Syllabus

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Course Learning Outcomes
Course Approach
Success in This Course
Course Materials
Assignments
Exams
Grading
Getting Help

Course Learning Outcomes

Understand and be able to use the scientific method:

  1. Think critically about the purposes and objectives of scientific studies and data
  2. Become observant of and curious about patterns and processes in living things
  3. Ask essential, specific, answerable questions about observations
  4. Form hypotheses about biological patterns and processes that are testable

Understand well the following foundational concepts:

  1. Cell theory and biological compartments
  2. Chemistry of life (biochemical unity, central dogma)
  3. Bioenergetics (biotransformation of energy)
  4. Reproduction (fission, mitosis, meiosis, etc.)
  5. Evolutionary theory

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Course Approach

Some things about the relationship between you, me, and the TAs:

Don’t allow yourself an entitlement mentality.

A quote to ponder:

All our educational pursuits are in the service of God, for all these labors are to establish truth on the earth, and that we may increase in knowledge, wisdom, understanding in the power of faith and in the wisdom of God, that we may become fit subjects to dwell in a higher state of existence and intelligence than we now enjoy.

(From “Remarks by President Brigham Young” [6 October 1870], Deseret News, Semi-Weekly, 25 October 1870, 2; quoted in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997], 317.)

And a spiritual thought:

The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion, yea and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. (Alma 30:44)

I hope that, as a student throughout this course, you will find that the topics covered in this class “denote there is a God.”

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Success in This Course

Now, let’s talk about how to succeed in this course.

10 Important Points on Learning

From D. F. Halpern and M. D. Hakel. Applying the science of learning to the university and beyond. Change. July/August 2003, 38–41.

  1. The single most important variable . . . is “practice at retrieval.”
  2. Varying the conditions under which learning takes place makes learning harder for learners but results in better learning.
  3. Learning is generally enhanced when learners . . . take information that is presented in one format and “re-represent” it in an alternative format.
  4. What and how much is learned in any situation depends heavily on prior knowledge and experience.
  5. Learning is influenced by both our students’ and our own epistemologies.
  6. Experience alone is a poor teacher.
  7. Lectures work well for learning assessed with recognition tests, but work badly for understanding.
  8. The act of remembering itself influences what learners will and will not remember in the future.
  9. Less is more, especially when we think about long-term retention and transfer.
  10. What learners do determines what and how much is learned, how well it will be remembered, and the conditions under which it will be recalled.

Pop Quiz!

Take 30 seconds and ask yourself, “How many of the ten important points that my instructor just made do I remember?”

In an online course, you probably don’t have someone sitting next to you to practice this. You can imagine, however, that if you did, you would both be able to remember more of the tips on learning.

Note: You will not be tested on these learning strategies. This exercise is meant to help you understand that learning is generally more effective if we rehearse the information, ideally with another person (or two).

Elaborate Questioning

What is the most important aspect to be emphasized in science education? Not just reading the text, or even rereading it. Just rereading the text doesn’t significantly change students’ abilities to perform on multiple-choice or application questions. In fact, reading the text three times won't improve your test score significantly over reading it once.

“Elaborate questioning,” on the other hand, can markedly improve your assignment and exam scores. That means reading texts critically, really dissecting the information, instead of just staring at a page.

It also helps to find someone else to study with, so you can explain to each other—or even someone who will listen and ask you questions as you explain what you’re learning.

Counsel from a Prophet

In academic preparation, I found it a good practice to read a text with the idea that I would be asked to explain that which the author wrote and its application to the subject it covered. Also, I tried to be attentive in any lecture in the classroom and to pretend that I would be called upon to present the same lecture to others. While this practice is very hard work, it certainly helps during test week!

Thomas S. Monson. “Three Gates to Open.” BYU Devotional Address, 14 November, 2006.

That’s it for how to succeed academically. Now let's talk about the details of the course!

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Course Materials

You will need to buy these materials to complete the course:

Important: Follow the directions in the tab “Getting Set Up in Connect” to purchase your book and access code. The homework assignments and LearnSmart activities are required, so you will definitely need to buy the access code!

The course you will use is PDBio 120 IS 2017-18.

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Assignments

Pre- and Post-Assessment Quizzes

The pre-assessment (first) and post-assessment (last) survey quizzes cover the learning outcomes listed in the syllabus and lessons.

These assessments do not count for very much towards your grade, but they are very helpful for showing how much you knew before you took the course, and how much you have learned after completing it.

These assessments are in unit 1 and unit 6 and you must complete them before you take the final exam.

LearnSmart Activities and Quizzes

In order to provide context for the material, you will be expected to complete a reading assignment for each lesson and complete reading quizzes and LearnSmart activities. LearnSmart activities and quizzes are open book, and available only on the Connect website for the course. You will find them within the appropriate Unit. Your grade for these will be transfered to your Independent Study course at the end of unit 6.

Recitation Quizzes

There will be a recitation quiz that you will take after viewing each of the 8 recitations. Each quiz is worth 3 points. If you paid attention to the recitation, these questions will not be difficult.

Summaries

Ten times during the course, you will prepare a one-page (about 500 words) summary of the material covered since the start of the unit or since the last summary (for example, summary 1 will cover all of units 1 and 2). Credit will be based on completion. However, silly entries will not be given credit. What you are writing is ultimately more important than your grammar. Nonetheless, this is a good time to practice writing that is grammatically correct.

As you prepare to write your summary, you will find it helpful to review the slideshow presentations and the reading assignments. Keep in mind, your work should be in your own words.

The study of the nature and acquisition of scientific knowledge can be termed the epistemology of science. In teaching this course, I have found that students often misunderstand the epistemology of science. They may understand how to formulate and test a hypothesis, but they don’t appreciate the processes and skills required to be critical thinkers in science. In my experience, there is also a lack of appreciation for how the writing process influences the epistemology of science. We will explore two key processes, one professional and the other academic, that are used to acquire scientific knowledge. A skill set is required for each process to work. The professional process complements the academic process. It will become apparent how writing is an integral part of each process.

The professional process includes the following steps:

  1. After reviewing a broad background of information an investigator asks a question.
  2. The question suggests a protocol to answer the question.
  3. Data are collected according to the protocol.
  4. Draw a conclusion based upon the data.
  5. Develop a new concept from the conclusion.
  6. Publish the data and associated concept in scientific literature.

This process requires learned skills to flow properly. Background information must be studied to formulate a testable question. Formulation of a good question is the first learned skill required. A poor question always leads to a flawed experiment. Design and execution of a good experiment is the second learned skill. Inadequate design may generate unusable data. A lack of laboratory skill can also hinder execution of an experiment.

Interpretation of data is the next learned skill applied to the process. This often includes statistics or some other manipulation of data. Higher order thinking skills that come only from practice will be employed to draw a conclusion. After examination by a number of peers a new scientific concept may be formulated. Therefore, it is incumbent to publish work so that it may become available to the community. It is generally the pattern that the conclusions that can be drawn from an experiment become apparent as the scientist puts together his or her thoughts while developing a scientific manuscript. Thus, writing is an essential component in the epistemology of science.

An academic process mirrors the professional process just described. As a member of this class you are directly involved in this academic process. The process is:

  1. Scientific texts containing concepts are utilized by a university.
  2. A student reads the text.
  3. From the reading assignments the student acquires certain facts and concepts.
  4. These facts and concepts become the basis of a framework of understanding.
  5. During an exam the student recalls facts, analyzes data, and draws conclusions.
  6. The student thinks critically while taking the exam.

You will find that to be a successful student you will not go through this process as much as you will enable it to go through you. By that I mean that to be successful in this class, you will not just check off the steps in the process but rather become proficient at each step. Just as in the professional process, in the academic one a set of skills needs to be mastered for it to work. The critical reading of the text is the first learned skill and includes taking notes while reading to aid in the comprehension and retention of material. A working knowledge of facts, the next learned skill, leads to the development of concepts. 

This can be greatly facilitated by discussing, drawing and writing conclusions of the material you have read. Formulation of a framework of understanding results from identifying the logical interrelationship of concepts. This skill is developed only by discussing and writing about the material. Combining discussing and writing elevates the student to the level of being a critical thinker—a high order academic skill. So find someone to talk to, to explain the concepts you are learning.

When a student understands the professional process and skills required to generate scientific literature they will be better prepared to develop high order academic skills. Such students end up being the best performers in the class. Therefore, we will use writing as one tool to help you better understand the material covered in this class.

Zion Classroom Model

The Lord has defined Zion as a people in which there are no poor (see Moses 7: 18). We typically think of the word poor as relating to financial well-being. However, in the context of Zion, it can refer to spiritual, emotional, intellectual as well as physical needs. In the strongest language possible, I urge you to form a group of classmates who will enter into a Zion society in which there will be no intellectual poor. You are encouraged to do LearnSmart, homework, and summaries together as a group.

Discussion Boards

You will have the opportunity to participate in 6 discussion boards, and they will count for 5 points each as part of your grade. The instructions and topic for each discussion board occur with the assignment. Participation in the discussion boards is mandatory, as is courtesy. We want them to be interesting and pleasant experiences for everyone.

Homework Score Transfer Request Assignment

When you have completed all of the assignments in Connect and you are satisfied with your score, you will need to have your score posted to your course gradebook before you will be able to take the final exam.

To have your score posted, complete the Homework Score Transfer Request assignment at the end of unit 6. For this assignment, you will need to provide your name as it appears in Connect, your email address, and your BYU Net ID. The score you get for this assignment will be your grade for the Connect components of this course.

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Exams

You will take four midcourse exams, each covering the material in the associated unit. The final exam will be comprehensive (covering the whole course). All exams will be closed book and notes. You may use a non-programmable calculator for each of the exams.

It is the nature of science that memorization is necessary. Therefore, about one-fourth of each exam will require the recall of memorized information.

However, it is more important that students understand the concepts involved in the course. Thus, about one-fourth of the questions will be designed to test your understanding of the material covered.

In order for the learning experience to be long lasting and transferable, you must be able to apply the knowledge you have learned. Therefore, based on the material you have learned in this course, and through using your intellect, you should be able to come up with solutions to new problems.

To that end, exams will contain questions (about one-half of the total) requiring you to solve new problems by synthesizing an answer. On the surface, the questions may appear to cover material not covered in the course or in the textbook. However, upon careful examination and thinking, the astute learner will determine how to answer the question. 

This is the most important aspect of the class! We will help you practice this throughout the course.

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Grading

Your course grade will be based on these assignments and exams:

Assignment/Exam Points
Homework Assignments and LearnSmart Quizzes/Activities in Connect 100
Recitation Quizzes (8 @ 3 pts each) 24
Summaries (10 @ 2 pts each) 20
Discussion Boards (6 @ 5 pts each) 30
Pre- and Post-Assessment Quizzes (2 @ 2 pts each) 4
Midcourse Exams (4 @ 50 pts each) 200
Final Exam 100
Total 478

Your letter grade is based on these percentages:

Grading Scale
A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 59 and lower

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Getting Help

You can contact your TA at ta_pdbio120@byu.edu. You may also schedule an online tutoring session with your TA here:

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.

Assignments

There are 8 recitation quizzes, 6 discussion boards, 10 summaries, McGraw-Hill Connect quizzes and assignments (1 submission), and 2 assessment quizzes.

You may resubmit each assignment once for a fee.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.

Exams

There are 4 proctored, computer-graded midcourse exams, and 1 proctored, computer-graded final exam.

You must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course. 

You may retake each exam once for a fee.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Course Duration

You have one year to complete this course. You may purchase one three-month extension if you need more than a year to complete the course.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Continuing Education. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2017 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514
USA

BYU Copyright Notice for TEACH ACT

COPYRIGHT NOTICE
The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.
“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment…
Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy.

Copyright notice for specific, individual copies
All copies are intended for non-commercial, educational purposes in connection with this registered course and only for students enrolled in this course. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws.