of your lab); 2) Accident or injury (must present verification, e.g., tow slip, emergency room documentation); 3) MSU sanctioned event (you must be an active participant, not support staff, and you must provide official documentation of participation); and 4) Extreme family emergency (e.g., funeral the day of lab; must show proof; immediate family only – best friends, great aunts, etc. don’t count).

 

Inexcusable reasons for missing lab include: 1) Scheduling doctor/dentist, therapy or other appointments to coincide with lab (possible exception: court dates); 2) Forgetting you have lab, sleeping in, missing the bus, etc.; 3) Weather (if MSU is open, then you must be here); 4) Failure to obtain babysitter or caregiver; and 5) Work schedule conflicts.

 


Other Policies

Quizzes and Exams

Quizzes will be given at the beginning of each lab period beginning the third week of the semester and occurring every lab period except for days on which a midterm is given (10 quizzes in all). The lowest quiz score will be dropped. Quizzes will cover material from the previous lab and from the lab that will be worked on that day. Students who come in late will not be allowed to take the quiz and will receive a zero.

 

Two exams will be given. The First Midterm will cover the first 9 lab exercises, while the Lab Final (Second Midterm) will cover the last 7 lab exercises. Each midterm will be worth 100 points and will consist of a combination of written questions and stations (e.g., a microscope set up with a slide about which you must answer certain questions). Questions may ask you to identify things, perform calculations, analyze sample data or answer general questions about the labs performed. You should take good notes as each exercise is performed to prepare for these exams. Students must take the exam on their scheduled lab day – there will be no make-ups.

 

Lab Reports

Exercise #1 in the Lab Manual will be used as the basis for a lab report used to assess your ability to present information in written format. You will perform the experiments, collect individual and class data, and then present the results and conclusions in a rough draft you will turn in to your TA (see Lab Report handout). Your TA will provide feedback on the report and hand it back to you to re-write. You will then turn your re-written report back in for a final grade. All lab reports, and all parts of all reports, must be computer generated (typed and with computer rendered tables and graphs). If you do not know how to use Microsoft Word or Excel, please seek help from your TA/instructor.

 


 

Mini-Research Projects

With your lab partners, you will design and perform a mini-research project over the course of the semester and then present a poster to the class that describes what you did and what it means (see Mini-Research Project handout). This project is not optional and cannot be done individually as part of the grade is to see how well you work together as teams.

 

General Lab Rules and Expectations

  1. Students are expected to show up on time for their scheduled lab, attend every lab period, and to prepare for and participate in each lab exercise.
  2. Students are expected to have read all laboratory materials before coming and to be prepared to perform the scheduled labs in a safe and timely manner. Failure to prepare for the lab will make the lab harder and longer. You will be tested on both the material in the lab manual and on the skills you learn performing the labs; it is therefore in your best interest to treat the lab seriously.
  3. Students are expected to complete all laboratory activities, including answering the questions in the lab manual, prior to leaving the lab. TAs will initial the lab as complete and record completions as part of your participation grade. Failure to complete the labs because of willful negligence will result in a loss of participation points.
  4. All students in a group are expected to participate in the lab and even if you divvy up the work, all students will be expected to know all parts of the lab. Lab is designed to provide hands-on experience, so you must get your hands into the experiment. Everyone needs to be able to use the microscopes; everyone needs to touch the organisms; no one can sit on the side and do nothing. If you refuse to participate you will lose points and your grade will be much lower than students who do participate.
  5. Students are expected to follow all safety rules while in the laboratory and are expected to sign the Laboratory Safety Contract provided to them during the first lab meeting.
  6. Students are expected to stay for the entire lab period, if necessary, so do not plan your schedule in such a way as to try and skim time out of lab.
  7. Students are expected to follow the MSU honor policy: do not cheat or copy anyone else’s work (quizzes, exams, lab questions/tables/pictures/graphs, lab reports, etc.). So long as each member of a group is equally participating, you may share information amongst yourselves, but ONLY so long as everyone works. Any student caught cheating on any assignment will receive a failing grade for that lab assignment. Consistent cheating will result in a failing grade for the lab portion of the course.

 

Cell Phones

Unless you have received explicit permission to use your phone during a given lab session, all cell phones are to be turned off or silenced for the duration of the lab. You may NOT make or receive phone calls during the lab period NOR send or receive texts. Occasional exceptions may be made in extenuating circumstances so long as you have received permission first. If you are allowed to use your phone during the lab session, it MUST be for scientific purposes only. This will be monitored. Breaking the rules will result in confiscation of your phone for the remainder of the lab period.

 

Additional Information

Please see the MSU handbook and MSU Portal for additional information on university policies regarding attendance, behavior, disability services, and student responsibilities and rights. By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a limited right to all materials produced by the student for the purpose of determining authenticity and for educational purposes.


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.