Biology 105 Section 005

Fall 2005 Syllabus


General Biology Home

Lab Information

Howard Home Page


Instructor: Dr. David R. Howard

Office:  3016 Cowley Hall, 785-6455

Office Hours: M   3:20-5:00 pm, W 8:00-9:00 am

Email:      Website:


Lecture times: T, Th 2:15-3:40. 151 Cowley Hall


Course Purpose and Goals:

            The ambitious purpose of this course will be to provide you with a basic grounding in biology so that you can understand biology-related issues as the need arises.  Besides biology is fun!!!  Specific goals will be to:

1.      Learn to think like a scientist.

2.      Learn how to analyze and interpret experimental data by making models.

3.      Develop an understanding of how living organisms survive and adapt to their surroundings.

4.      Learn the basic terminology used by biologists.


Approaches And Expectations:

            This course emphasizes problem-based learning. This approach is not only useful in understanding how science is practiced, but can be applied to solving problems in other disciplines.

            You are responsible for all material covered in class, homework assigned, and any changes announced in exam dates.




Textbook: Freeeman, S. 2005. Biological Science, 2nd edition.  Obtain from Textbook Rental.


Lab manual:  Cooper, S., et al. 2004. Biology 103 & 105 Laboratory Manual, 5th edition. Purchase at the Cartwright Center Bookstore


Additional readings:  You are responsible for any other additional readings which will be announced in class and the D2L site.  


Desire2Learn (D2L) Site:    

Course supplements, documents, lecture outlines, on-line quizzes, and assignments will be posted on the D2L Web site.  Therefore, you must learn how to use this simple campus function.

            How to get on D2L:  If you have not used D2L for other courses, follow these directions.

1.      Use the internet to access

2.      Log in using your UW-L e-mail username (mine is howard.davi).

3.      Your D2L password is the same as your email password. 

4.      If you cannot gain access to D2L using the approaches listed above, contact Instructional Technology: 785-8774, or

5.      At your D2L homepage, you will see all your current courses that use D2L.  Click on "BIO 105 General Biology" to go to our D2L site.  Start using it.


Access for All Students:

>Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, >psychiatric, vision, or hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable >accommodations must contact the instructor and the Disability Resource >Services Office (165 Murphy Library) at the beginning of the semester.  I am happy to make reasonable accommodations for students with special needs. 



Your grade is based on total points earned, meaning that it is theoretically possible for everyone to get an A. The types of assignments and their point values are summarized in the table below.


Type of assignment

Point Value

3 Lecture exams @ 100 points each


Quizzes and Seminars




Comprehensive final exam


Total Possible Points



Your final grade in the course will be determined by dividing the total points you earn by the total possible points in the course (700) and multiplying by 100. Your percentage will determine your final letter grade as follows:


A = 92-100%

AB = 88-91%

B = 81-87%

BC = 77-80%             

C = 67-76%

D = 55-66%


Lecture Exams:

There will be three lecture exams throughout the semester. Each will be worth 100 points.  These exams will be primarily in multiple choice format with one or two short answer written questions.  However, because we are working toward developing your understanding of the field of biology, the multiple choice questions will frequently involve problem solving, interpretation of passages of reading, and the application of knowledge.

If you must miss an exam because of an illness or an officially approved university activity, you must contact me before the exam. If an emergency makes this impossible, you must inform me within 24 hours after the exam. In any case, be prepared with official documentation of the reason that forced you to miss the exam. Without proper notification and documentation, you will receive a zero on the exam that you miss.


Assignments = Seminar, In Class Questions, Out of Class Assignments: 

5 points:  You must attend one biology seminar during the semester and write a brief description of the talk.  A schedule of talks will be posted on D2L.  These write-ups can be turned in any time before the end of the last day (December 14th).

            15 points:  There will be three (probably) out-of-class assignments that you will do in groups.  Each one will be worth 5 points (3 x 5 = 15).  You must turn these in on time and meet the described requirements to receive full credit.

            30 points:  In each lecture, there will be ~5 in-class questions that you will answer with the Personal Response System (see below).  Your score for the semester will be determined by the percentage of these in-class questions that you get right in the entire semester.  For example, if there ends up being a total of 200 in-class questions throughout the semester and you get 150 correct, 150/200 = 0.75.  0.75 x 30 points = 22.5.  So, you would receive 22.5 out of 30 possible points.

            You must attend lecture and bring your PRS unit in order to earn these points.  There will be no make up for points missed in this category.


Personal Response Systems = PRS or “Clickers”

            We will be using PRS units to answer in-class questions.   Questions will be shown as a PowerPoint slide.  You will then be given 1-2 minutes to enter your answer with your PRS unit.  Using this system kind of works like the fastest-finger or ask the audience on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”  Information about the PRS systems:

  • You must use your own PRS unit in order to get credit.  Each PRS unit has a code, and your score will be entered via this code.
  • Numerous studies have shown that this technology helps improve student learning.
  • Answering the questions keeps you actively involved in the class.
  • The results are automatically tabulated so that the instructor can see if the students are understanding the material.
  • Most of the questions are similar to the style found on exams; so, answering the questions gives you practice for the exams.
  • We will start using the PRS systems by Tuesday 9/13 and for grades on Thursday, 9/15.



The lab is broken into 3 units, each lasting 4 weeks. Nine labs will have 5 point pre-lab quizzes over the assigned background reading for that lab.  Three labs will have 20 point post-lab quizzes.  There will be additional oral and written assignments for each lab unit each worth 30 points. See page 6 for a schedule of lab assignments.  A lab manual must be purchased at the bookstore in the Cartwright Center.  Other details of lab will be explained in your lab section.


Final Exam:

There will be a comprehensive final exam covering all lectures and assigned readings on Tuesday, December 20, 4:45-6:45 pm.  Approximately 2/3 of the final exam will be similar to a regular exam, focusing on the material presented after the previous exam.  The remaining ~1/3 of the final will be devoted to comprehensive coverage of the course. However, because all fields of biology depend upon knowledge of the other fields of biology, your success on all of the exams will be greatly affected by your ability to remember and utilize what you learn throughout the course.


Academic Honesty:

There is a student honor code at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (pg. 45 in the Undergraduate Catalog) that I expect to be upheld.  Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Plagiarism is taking someone else’s ideas, expressions, or productions and passing them off as your own.  Please visit the following Murphy Library web site for more information on plagiarism:  This library web site connects you to some specific examples of what is and is not plagiarism.



            I will e-mail announcements to you using the distribution list for this course.  Thus, you must use your campus e-mail account which is the first 8 letters of your last name and the first 4 letters of your first name followed by

General Advice for Success:

In Biology 105, you will be expected to learn and understand numerous scientific concepts and terms which may be entirely new to you.  Because we will cover many topic areas, you will need to study on a regular basis.  The best ways to help your grade:

§         Attend every lecture and every lab. 

§         Take copious notes, but focus on the meaning. 

§         Form study groups.

§         Actively read the textbook assignments prior to lecture. 

§         After lecture, read the book again, and use it to fill in your notes.

§         Learn as you go; study an hour a day for five days rather than five hours in one day.

§         In lab, do all the experiments and assignments and think about what you are doing. 

§         Finally, speak up in class when you do not understand, because if you are lost, fellow students are probably also confused.  Questions are highly encouraged.  My philosophy is that the only bad question is one that is not asked.

More useful advice about studying and success in science courses can be found at:

Planned Schedule for the Course

Sept. 6

Sept. 8


Introduction.  Mercy Me the Ecology: Biomes

Ecology: Population Ecology

Sept. 13



Ecology: Communities Ecology

Ecology: Food Webs and Energy Flow

Sept. 20

Sept. 22


Ecology: Properties of biologically important chemicals

Ecology: Chemical Cycles

Sept. 27



EXAM 1 100 PTS

The Neuron: Cell Structure and Function


Oct. 4

Oct. 6


The Neuron: Cell Structure and Function

The Neuron: Cell Structure and Function

Oct. 11

Oct. 13


The Neuron: Metabolism

The Neuron: Metabolism

Oct. 18

Oct. 20


The Neuron: Metabolism

The Neuron: Metabolism

Oct. 25

Oct. 27

EXAM 2 100 PTS


The Ultimate Source of Power - Plants: Photosynthesis

Nov. 1

Nov. 3



Plants: Photosynthesis

Reproduction & Life Cycles:  Mitosis and Meiosis

Nov. 8

Nov. 10



Reproduction & Life Cycles:  Mitosis and Meiosis

Gene Genie  Mendelian Genetics:  Plants to Humans

Nov. 15

Nov. 17


EXAM 3 100 PTS

Mendelian Genetics:  Diseases and normal functions


Nov.  22

Nov. 24



Disease: Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Thanksgiving Break 

Nov. 29

Dec. 1


Disease: Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Disease: Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Dec. 6

Dec. 8


Species: Evolution 

Species: Evolution

Dec. 13



Species: Evolution

Tuesday, Dec. 20


Comprehensive Final from 4:45-6:45