Syllabus

Picture of Buzz
Human Biology Online


BIOL 104, SEC 501, Fall 2016

Instructor: Buzz Hoagland, Ph.D.
eMail: bhoagland@westfield.ma.edu
Office: Wilson 212
Office phone: 413.572.5308
Online Chat: Wednesdays 9:00 PM

Course Description

Human Biology introduces the structure and function of the human body. Students will study the major systems of the human body, including reproduction, digestion and nutrition, circulation, respiration, nervous and hormonal control, and locomotion, through examination of and non-invasive experimentation with their own bodies, computer simulations, reading, and discussion forums. 4 semester hours.

Reading Materials

I will post links to relevant references for each topic covered in this course. You will need to read that information in order to answer questions posted in the Discussion Forum. You might also want to purchase a Human Biology textbook. There are many online sources for books, and you should be able to purchase a book that is several years old for less than $10.

Course Organization

We will not meet face-to-face during this course. All communication will be conducted online. There will be no exams. You will be evaluated on your participation in discussion forums, and conducting and reporting the results of various activities. Details about each of these will be posted on the weekly page.

I will be available for online chats on Wednesday evenings in the Human Biology Chatroom. You are not required to come to a chat session, I make it available for those who would like to use it.

The course is divided into 15 weeks beginning Wednesday 7 September and ending Tuesday 20 December. Each week will begin on Wednesday; new weekly pages will be posted no later than Tuesday evening. Assignments are due no later than 5 pm on the following Tuesday. For example, the first week's assignments must be submitted no later than 5 pm on Tuesday 13 September. Assignments posted later than these dates will not receive credit. The course is organized around the Weekly Page model. Each Weekly Page is divided into Announcements, Overview, Learning Objectives, Required Activities, and Additional References. The first page you see when you visit this site will be the most recent page. However, all weekly pages will be available throughout the semester.

You will be expected to read information on the linked sites and answer questions posted in the Discussion Forum each week. There will be two to three questions or statements that you need to respond to each week. Assignments are due no later than 5 pm on the following Tuesday. Assignments posted later than the due date will not receive credit. All activity reports must be posted on your individual course websites. Links to your individual course website can be found under the menu heading Student Web Pages in the navigation bar to the left.

I will respond to each individual discussion forum post during the first three weeks so that you obtain a better understanding of what is expected. After that, I will only post general comments to the specific discussion forum topic. Please review my comments closely during the first three weeks.

You are expected to be able to use web browsers to access various sites and conduct activities on those sites. Several sites require that your browser be Java enabled and of course the speed of your processor and internet connection will influence the quality of your interactions with the web site. You are also expected to be able to download .csv files and conduct simple graphical and numerical analyses using a spreadhseet program (e.g., MS Excel, Open Office, or Libre Office). I will post links to resources to help those who need it.

Announcements: Any last minute information (e.g., changes in the schedule) or instructions will be posted here.

Overview: A general overview will appear at the top of every weekly page.

Learning Objectives: This is what you should accomplish for this specific subject.

Required Activities: Links to the activities to be conducted during this week will be posted here. Please complete the week's activity and post your response no later than the following Tuesday at 5 PM.

Grading

As described above, I post discussion forum post comments and grades for the first three weeks on the page with your discussion forum posts. After that I post grades for discussion forum posts on your course web site. All activity report grades and comments are posted on your course web site where you post your report. If you post your report as a web page, then grades and comments are posted as a comment on the page. If you attach your report, I grade the report and add comments and then post a graded version on the same course web site where the original report was attached. After I post your grade to your course web site, I don't go back to that web site to see if students have concerns about a specific grade. If you have concerns, please email me with your concerns.

Scheme

Discussion forum posts and activity reports will be assigned numerical values of 0, 1, or 2. 0 points is unacceptable, 1 point is acceptable, and 2 points is very good. Final grades for discussion forum posts and activity reports will be calculated through use of an average value.

Final course grades will be calculated according to the following weights:

Weight Assessment
40% Contributions to Discussion Forums
60% Activity Reports

Scale

Grades will not be calculated on a curve. Therefore, you will not be competing with your classmates. Your final course grade will be determined as outlined above and assigned a letter grade according to the following scale:

Letter Grade Average Score
A   = >1.8
A - = 1.79 - 1.66
B+ = 1.65 - 1.52
B   = 1.51 - 1.38
B - = 1.37 - 1.24
C+ = 1.23 - 1.12
C   = 1.11 - 1.00
C - = 0.99 - 0.86
D+ = 0.85 - 0.72
D   = 0.71 - 0.58
F   = <0.58

Note: These ranges might be revised down, if necessary. They will not be raised. The minimum score for a given letter grade is guaranteed.

Academic Honesty

You are expected to uphold the highest principles of academic honesty as defined in the Academic Honesty Policy section of the University's student handbook:

"Academic honesty is expected of all members of the academic community. Academic dishonesty includes cheating on examinations, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submissions of a single paper, interference with use of materials, facilitating academic dishonesty, improper use of human and animal subjects, and failure to report incidents of academic dishonesty. Violations may result in failure of the assignment, failure of the course, or suspension or dismissal from the university."

You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with all academic policies and procedures of the University.

Participation

Posting to discussion forums and submitting activity reports by the deadlines is expected. Work submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Learning Outcomes


Knowledge

  1. The student will demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental building blocks and basic life processes of humans, knowledge of the structure and function of the major systems of the body, and knowledge of the life cycle of humans.

    Assessment: Basic knowledge of these facts, processes, and concepts will be assessed through use of postings to discussion forums and activity reports.

  2. The student will demonstrate knowledge of how to conduct a scientific investigation.

    Assessment: Knowledge of how to conduct a scientific investigation will be assessed through use of activity reports.


Skills

  1. The student will demonstrate knowledge of how to use various analytical and simulation software packages to solve problems and to improve conceptual understanding.

    Assessment: Knowledge of how to use various analytical and simulation software packages to solve problems and to improve conceptual understanding will be assessed through use of activity reports and postings in discussion forums.

  2. The student will demonstrate knowledge of how to obtain reliable information from a variety of sources (e.g., web, popular media, and scientific publications).

    Assessment: Knowledge of how to obtain reliable information from a variety of sources (e.g., web, popular media, and scientific publications) will be assessed through use of activity reports.

  3. The student will demonstrate knowledge of how to communicate the results of a scientific investigation.

    Assessment: Knowledge of how to communicate the results of a scientific investigation will be assessed through use of activity reports.

Special Needs

Any student enrolled in this course who has a disability that prevents the fullest expression of their abilities should contact me as soon as possible, so that we can discuss accommodations.