A. Malcolm Campbell (he/him )
Bio113 Syllabus Spring 2024
100% in person

Bio 113: Integrated Concepts in Biology
Class Meets: MWF 10:30 - 11:20 am  
Wall room 106
Lab Meets: Wall room 104
Tuesday 1:40 - 4:20 pm or 
Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 pm
Office Hours: W 9 - 10 am & F 9 - 10 am
 email to schedule appointments
Office: Wall 327
(last door on right, wing closer to library)
ICB Daily Readings
Weekly Lab Schedule

General Information:

Integrating Concepts in Biology - eBook <-- Buy your Spring 2024 textbook with code CAMPBELL-NTRPJ.

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 their 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 (molecular, cellular and organismal). 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 have access to all the images as PowerPoint slides as optional assignments in the daily reading schedule.

Prior to class, you can do the reading and watch the "Data Talks" videos which are available as a clickable list in your Book's library of "student resources". As you read, try to answer the Integrating Questions as they appear in the reading. Do NOT skip the questions to answer later. 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 weekend, 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 meeting. 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 physician’s 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 can bump your grade up or down by a +/-.

The format of each class will require each of you to read that day’s assignment and watch the associated Data Talks videos BEFORE you come to class. I will randomly "cold call" on everyone in class. I will ask you questions about the data you read prior to class. We will spend each class going through the figures and assembling what they tell us. 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 assigned in your reading, you are responsible for it.  

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 in-person laboratory absolutely free! Lab will be discussed further in lab and instructions are available in weekly installments.

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 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.

Campus Support for Your Learning

Your primary source of peer learning support and assistance for this course should be our embedded tutor Bella Shollenberger-Dunham (beshollenbergerdunha@davidson.edu). Please attend her scheduled help sessions, visit during her office hours, or ask her questions through e-mail or our online platforms. You may also schedule individual appointments as her schedule allows. The exact schedule for help sessions and office hours with the embedded tutor will be announced after January 16.

The Math & Science Center (MSC) will also have a small number of additional peer tutors available on a drop-in or by-appointment basis. The embedded, drop-in, and by-appointment tutors are trained and highly qualified peers that demonstrated deep understanding and succeeded in this course themselves. Located in the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) on the first floor of the College Library, the MSC’s drop-in hours are Sunday through Thursday, 8-11 PM, beginning Sunday, January 21. Prior to visiting for drop-in help, be sure to look at the tutor schedules to determine when an appropriate tutor for your course/topic will be present. Tutor schedules for drop-in assistance, as well as links to schedule an appointment with a tutor, can be found at https://www.davidson.edu/offices-and-services/center-teaching-and-learning/student-resources/math-science-and-economics-center (click on “Meet with Math or Science Tutor”). Peer assistance is free to Davidson students at the point of service. For more information, contact Dr. Mark Barsoum, Director of the CTL (mabarsoum 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 by emailing AADR@davidson.edu. 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 ASAP. 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 physician’s 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.

© Copyright 2024, A. Malcolm Campbell
Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: macampbell@davidson.edu