A. Malcolm Campbell's Bio111 Syllabus

Bio 111: Molecules, Genes, & Cells <bio.davidson.edu/bio111>
Class Meets: MWF 9:30 Cunningham 109 Lab Meets: Thursdays (8:15 am or 1:40 pm) Watson 147
Office Hours: M & W: 2:00 - 3:00; Thurs: 11-noon; or by appointment any day
Office: Dana 221 (through my lab, door on left side of lab) macampbell@davidson.edu_Phone: 704-894-2692

General Information:

You are lucky for 3 reasons:
1) biology is very exciting and in the news every day;
2) my sections of Bio111 will learn biology in a new and effective way; and
3) you will help me pioneer a completely new lab course!

Biology has become too massive to memorize factoids the way you were encouraged to do in AP Biology, for example. My version of Bio111 is organized around the 5 big ideas of biology: Informatioin, Evolution, Cells, Emergent Properties and Homeostasis.

Biology in the natural world is not subdivided into big (Bio112) or small (Bio111) biology. For this class, biology will be clustered into 12.5 chapters from this 25 chapter curriculum.


You do not need to buy a traditional textbook because you will be reading a manuscript of the new textbook I am coauthoring with Drs. Chris Paradise and Laurie Heyer. The textbook, Integrating Concepts in Biology, will be published by Wiley in the near future. I have worked on this textbook for three years but it is still a work in progress. I welcome your comments, suggestions and pointing out typos. You will want a 3-hole binder since all the pages are printed on 3-hole paper. The print copy is in black and white but I will give you electronic files that contain all the figures and tables in full color. You can print these or use them in their original electronic form.

You will want to read the chapter and answer the Integrating Questions as they appear in the reading. Do NOT skip the questions until later. We know that students learn best if they construct their own knowledge. Therefore, the Integrating Questions are designed to help you extract the key inforamation from the original figures published in scientific papers. You will not only learn the main points, but you will learn how to do science by interpreting figures. Furthermore, you will utilze math to help you better understand biology. The math will be presented in BioMath Explorations which will enable you to use the math you already know to reinforce your understanding of biology.

The 4 exams will be drawn from the Integrating Questions and the summary questions at the back of each chapter. The exams will be take-home, closed-book exams. The answers to the take-home questions are to be typed, and are due at the next class time. Exams are not to be turned in late unless you have made prior arrangements with me. Acceptable reasons for delay include: death in the family, personal illness requiring physician’s care, etc. Unacceptable reasons include: intramurals, Homecoming, Patterson Court functions, other tests or exams, etc. Once you open the take-home exam file, you cannot use your book, notes, or any other source other than your personal memory. The than a memorization test, so be sure to give yourself enough time and don't start taking the test late Sunday night.

The format of each class will require each of you to read that day’s assignment BEFORE you come to class. All the major topics from a typical Bio111 class are covered, but in a very different sequence and a unique format. We will spend each class going through the figures and discuss them since DATA are paramount in science. Each class will begin with a period where you can ask specific questions related to the previous day’s material or specific areas you do not understand from the current day’s assignment. We will stick closely to the schedule because there is so much to learn and so little time. Therefore, if we do not cover a topic in class, but it is covered in your reading, you are responsible for it. Often, I will call on individuals randomly to answer a question or lead a discussion. If I call on you to answer a question, it is OK to say, “I got this part but this other section lost me.” It is not OK to say, “I didn’t read it.” I understand that some days you have missed the reading.

Davidson has a special benefit for science students because you pay the same amount for courses without labs as you do for science courses with labs. This means you actually get more for your money by taking science courses than non-science courses. Economically, this course is a real bargain. It comes with a 3 hour laboratory absolutely free! However, it is not acceptable to miss this “free” lab since 25% of your grade is based upon lab. Lab will be discussed further on Thursday (we meet the first week of classes). The lab manual will be available in weekly installments in the form of Word files.

Finally, I do not know everything. If you think I have said something that is incorrect, please point this out. This entrie class is a “work in progress” so please draw my attention to typos and incorrect statements. If you ask me a question that I cannot answer, I will research it and get back to you. If you have tried to understand the material but just can’t get it, then come talk to me either during my office hours or make an appointment. I am happy to work with each of you as much as is necessary.

Bio111 written assignments use the name-year citation format (e.g., Campbell et al., 2007). You can learn more about this at the Council of Biology Editors. You should also learn how to investigate the quality of a WWW page and to properly cite such references.

Campus Support for Your Learning

The Math & Science Center (MSC) offers free assistance to students in all areas of math and science, with a focus on the introductory courses. Trained and highly qualified peers hold one-on-one and small-group tutoring sessions on a drop-in basis or by appointment, as well as timely recap sessions ahead of scheduled reviews. Emphasis is placed on thinking critically, understanding concepts, making connections, and communicating effectively, not just getting correct answers. In addition, students can start or join a study group and use the MSC as a group or individual study space. Located in the new Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) on the first floor of the College Library, drop-in hours are Sunday through Thursday, 8-11 PM, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, 4-6 PM, beginning Sunday, September 4. Appointments are available at other times. For more information, visit www3.davidson.edu/cms/x39569.xml, or contact Dr. Mark Barsoum (mabarsoum or phone office ext. 2796).

The Speaking Center @ Davidson College (for oral lab reports) offers the services of trained student tutors to support speaking across the curriculum. At any point of the process, from selecting a topic to delivering the speech, the Center can assist your students in learning to speak, and speaking to learn. No appointment is necessary; tutors see students on a first-come, first-served basis. Located in Chambers B39 in the north basement, along with the Writing Center, the Speaking Center includes private rooms, a camera and playback equipment, and resource materials to help students collaborate with tutors. Students wishing to keep copies of their presentations can bring recordable DVDs (available in the Bookstore). The Speaking Center will be open Sunday through Thursday from 9-11 pm starting Sunday, September 5th. If you want their help, try to come early; help is more readily available at 9 pm than at 10:45.

Note: I assume that everyone has had some high school biology and chemistry. If you have not, this course may be very difficult for you. You should talk to me the first day if you have not had one or both of these high school courses.


Source of Grade
Percentage of Final Grade
3 exams during the semester plus 1 exam during finals
lab grades (2 oral reports, 2 written reports)
(10% of exam questions drawn from labs)
Class and Lab Participation
+/- one grade level

Grading Scale:

Conversion of Percentage to Letter Grade
A = 100 - 95 A- = 94 - 92
B+ = 91 - 89 B = 88 - 86 B- = 85 - 83
C+ = 82 - 80 C = 79 - 77 C - = 76 - 74
D+ = 73 - 71 D = 70 - 68
F = < 67

Attendance policy:

I will take attendance to facilitate a more objective means for assigning the class participation grade. In order to receive a passing grade in this course, you cannot miss more than 5 classes without a legitimate reason. You may not miss any labs without a legitimate reason. Legitimate reasons include illness requiring physician’s care, family emergency, etc. Unacceptable reasons include over sleeping, exam in another class, social function, etc.

Previous Exams for Dr. Campbell's Bio111:

You may find it useful to see some old exams (called spots) written by Dr. Campbell for Bio111. Because some members of Patterson Court have access to these in paper form, I provide them to everyone to ensure equal access. However, the course you are about to take is unique and previous exams will not apply to this year's course.

Honor Code

All of your tests are closed book, closed notes, closed friend exams. You do not have a time limit for these tests other than the two days, and you can take them any place you want. This form of testing is only possible because of the Honor Code. If you violate my trust in you and the Honor Code, we will have to take the tests during the 50 minutes of class. You are required to not cheat on these tests, and to report to me or the Dean of Students any violations you observe or hear about second hand. This means that even your lab partners or best friends must be reported if you know they are cheating. The entire system will break down when individuals make exceptions to the rule in order to spare their friends.

The written lab reports are to be done by everyone in the group. It is considered an Honor Code violation if someone takes credit for work he or she does not deserve. I do not expect every person to contribute precisely equally to these reports, but I do expect every person to contribute substantially. Just showing up for the meeting and bringing the food does not constitute a contribution to the report. Therefore, when you pledge your lab reports, you are pledging that everyone has contributed substantially to the lab report. You should consult the Biology Department's plagiarism web site for additional help.

The quiz is to be conducted by you without any consultation with your notes, books, or other people. It is a violation of the Honor Code to print out or save in an electronic format the quiz and/or your answers to the quiz.

Reading Schedule

The following reading assignments are from the textbook manuscript Integrated Systems Biology. You should print out this schedule so you can see the schedule by itself.

Lab Schedule

The following lab schedule refers to the Bio111 Lab Manual. You should print out this schedule so you can see the schedule by itself.

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Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: macampbell@davidson.edu