A. Malcolm Campbell (he, him, his)
Bio113 Syllabus Fall 2020
100% remote

Bio 113: Integrated Concepts in Biology<www.bio.davidson.edu/113>
Class Meets: MWF 2:20 - 3:10 pm (eastern)
via Zoom (link in textbook)
Lab Meets: Thursday 8:15 - 10:55 am (eastern)
Thursday 1:10 - 4:00 pm (eastern)
via Zoom (link in textbook)
Office Hours: TBD

Office: Wall 327
(last door on right, wing closer to library)

General Information:

Integrating Concepts in Biology - eBook <-- Buy your Fall 2020 textbook here.

Course-level Learning Outcomes: after this course, students will be able to...

  1. Assemble overarching themes of biology (e.g. structure/function, signal amplification, variation, etc.) that span more than one core concept and all size scales.
  2. Apply the process of science to answer questions about life.
  3. Employ and understand quantitative analysis and mathematical reasoning with experimental data.
  4. Use mathematical modeling and simulations to enhance understanding of biology.
  5. Integrate different science and math disciplines to provide a more holistic understanding of biology.
  6. Connect biology with everyday world and society.
  7. Distinguish biology as a science based on experimental questions and data analysis rather than a discipline of vocabulary words to be memorized.  

Daily learning outcomes are listed for each chapter of the textbook.

You are lucky for 3 reasons:
1) biology is very exciting and in the news every day;
2) in Bio113, you will learn biology in a more effective way; and
3) you get to use an eBook that integrates the web with your reading.

Biology has become too massive to memorize factoids. Bio113 and 114 are organized around the 5 Big Ideas of biology: Information, Evolution, Cells, Emergent Properties and Homeostasis. The natural world is not subdivided into big or small biology. For this class, you will read chapters that cover all 5 big ideas at 3 size levels. Upon completion of Bio113, you may take Bio114 OR Bio112. For the biology major and for medical schools, you need one odd number (113 or 111) AND an even number (114 or 112) introductory biology course. Any combination in any order is acceptable.

Figure 1. Integrating Concepts in Biology brings together the five Big Ideas of biology at five different size scales. These big ideas fit together like a puzzle to complete students' understanding of biology.

You will use an eBook that I coauthored along with Drs. Chris Paradise and Laurie Heyer, Integrating Concepts in Biology. In addition, you will have access to all the images as PowerPoint slides (available from book's "student resources". Finally, you will also have access to recordings of every class that are available in Moodle and the daily reading schedule.

Prior to class, you will want to read the chapter and then watch the pre-class videos. As you read, try to answer the Integrating Questions as they appear in the reading. Do NOT skip the questions. Research has shown that students learn best if they construct their own knowledge. Therefore, the Integrating Questions are designed to help you extract the key information from the original figures published in scientific papers. You will not only learn the main points and retain them longer, you also will learn the skills of science by interpreting figures. Furthermore, you will use math to help you better understand biology. The math will be presented in BioMath Explorations which enable you to use the math you already know to reinforce your understanding of biology.

Grades will come from 3 main sources. 1) Every Saturday, you will take an timed, multiple-choice quiz based on the Integrating Questions from that week. 2) About every 3 weeks, you will take an exam that will be take-home, closed-book tests based on Review Questions. 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. Tardy exams are docked one letter grade for each day they are late. Acceptable reasons for delay include: death in the family, personal illness requiring physicianís care, etc.  Once you open the take-home exam file, you cannot use your book, notes, or any other source other than your personal memory. 3) Lab grades are based on a group oral presentation, a group research proposal, and an individual final lab report. Class participation within the online world can bump your grade up or down by a +/-.

The format of each class will require each of you to read that dayís assignment and then watch the associated videos BEFORE you come to class. We will spend each class going through the figures and the Integrating Questions. 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. We will use breakout rooms for small group discussions during the synchronous class meetings. I will also host numerous online Q & A sessions throughout the week. Sign ups for these time slots will be prioritized by time zone. The further away you are, the higher your priority for choosing a time slot. 

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 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 online laboratory absolutely free! Lab will be discussed further 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. 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 canít 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.

Campus Support for Your Learning

Your primary source of peer learning support and assistance for this course should be our embedded tutor, Alexis McDonnell (almcdonnell@davidson.edu). She did well in Bio113 last semester and will be a huge help with this online course. Please attend her scheduled help sessions, get some help during her virtual office hours, and ask her questions by email or through our FlipGrid portal. Her exact schedule will be announced shortly.

In addition, beginning Thursday, August 27, the Math & Science Center (MSC) will have a small number of other peer tutors available by appointment only. All tutors are trained and highly qualified peers that demonstrated deep understanding and succeeded in this course themselves. Please visit www.davidson.edu/offices-and-services/center-teaching-and-learning/student-resources/math-science-and-economics-center to schedule a tutoring appointment, which will be conducted over Zoom. For more information, contact Dr. Mark Barsoum, Director of the MSC (mabarsoum@davidson.edu or 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 very close to Studio D in the library, 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 8-11 pm starting Sunday, September 6th. If you want their help, try to come early.

The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library: Beth Bleil, Director, bebleil@davidson.edu, 704-894-2129; or Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director, albeaty@davidson.edu, 704-894-2939.  It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period; however, requests can be made at any time in the semester.  Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive. Religion:  Please look carefully at the syllabus during the first week of class. If any of the assignments conflict with a major religious holiday for your faith, then please let me know. I will make  appropriate accommodations.

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
 weekly online, multiple-choice quizzes based on Integrating Questions
3 exams plus 1 exam during finals based on Review Questions
lab grades (oral report, research proposal, final report)
(8%, 7%, 10%)
(10% of exam questions drawn from labs)
Class and Lab Participation
+/- one grade level

Grading Scale:

Conversion of Percentage to Letter Grade

A = 100 - 94 A- = 93 - 90
B+ = 89 - 87 B = 86 - 83 B- = 82 - 80
C+ = 79 - 77 C = 76 - 73 C - = 72 - 70
D+ = 69 - 66 D = 65 - 60

F = < 59

Attendance policy:

I will take attendance to facilitate a more objective means for assigning the 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 physicianís care, family emergency, varsity sports, etc. Unacceptable reasons include over-sleeping, exam in another class, social function, etc. I will be flexible about tests and religious holidays if you come speak to me personally.

Previous Exams for Dr. Campbell's Bio113:

You may find it useful to see some old exams (often called spots at Davidson) written by Dr. Campbell for Bio113. For the last ten years, I have used the same book and testing format, so past 113 exams might be useful. Because some members of eating houses have access to these in paper form, I provide them to everyone to ensure equal access.

Honor Code

All of your exams are closed-book, closed-notes, closed-friend tests. You do not have a time limit for these tests other than the two days between when I email them to you and when they are due. You can take your exams any place you want. This form of testing is only possible because of the Honor Code. If anyone violates my confidence in you and the Honor Code, everyone 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. I was a student at Davidson, so I know how important the Honor Code is.

Group written research proposals are to be produced 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 research proposal, you are pledging that everyone has contributed substantially. You should consult the Writing Program's citation page for additional help.

Reading Schedule

The following reading assignments are from the textbook Integrated Concepts in Biology (ICB). You should print out this schedule so you can see the schedule by itself.

Lab Schedule

The following lab schedule refers to the Bio113 Lab Manual. You should print out this schedule so you can see the schedule by itself.

Biology Home Page

© Copyright 2020 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035
Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: macampbell@davidson.edu