Biology N100: Contemporary Biology, Winter / Spring 2004
Web page:

Winter - Spring 2004
Mon. & Weds. 1:00 AM - 2:15 PM
Dr. Kathleen A. Marrs

Sections A410, A411, and A413
LE 101
: 278-4551
Office: SL 330

Support for the development of this course was provided by the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education (NSF-DUE Award 9981111), to the WebScience Project at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Lecture Notes

This Week's

in the News


What is Biology
Good For?

Text: Biology, Concepts and Applications, Cecie Starr
Handouts: From Cooperative Learning, Mimi Bress, 2000

I. Course Objectives: The major objective of this course is to allow you to gain an understanding of the key concepts and major themes of biology, the study of life. By the conclusion of this course, you will acquire an understanding of the cell, DNA and genetics, evolution and ecosystems. Discussion of the major concepts of biology (such as cell structure, genes, and population biology) are interwoven with analysis of contemporary issues in biology (such as biotechnology, embryonic stem cells, and cloning). In addition, a strong emphasis is placed on learning biology by inquiry, studying science from a social as well as a technological standpoint, and exploring the history and nature of science. This course is recommended for students majoring in education or for students of any major interested in developing scientific inquiry skills and scientific literacy.

II. Course Basics:

1. Class periods: Two classes are held each week; typically running the entire 75 minutes. Lectures will be interspersed with sessions of group or individual work on problems or questions. Attendance in the classroom is expected, as is participation in Cooperative Learning assignments. These assignments are worth 3 points each and will be used to determine attendance and class participation.

2. Textbook and CD-ROM: This book is developed around "Concept Spreads", introducing one concept at a time in no more than one or two facing pages, with a summary at the bottom of the page. The major concepts of each chapter can be found at the beginning of each chapter. Use the glossary at the end of the book or in the CD-ROM frequently for terms that you are not familiar with! The CD-ROM follows the text, chapter by chapter, and provides excellent animations and movies to help you visualize complex processes. Chapter-based quizzes let you check your knowledge before test days.

3. Assignments: There are three types of assignments in this class: (1) Each Wednesday, beginning next week (January 22), a 3-point Warm Up assignment will be due at 9:30 a.m. via the web (see below). There will be 14 Warm Ups, for a total of 42 points. (2) Each week, Monday or Wednesday, one 3-point Cooperative Learning assignment will be done in class, and turned in for credit, for a total of 45 points. (3) Each Friday, an optional, 3-point extra credit assignment called "What is Biology Good For" is due at noon via the web (see below). I will assign questions and problems from the book chapters and CD, but these are not turned in - they are to help you to understand chapter concepts and prepare for exams.

4. Exams: There will be 4 exams, 100 points each, multiple choice. A short help session will be given in class before exams. Exams may cover material from the text that was not covered in lecture. The final, Exam 4, is not cumulative and will be given on Friday, May 9th from 1:00 -2:00. You are expected to take exams on scheduled dates; however, in the event of illness, family emergency, or work-related travel, one make-up exam will be scheduled after the final exam on Friday, May 9th from 2:00 -3:00 (you may not use this to replace a previous exam score, but only to make up an absence on a previous exam date).

Note: Please bring a #2 pencil and a calculator to all exams.

5. Academic Dishonesty: Academic Misconduct (cheating, plagiarism, helping another student to cheat, etc) is a serious offense. University procedures for handling academic dishonesty will be followed in N100, which may include failing the class, expulsion from the university, or both. Please consult your student handbook for more details.

6. Withdrawls or Incompletes: Withdrawl (W) Deadlines: Jan 20 = course deleted from record - no signature required, 100% refund. Jan 21-March 5 = W with advisor's signature. March 6-April 2 = W with advisor's and instructor's signature required. After April 2, W requires advisor's, instructor's and Dean's signature. After March 6th, a W will be given only if the student is earning a passing grade at the time of the request. If the student is not passing, a grade of F must be assigned. Tuition Refund Schedule: Jan 20 = 100% refund; Jan 24 = 75% refund; Jan 31 = 50% refund; Feb 7 = 25% refund. Incomplete grades (I) are given only if student has completed 3/4 of the course work and has a passing grade.

7. Office hours: Call or e-mail to ask questions or arrange an appointment. I am usually in my office M&W before and after class, T & Th from 9-1, and all day Friday; you are also welcome to drop in. E-mail is often the fastest and easiest way to communicate. I will make every attempt to answer your e-mail or voice mail within 24 hours.

8. Expectations for N100:

II. Course Web Page
An important part of this class involves previewing material for lecture. Several features have been built into this course that allow students to make preparation before class as easy as possible, and should help you get into the habit quickly. The course web page allows students to prepare ahead for class and complete simple pre-class exercises. The internet can be accessed at any of the library computers as well as campus computer labs. If you are not familiar or comfortable with using the internet, please see me and I will help you get started. Previewing will be expected starting this Friday, for next week's material. Try to get into the habit of checking the web page regularly before class, and then allow yourself about an hour with the notes and the textbook to prepare for lecture and do the WarmUp exercises .


Lecture Notes: Each Friday, a partial lecture outline will be posted for the coming week's Monday and Wednesday lectures. Specific readings will be indicated, details can be filled in before or during class, and lecture objectives will be included to allow you to check your understanding of the material. You do not have to visit the links in the notes unless you are interested in learning more.  


WarmUps: WarmUps are short (10-15 minute), straightforward pre-lecture assignments that are submitted to me via the web before class begins. WarmUps consist of 3 questions and are worth 3 points each if handed in on time, for a maximum of 42 points. WarmUps will be posted on the web on the Friday before they are due, and must be sent to me by 9:30 AM before each Wednesday lecture. Because they are pre-lecture assignments, they will not be accepted after 9:30 AM.


In the News: News articles that relate to topics we are studying in class. We will often discuss these articles in class. For some day's discussions, articles on the web will be the reading material for class. You do not need to print these articles out unless it is specified on the webpage as necessary for lecture discussions.


Help: Check here for some study tips from former N100 students! Prior to each exam, a set of practice exam questions (or information about relevant quiz questions on the CD-ROM) and answers will be found here. Study objectives will be posted here as well. This should allow you to identify areas that you still need help with before the exam.  Remember that if you need further help, I can be reached at or 278-4551.


What is Biology Good For?: A short essay about some aspect of biology in everyday life or some technological breakthrough made possible through biological study. Each Friday, a new essay will be posted. Answers are due any time before the next Friday, at noon. This activity is optional, but each essay will have 3 extra credit point questions at the end that may be answered for up to a maximum of 45 extra credit points. (i.e.: You don't want to miss these!)

IV. Grading:

1. Course points: Your grade will be based on a total of 500 points:

Exams 1 - 4: 100 points each x 4

=400 points

Warm-Up exercises 1-14: 3 points each x 14

= 42 points

Cooperative Learning 1-16: 3 points each x 16

= 48 points

Pre- and Post-class survey 5 points each x 2

=10 points

Good For Extra Credit 1-14: 3 points each x 15

(= up to 45 points)

Total Points for Course  

500 points

2. Grading Scale:

 A = 90 - 100% = 450 - 500 points
 B+ = 87 - 89 % = 435 - 449 points
 B = 80 - 86 % = 400 - 434 points
 C+ = 77 - 79 % = 385 - 399 points
 C = 70 - 76 % = 350 - 384 points
 D+ = 67 - 69 % = 335 - 349 points
 D = 60 - 66 % = 300 - 334 points
 F = 59% or less = 299 points or less

V. Syllabus: Check web page before lecture for detailed readings. (Click on this link or on the "Notes" desk icon at top of syllabus)

VI. This course addresses the IUPUI Principles of Undergraduate Learning

1) Core Communication and Quantitative Skills: Students in N100 are asked to (a) to express ideas and facts to others effectively in writing, (b) to comprehend, interpret, and analyze texts, (c) to communicate orally in one-on-one and group settings, (d) to solve problems that are quantitative in nature, and (e) to make efficient use of information resources and technology for personal and professional needs.

2) Critical Thinking: Students in N100 are asked to (a) to analyze complex issues and make informed decisions, (b) to synthesize information in order to arrive at reasoned conclusions, (c) to evaluate the logic, validity, and relevance of data, (d) to solve challenging problems, and (e) to use knowledge and understanding in order to generate and explore new questions.

3) Integration and Application of Knowledge: Students in N100 are asked to apply knowledge (a) to enhance their personal lives, (b) to meet professional standards and competencies, and (c) to further the goals of society.

4) Intellectual Depth, Breadth, and Adaptiveness: Students in N100 are required to (a) demonstrate substantial knowledge and understanding of at least one field of study; (b) compare and contrast approaches to knowledge in different disciplines; (c) modify the approach to an issue or problem based on the contexts and requirements of particular situations.

5) Understanding Society and Culture: Students in N100 will develop the ability (a) to compare and contrast the range of diversity and universality in human history, societies, and ways of life; (b) to analyze and understand the interconnectedness of global and local concerns; and (c) to operate with civility in a complex social world.

6) Values and Ethics: Students in N100 are asked to make judgments with respect to individual conduct, citizenship, and aesthetics demonstrated by the ability (a) to make informed and principled choices regarding conflicting situations in their personal and public lives and to foresee the consequences of these choices; and (b) to recognize the importance of aesthetics in their personal lives and to society.

2000-2004 Kathy Marrs / IUPUI, all rights reserved.