Bio111: Molecules, Genes and Cells Syllabus Fall 2013
Professor Bernd
Sloan 100 : TR 12:15-1:30 pm and
Watson 147: T 8:15-10:55 am OR 1:30-4:20 pm

How to contact me
Dr. Bernd's office: Watson 289
Office Hours Mon 1:30-2:20pm and Wed 10:30-11:20.Contact me electronically or in person. Try to head off mild confusion before it becomes paralyzing panic. Remember that we have three hours a week in lab. Incubation periods or early wrap up are times you should use to ask questions. Use the time wisely and stay on top of the material. If you find you are having trouble, contact me!
READING schedule LAB schedule
Required reading material Info on Course Assignments
Laboratory Late Policy Reference Format
Extra Credit Grade Scale  
Accommodations Additional Resources Math & Science Center

Required reading material
1)WWW readings appear as links from the Study Guide Heading Section of the BIO111 homepage (
2) Additional animations are found on the website that accompanies our text ( , Choose edition 9 links)
From the bookstore:
3) Sadava, Orians, Heller, and Purves : Life the Science of Biology. 9th edition (Bat on cover) [e versions also available through]
4) Davidson Biology Department, Study Guide, and Lab Manual FALL 2013 version
5) Pechenik, J A short guide to writing about Biology. 6th or 7th edition (this book is considered a reference source for all biology courses, buy it now and keep it)
The sources listed above (including the web ones) all contain required reading. Be sure that you have access to each. The 8th editions of the Sadava et al. text are still 'around'. They have different page numbers and less up to date content so using them will require more effort on your part. Also Sadava et al. is used for Bio112and Pechenik is considered the style and writing guide for all Bio courses, unless told otherwise (like the citation style specified below). Get the books now and keep them for later.

Class readings and assignments. 2013 class schedule
Lab readings and assignments. 2013 lab schedule
The due dates listed will not change. Put them on your calendar now and plan time for assignments accordingly.

Information about Bio 111: Molecules, Genes and Cells Bio111 is designed to provide the background necessary to tackle the 'big questions' in biology. We will delve into what is currently known about the components of the cell, the methods used to study them, and the vocabulary used to talk about them. From those broad statements you can tell we will be covering a large amount of information. This course is an introduction to topics that are covered in upper level courses. To make this information more manageable the course provides information on a 'need-to-know' basis. Just as you would not read every history book to find out about a single English rebellion--we will not march through the textbook. Each unit provides unifying questions and the Study Guide,webreadings, text, and study questions are designed to provide the background information necessary for the class to discuss the 'big question'.

There are two types of reading for this class.  Both types of readings include information from the text and from WWWeb sources. Overview Readings : skim through this quickly to get an idea of the overall topic and to provide background information. Focused Readings : readings that should more deeply read and understood. Your Study Guide will serve to bring these readings together and will provide the basis for our class discussions (so the study guide is a focused reading). Prepare responses to Study Guide questions before class. They will form the basis of our discussion We will discuss all of the topics and questions if you ask about them. The more you ask questions the more this class is tailored to you.

All assignments emphasize the fact that knowledge is not useful if you cannot convey what you have learned. Class and lab discussions, reviews, and lab articles require that you practice communication skills and apply and synthesize new information. Check the class and laboratory syllabus now for due dates and times and notice that they often occur outside of class meeting times. Plan ahead. The assignment dates will not change. Do not cut it so close that a printer problem costs you. Plan to turn in an assignment with time to spare as late assignments are not an 'option' to be chosen and are penalized Subtract 5% for 1min late and an additional 5% for every 60min after that. (Why? Because the course builds and the goal is that you learn from the assignments and the feedback provided. Late assignments mean that the materials cannot be reviewed, cannot be returned for the whole class so the whole class loses time (very unfair to those who managed their time). 'Later' in your life job and funding applications, patient diagnoses, departmental/divisional reports, etc. require you meet deadlines with more than 'points lost' as consequences. Developing time management and balancing skills now will be one of the best things you can get out of your education.)

You are responsible for all assigned reading, class material, and laboratory material. The 3 reviews, 2 quizzes and final exam will cover material assigned during that 'unit'. Like the questions in the Study Guide, the reviews will require synthesis and application of information. Samples of reviews I have given are available on my course homepage. I strongly encourage you to look at the 'spots' right now and work through the questions as we work through the unit. All reviews are take-home, closed-book and to be completed by yourself alone under the honor code. I require answers to be typed and in the form of complete sentences.

Laboratory: Lab groups (of 4) will be set up during the first week of lab and will be maintained through the semester. You may not miss lab. It should go without saying that you will not schedule other activities during any lab hours. Since you will be working in groups, labs cannot be 'made-up' during another lab period. This is where you get to practice science by forming hypotheses and determining the best way to test the hypotheses' validity. The lab units introduce background and procedures, require that you design experiments to further your understanding of the topic and then conclude with a report of your findings in oral or written form. The laboratory portion of the course grade will come from your work with your lab group (2%), and your writing assignments (3, 3, and 6%) for a total of 14% of your final grade. Be sure to read the grading rubric. It makes sense to know the expectations so you can fulfill them.

Written work Be certain that you understand the rules and boundaries of group work and source citation. If you have any questions ASK BEFORE HANDING ANYTHING IN. Plagiarism is wrong and has severe consequences.  The Davidson College Biology Department’s statement on plagiarism is found at: and is the guide for this course. You are responsible for reading and following the guide.

This course follows the citation style seen in the journal Cell. You must follow both the 'in text' and bibliographic citation style described here

Grading rubric for lab articles and presentations

Additional Resources: I am available for additional help during scheduled lab times if labwork concludes early, during office hours, or by email sent when the question occurs to you. Written assignments require that you do outside research and reading. There are thousands of resources available in the library (you know-- those books and journals on paper) in addition to all of those found online. To help you find the right resources I advise beginning early and remembering that we have great reference librarians in Little Library. Your lab and classmates are also valuable resources. I strongly encourage study groups where members work together to determine explanations for study guide questions and discuss the reading and lab assignments. These groups work best if they meet regularly. Do not wait until the assignment looms.

The Math & Science Center (MSC) offers assistance to students in all areas of math and science, with a focus on the introductory level 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. Help with lab reports, data interpretation, research projects, and oral presentations is also offered. Emphasis is placed on thinking critically, understanding concepts, making connections, and communicating effectively, not just getting right answers. In addition, students can form or join a study group and use the MSC as a group or individual study space. Drop-in hours are usually Sunday-Thursday, 9:00 PM-12:00 Midnight. For more information, contact Dr. Mark Barsoum (mabarsoum or 704.894.2796). Note: all services are free to students

Extra Credit Summaries This course has the breadth of an introductory course but it cannot cover every topic. To facilitate exposure to more topics and current findings I offer extra credit for summaries of science departmental seminars (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Smith Lecture, Fall Research Symposium). To earn these points you must attend the seminar (most of which last approximately one hour) and within 72hours of the event you must a) email me a one to two paragraph summary relaying your impressions of the content and presentation of the seminar OR b) ask a question at the seminar and email a summary of your question and how it was answered. Any points earned will be added on to the score you earn on the next review/exam that directly follows the event. You may earn a maximum of 4 extra credit points during the semester however I encourage you to attend as many as you can. Seminars will be announced in the Biology eNewsletter. There are usually afternoon, evening, Thurs, Fri, Sun, and Mon opportunities. Some will be during the Tuesday common hour. Put them on your calendar and attend as many as possible.

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities: I am happy to provide accommodations for students with learning or physical disabilities.  If you are a student with a learning disability documented by Davidson College please identify yourself to me within the first two weeks of class so that arrangements can be made before any deadline is looming. Students with other disabilities are encouraged to self-identify so that we may discuss if there is any way in which I can make accommodations that will enhance your learning experience.  All such discussions will be fully confidential unless you otherwise stipulate.

Course grade

3 Reviews (covering lab and lecture material)

20% ea

2 quizzes

2% ea

Laboratory grade


Final Exam (in two parts)




B+ = 3.3 = 87-89
C+ = 2.3 = 77-79
D+ = 1.3 = 67-69
A =4.0 =94-100
B = 3.0 = 84-86
C = 2.0 = 74-76
D = 1.0 = 60-66
F = below 60
A- =3.7 = 90-93
B- = 2.7 = 80-83
C- = 1.7 = 70-73

Your course grade will be determined by converting your numerical score into a letter grade and adjusting the letter grade as much as 1/2 a grade level up or down based on your preparation for and participation in class questions and discussion (the participation grade). Remember, an 'A' for participation requires above average and consistent preparation and participation in class. (If you turned in a blank test you would expect to get a '0' on it. Not coming to class or coming to class unprepared and never speaking is equivalent not completing this assignment and will be evaluated as such.)