|Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology (BIOL121) - Dr. S.G. Saupe (firstname.lastname@example.org); Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321|
An Introduction to
Cell & Molecular Biology
|Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.||(call me Steve, Dr. Saupe, or whatever feels most comfortable to you)|
|Office Hours:||available via web site|
|Section Home Page:|
COURSE DESCRIPTION/OBJECTIVES: Welcome to Biology 121! Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology is designed to create a foundation for study in the life sciences by introducing students to the biology of the cell, classical genetics and molecular genetics. The goal for this course is not only for you to become familiar with life at the cellular level, but the means by which it is investigated as well. Some outcomes of this familiarity will be an understanding of the:
cell theory and the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
structure and function of the major organelles of eukaryotic cells.
structure and function of cell membranes.
basic structure and function of the four major types of biological molecules
importance of energy transformations and the role of enzymes in metabolic pathways.
processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis
cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis.
principles of Mendelian inheritance.
molecular basis of inheritance:
mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription and translation.
control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
In lab you will gain hands on experience with a diversity of biological systems: from DNA and enzymes to spinach chloroplasts and jewel wasps. While investigating these systems you will become familiar with a variety of technical skills such as microscopy, spectrophotometry, polymerase chain reaction and aseptic technique and you will also gain an understanding of how scientists communicate with each other using descriptive statistics, graphs and tables, scientific figures and written lab reports.
COURSE THEMES: This course will focus on biological chemistry, energetics (enzymes, photosynthesis, respiration) and genetics (Mendelian and molecular). Evolution and the integration of the form and function will be two major themes running through our discussions.
AUDIENCE: This course is the first of a three-semester introductory biology sequence. This course is required for students majoring in biology. This course also fulfills the Core guidelines for Natural Science for non-science majors.
CLASS TIME/PLACE: This class meets even days (2-4-6) from 9:40 - 10:50 am in PENGL 325. You must also attend a laboratory session once per cycle that you have separately scheduled.
COURSE STRUCTURE/FORMAT: Your success as a student in this course will require regular attendance, careful note taking and mastery of the textbook material through careful study. You will meet for a 70-minute lecture period every other day. Since the labs are smaller than the lectures, you will probably attend another lab section than most of the people in your lecture. Labs are taught by professors and student Teaching Assistants, and meet once every cycle (including cycles 1 and 12). Lab attendance in your lab section is mandatory. The time scheduled for each lab is 2 hours and 50 minutes, but occasionally you may need to stay longer to complete assigned work, or come in outside of the regularly scheduled time to check on the progress of an experiment.
DAILY CLASS FORMAT:
"Fine and dandy! Why shouldn't I be?"
"I am super good, and getting better!"
"I am fantastic, and improving by the second!"
"I am terrific, you better believe it!" (while saying this thrust your finger towards the instructor)
Or, other greeting selected by the class leader
Review the previous class material (definitions, summary, quizzes, etc.)
Introduce new material (lecture, dialogs, videos, slides, etc.)
Practice & drill new material (exercises, quizzes, etc.)
Cool Down - review class activities
End of Class - please do not pack up to leave until we show our mutual respect for one another. I will close by saying, "Thanks - that ends another incredible day of biology." The class responds by saying, "Ditto, dude!" Or, the class leader selects a different closing.
CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE: The following is a list of suggestions to make our classroom experience as enjoyable and productive as possible for all of us:
REVIEW SESSIONS/STUDY TIPS: There will be a review/tutor session held every cycle.
sessions are optional, but students who earn less than 75% on exams should certainly
plant to attend. There are many ways to effectively study for this course
(check out some Study
Tips I prepared). In short, your best strategies for doing well on
exams are to: (1) take copious notes in class; (2) keep up with class
proceedings; and (3) attend review sessions. Also, be sure to check out and use the CD-ROM
and/or text book website. If you
ever need assistance or have
questions, please come and see me.
EVALUATION: Grades will be determined on the basis of your performance on:
1. Lecture Exams (68%) - there will be four exams. The first three exams are each worth 16% of your final grade. The fourth (and final) exam is worth 20% of your final grade (it is worth more than the others because it has a significant, 20%, comprehensive component). The exams will be a mixture of subjective (i.e., short answer, definition) and objective (e.g., multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank) questions. Exam questions may be taken directly from homework assignments and material that we cover in class. In fact, anything that we do in class is "fair game" for an exam.
2. Laboratory Work (25%) - Your laboratory instructor will submit at the end of the semester a grade (from 0 - 100) that reflects your performance in lab. Please note that this grade is worth one-quarter (25%) of your final grade in the course! Take lab very seriously - it can make or break your grade.
3. Class Leader (2%) - Once during the semester you will be assigned to be our "Class Leader". On this day it is your responsibility to:
4. Assignments/Class Participation (5%) - This component of your final grade will reflect your performance on assignments. Typically there will be one formal assignment in every unit.
GRADE ASSIGNMENT: Grades will be assigned based upon the percentage of total points accumulated according to the following scale: 100 - 90% = A; 89 - 87% = AB; 86 - 82% = B; 81 - 79% = BC; 78 - 72% = C; 71- 69% = CD; 68 - 60% = D; below 59% = F
Getting good grades is very important. Work hard and you will succeed! Remember, review sessions are your secret weapon for success!
Good achievement on exams will be recognized by stars on your exams (gold = top score; silver = 2nd highest, red = 3rd, green = 4th, blue = 5th). We will applaud when the name of the student earning the top score on the exam is announced. Gold stars will also be given to the lowest grades in the class in recognition that the course is not easy and that we appreciate the hard efforts that everyone is making to succeed in the course.
To determine your approximate grade at any time during the semester, simply divide the total number of points you have accumulated by the total possible. This information will always be provided. In addition, I will periodically provide you with a grade report. You should check this report for accuracy and to give you an indication of your progress. Keep all of your graded work, including lab work, for your records.
Never hesitate to come and talk to me about your grade, or any aspect of the course, at any time during the semester!
S/U grading is NOT available for this course; students who are not science majors should please heed this warning.
APPEALS: You have the option of appealing the grading you've received on any assignment or exam question. To do so, type on a separate sheet of paper your rationale for why you should receive credit for the question. Be sure to frame your argument carefully and concisely. Turn in your typed appeal and the exam or assignment to me before the next exam - no appeal will be accepted after the date of the subsequent exam (or within one week of returning an assignment). Please note that if I have made any errors in grading your exams (i.e., incorrectly counted up points, mis-marked a question) please see me immediately and I will correct the error without the need for an appeal.
COURSE INSTRUCTORS: Biology 121 has more than 10 lecture sections and 20 laboratory sections. If questions or problems arise do not hesitate to contact me, the instructor of your laboratory, or the course coordinator. We are always willing to talk with you and, if possible, assist you with your concern. We wish you a successful and exciting semester! The instructors for this course are:
Ms. Carol Jansky
Dr. Bill Lamberts
Dr. Ellen Jensen
Dr. Michael Reagan
Dr. Cheryl Knox
Dr. Charles Rodell
Dr. Jeanne Marie Lust, O.S.B.
Dr. Stephen Saupe
Dr. Barbara May
Dr. Shawn Thomas
Dr. Phil Chu
Dr. Marcus Webster
Dr. Kristina Timmerman
Lecture and lab
BONUS WORK: You will have the opportunity to earn bonus points by attending lectures, analyzing journal articles, participating in formal nature walks, or even reporting on science-related television programs. If it is "scientific" and can be reasonably considered to pertain to our course you can earn bonus points for participating in the activity. Print a "Bio-Bonus Form," follow the directions, and then turn it in to me following the activity. Cards are due no later than Study Day. As a rule of thumb, more than 20 bonus points will have little impact on your final grade.
HOW MUCH TO STUDY? As a general rule of thumb, you should study at least 2 hours for every hour in class. Thus, at a minimum you should be studying at least six hours per cycle for lecture exams. Note that this doesn't include lab work or completing assignments. Imagine that you are an academic athlete working on the mental practice field.
HOW TO STUDY? I recommend reading the chapter before class. I would read it quickly to get an overview of what will happen in class. At a bare minimum, read the summary at the end of the chapter. Then, go to class and get good notes. Heaps of notes. If your hand isnít sore at the end of class, you havenít taken enough notes. The main reason to take lots of notes is because I write the tests directly from my class notes, which in turn are based on the chapters with my own additions/interpretations. I prepare my notes from the material in the textbook, but there is lots of stuff in the book that we donít cover. I would use the text as a reference to help improve my understanding of class material, to add other examples, etc. What we cover in class is what you need to know for the exam. So, if you study one thing Ė study the class notes. Thus, taking good notes is one of the best things that you can do to help insure a good grade. Do not sit and listen and assume that you will remember what went on; write it down! As a rule-of-thumb, if you don't have a verbatim written transcript of each day's class, then you haven't taken enough notes. If you can't write fast enough to copy everything down, consider bringing a tape recorder to class. After class, I would then open my notebook and go to the textbook and read the pertinent sections that are related to the topics discussed. Sometimes you may have to read more than just the specific pages to put things into perspective. I would take notes from the textbook into my lecture notes. Perhaps it may be necessary to rewrite another summary set of notes. Then, once youíve done this itís time to study. Ask yourself if you understand everything that you see in your notes. Quiz yourself by taking the online quizzes or checking out my study guides or the questions at the end of the chapter or preparing a concept map for every topic. For each class period you should probably be spending at least two hours outside of class studying.
THREE-RING BINDERS: I recommend the use of a 3-ring binder for your course materials and notes. All class handouts will be punched with three holes to make it easier to put in a binder. In my experience, students with organized notebooks perform better in the course than those with messy ones.
PERSONAL FILE, REFERENCES and CUBBY: You will have a file folder in a file in the Botany Lab, SC 342. You may use it to store papers/notes/etc. In addition, I will place in this file any assignments not returned to you personally, extra copies (if any) of handouts, and course readings. When in doubt or need, check here.
HONOR CODE: I run this class on the honor code system; in other words, I trust you to do your own work at all times. Cheating, plagiarism and other dishonest acts will not be tolerated. If you violate my trust, the consequences will be severe. If you have even the slightest doubt that an activity violates the Honor Code - don't do it. Violations of academic integrity will be dealt with according to the procedures outlined on pages 24-25 of the 2005-2007 Academic Catalog.
ATTENDANCE: Each class I will pass around an attendance sheet to sign/initial. To reward you for your attendance you will receive a nifty sticker. You will not be directly penalized for missing class, but remember that being absent does not excuse you from completing assignments on time (i.e., turning in any that are due and getting the assignment for the next class). In general, you will not be able to make up anything missed in lecture or lab.
EMAIL: I typically check and respond to email first thing in the morning (between 8 & 9:00 am) and then again before I leave in the evening (usually about 5:30 pm). If you send an email after about 400 pm I will not see it nor respond to it until the following day because I do not check email after leaving my office. Please plan accordingly.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS: In some ways, this may be the most difficult course in the biology curriculum because (a) it is the first college-level biology course that most students take and (b) it is taught differently (faster, more material, more emphasis on understanding rather than memorization) than the typical high school biology class. In fact, doing well in high school is no guarantee for success in this course. I don't say this to scare you; rather, to encourage you to work to your full potential. If you study, you will succeed. There are some simple things that you can do to help insure success in the course including: taking copious notes, studying about two hours per class, reading the text, attending review sessions, and answering as many biology questions as possible. For more tips, check out the "Study Tips" I wrote.
I also encourage you to get involved in your own learning by: (1) becoming active in various campus clubs and organizations (e.g., Biology Club, Allied Health Club, Chem Club); (2) seeking out a faculty member(s) who can be a mentor, advisor, friend; (3) taking advantage of advising/counseling services offered on campus; (4) visiting the Career Resource office; (5) completing at least one independent study/internship/research experience during your academic career; (6) reading outside of class (e.g., magazines, newspapers, journals); and (7) getting involved in activities that relate to your area of interest (e.g., Arboretum, maple syrup).
VISITORS: Visitors to our classroom are welcome. Please introduce your visitors to me. They should plan to participate (as best they can) in class activities.
LATE ASSIGNMENTS: I expect that assignments will be turned in on time. I reserve the right to accept/refuse late assignments and determine the point penalty for its lateness.
PRIDE: I believe that the appearance of an assignment is a reflection of the quality of the work and the degree of respect it deserves. Thus, for your benefit I require that: (1) Written assignments must be typed. There will be many obvious exceptions. For example, any assignments completed in a worksheet need not be typed. If in question about whether an assignment should be typed, please ask. Assignments not typed will be penalized 50% of the total possible points; (2) Assignments with multiple pages must be stapled. Any assignment that is not stapled will automatically loose 2 points. Please note that I have a stapler available with me in every class; (3) Frayed edges - any assignment turned in on paper with frayed edges ripped out of a spiral bound notebook will automatically loose 2 points. If you use a spiral notebook that's fine - simply remove the edges before turning in the assignment.
COURSE PHILOSOPHY: I think that learning should be enjoyable. Hopefully we will laugh together and have fun. Stamps, stars and stickers will adorn some of your graded assignments. "Biological" music will greet you when you arrive in class. This is all done in good fun, to make our learning environment more pleasant. Yet, we will always be respectful of one another. Some students in the past have commented that they think some of what we'll do is "childish." I hope so because I want to generate some of the fun and enthusiasm that children have for learning. But remember, even though we may be silly and have fun, I am still very serious about the goals of our course. For more on my teaching philosophy, check out an essay I wrote, "Statement of Teaching Philosophy."
COMPUTER LITERACY: Every biologist should be familiar with word-processing (i.e., WordPerfect, Word), database (i.e., Access), and spreadsheet (i.e., Excel, Word, Access) software. Computing Services offers many interesting workshops that you should consider if you need to improve your computing skills.
Last updated: July 14, 2009 © Copyright by SG Saupe