BIO 103 (Section 01) Course Syllabus ~ Fall 2013  

LECTURE INSTRUCTOR:  Rick Gillis     OFFICE:  3014 Cowley Hall   


OFFICE PHONE: (608)-785-8253       E-MAIL:

OFFICE HOURS: Although my Office Hours in 3014 Cowley Hall are shown below in green, please feel free to visit me anytime I am in my office (which is usually when I am not in class, as indicated by yellow shading)!


Class Period







325 CH


325 CH






100 CH
100 CH
100 CH








325 CH



325 CH

100 CH


100 CH



325 CH






325 CH





TEXTBOOK: Biology: Life on Earth by Audesirk et al. is available from Textbook Rental in the Cartwright Center. Although you may wish to use this text as a reference (many of the illustrations used in lecture are also found in the text), there will be no reading assignments nor will any test material be taken from it. 

LECTURE NOTES: All lecture test material will be taken from a set of spiral-bound, lecture outline notes that will be provided to you on the first day of class.

LAB MANUAL: The Biology 103/105 Lab Manual will be provided to you when you attend your first lab.  You do not need to purchase any materials for lab. to your first lab. 

Special Note to Teacher Education Students:  Activities in this course can potentially be used for portfolio development!

METHOD OF EVALUATION: Course grades will be determined by total percentage of possible points received from lecture and laboratory exercises.

The course grade distribution will be as follows:

A: 90-100% AB: 87-89%  B: 80-86%  BC: 77-79%  C: 70-76%  D: 60-69% F: 0-59%

The breakdown of points will be as follows:

Non-comprehensive Lecture Exams (3)

 300 points

Comprehensive Final Exam (2/3 new material; 1/3 old material)

 150 points

On-Line Lecture Quizzes (10)

 100 points

Laboratory Quizzes, reports, etc.  175 points

  Total =

 725 points


NOTE: Any of the lecture exams (including the final exam) may be taken prior to the date and time for which they are scheduled for any reason.  With reasonable justification (such as illness, participation in an athletic event, the scheduling of an unreasonable number of exams and assignments on the same day or two, etc.), students may take lecture exams at a later date. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to find a time to take the exam during which the instructor is free and available. 


EXTRA CREDIT: After all of the D2L quizzes have been taken, there will be an opportunity to earn up to 15 points of extra credit by taking an optional on-line quiz on Evolution. This will be the only opportunity to earn extra credit in the course!


LECTURES: Lectures are scheduled Mon/Wed/Fri at 9:55 A.M. in 100 Cowley Hall.  Please try to arrive on time for lectures and laboratory sessions.  Entering the room late is a distraction to your colleagues and to me.  I encourage you to ask questions during lecture.  However, during lecture please refrain from casual conversations or other activities that may be disruptive to those around you.  If you are not able to refrain from these activities, you will be asked to leave. Also, please be sure to deactivate your cell phones prior to coming to class.


CLASS ATTENDANCE: Attendance at all lectures and lab sessions is a normal and expected component of this (or any other) course at UW-L! You are responsible for any important announcements, changes to the exam schedule, assignment due dates, etc. made in lecture and lab. Thus, if you fail to take a lecture exam before or during its scheduled hour because the date of the exam was changed and a new exam date was announced in class, this does not constitute “reasonable justification” for having missed the exam, and you will receive a score of zero for that exam!

LABORATORY: The BIO 103 Laboratory is an important component of the course, which highlights important concepts as well as the investigative nature of the science.  As mentioned above, the lab manual can be purchased at the Campus Bookstore in the Cartwright Center.

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: Any student with a documented disability who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and the Disability Resource Services Office at the beginning of the semester.  Such accommodations are not a special privilege; they are your legally mandated right!

CODE NUMBERS: In keeping with UW-L and Federal requirements for maintaining student confidentiality in the grading process, all lecture exam and quiz scores (as well as a running current percentage of total points received in lecture to date) will be posted on the following link on the BIO 103-Section 01 Website ( by a three-digit Course Code Number known only to the student and the lecture instructor. To obtain a Code Number, visit your instructor in his office at your earliest convenience. This is the only way of obtaining this number!

Important Note: You must pick up this Code Number no later than the date of the first lecture exam. After this date, access to all subsequent On-Line Quizzes [see the “On-Line Quizzes” section below] will be restricted to users with special access (i.e., those who have picked up their Code Numbers).

If you have not picked up this number by the date of the first lecture exam, you will not be permitted to take any of the remaining On-Line Quizzes until you do so, which can lead to loss of a significant number of points!

D2L WEBSITE: On-Line Quizzes will be posted electronically on a website called Desire2Learn (D2L), which can be accessed at: 

Login ID and Password are the same as those used for your UW-L e-mail account, that is:

Your Login ID = first 8 characters of your last name (or your full last name if it is less than 8 characters long) followed by a dot (.) then the first four characters of your first name.  (i.e., gillis.rick).

Your Password = the last 4 digits of your UW-L student ID followed by your birth month (two digits) and then followed by your birth date (two digits).

On-Line Quizzes: There will be 10 on-line quizzes, most (but not all) of which will be available for about five days on the D2L site. Please note that quizzes can only be taken during the time when they are “active” on D2L.  Once a quiz has expired and become inactive, it cannot be re-activated and cannot be taken regardless of the reason given for having not taken the quiz during this period!

The quizzes will consist of ten, 1-point, multiple-choice questions taken from the material presented in lecture. All lecture test questions will be taken directly from the on-line quiz questions! Although the quizzes are “open book/notes”, you will have a limited amount of time to complete each quiz (usually but not always 10 minutes), which will be indicated on the quiz.

Note: If you exceed the indicated time limit for a quiz, you will receive a score of zero for that quiz regardless of the number of questions answered correctly! You must also remember to submit your quiz and receive a confirmation that your quiz has been submitted successfully before you leave the D2L website!

Thus, it is strongly recommended that you study the material to be covered by each quiz (which will always be indicated in class and on the D2L site announcements) for at least two hours before you actually log on to take the quiz! That way, you will not only be assured of getting the most points possible from these short exercises, but also of getting a good start on learning the material for the more comprehensive, closed-book lecture exams.

And remember, if you have not picked up your course Code Number by the time of the first scheduled lecture exam, you will not be permitted to take any of the remaining On-Line quizzes until you do so, which can lead to the automatic loss of a significant number of points!

STUDY SKILLS:  Introductory Biology is a challenging course, and some students find the transition from High School to College to be quite difficult.  Inadequate time management and study skills are often to blame.  Good attendance and note taking skills as well as a serious commitment to learning is required to succeed in this course. There are no short cuts, and the worst possible thing you can do is to stop coming to class on a regular basis and rely on getting the notes from someone else.

Note: If you are not willing to (or cannot because of other commitments) devote at least 6-9 hours of serious study to this course each week, you will not do well.  Many students who are not majoring in the natural sciences say that this is the most difficult course they have taken at UW-L.  If you do not believe this to be true, then ask some students who have taken BIO 103!



~ Attend all lectures and labs and spend at least 6-9 hours a week studying the lecture material!


~ Take all of the on-line quizzes and study the material for several hours before you take them!


~ Ask questions any time you do not understand something; these question can be asked via e-mail or by talking with your instructor directly!


~ Contact your instructor right away about seeing him in his office if you do poorly on the first lecture exam!


~ Come in to your instructor's office and check each of your lecture exams to see which questions you missed!


The following website provides some valuable information on time management and study skills:


COURSE GOALS: This course is an introduction to science of biology, and its main goals are:


(1) To learn to think in a logical, scientific manner and develop an appreciation for the scientific method as a way of knowing about the world around us.


(2) To develop an understanding of the relationship between society, technology and science and the importance of scientific literacy in an increasingly, technologically oriented world.


(3) To develop an appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth and an understanding of how such diversity arose, that is, how living organisms survive, evolve and adapt to their surroundings.

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