170 Lecture


BI 170 - General Biology: The Cell, Genetics, and Development

Fall 2018 Syllabus

Instruction Team:

Geoffrey Church, Ph.D.
Office: Bannow 207
Phone: Ext. 2485
Office Hrs: Wednesday 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Anita Fernandez, Ph.D.
Office: Bannow 212A
Phone: Ext. 2116
Office Hrs: Thursday 11-1 p.m.

Course Goals
BI 170 is the first semester of the three-semester introductory biology course. (The syllabi of all three semesters of the series can be found at www.faculty.fairfield.edu/genbio). Two professors will team-teach the course, each from her or his own area of expertise. Dr. Phelan will be leading the Cell Biology/Genetics portion of the course, and Dr. Church will be leading the Molecular/Developmental portion of the course. We will focus our attention on the unifying themes of biology using a variety of teaching tools including lectures, group discussions, interactive computer activities, and investigation-based laboratories.

Our specific goals are as follows:

* To build a knowledge base and acquire the intellectual tools necessary to succeed as a biologist.
* To become comfortable with the scientific process that biologists use (formulating and testing hypotheses) as they attempt to answer questions about the natural world.
* To appreciate why evolution is the "core theme of biology."

BI 170-01 or C01: Tues and Fri 9:30-10:45 a.m. - NHS 224
BI 170-02 or C02: Tues and Fri 12:30-1:45 p.m. - NHS 224

Students are assigned to a required three-hour laboratory period that meets once per week. Attendance to your assigned lab section is REQUIRED, and will be recorded at each meeting. You must pass the laboratory section in order to pass the class.

Peer Learning Groups (PLGs)
Students have been assigned to one of 12 PLG sections. Each PLG section is limited to 10-12 students and is led by an upper-division biology major. These sessions are designed to be small learning communities in which students can work together throughout the semester to become comfortable with the lecture material through problem-solving and other activities. Attendance to your assigned PLG section is REQUIRED, and will be recorded at each meeting.

Required Material (available at bookstore):
Biological Science Sixth Edition (Scott Freeman) with Mastering Biology access and Learning Catalytics access
• Lab Packet (Lab Manual/Custom Lab Notebook)
• Laptop, smartphone, or tablet with internet acces for in-class polling responses
. Lab coat (required at all times in the laboratory; can be purchased in bookstore or online)

Online Course Material:

All lecture slides and class announcements will be posted on Blackboard, which can be accessed through my.fairfield.edu.

There will be an online homework assignment after every lecture, and it will be due by midnight before the next class meeting time. All online homeworks for the course will be available through the Mastering Biology website http://www.masteringbio.com. Access to this site is restricted to members of the course, and requires an initial password that is provided in your textbook (or via your Mastering with eBook purchase). This password, and the course ID # “phelanbio170” will allow you to register for Mastering Biology. Our course site also has many other helpful study aids. It is the student's responsibility to check this site regularly between classes and take quizzes within the allowable window of time.


  • In-class exams (35%): The first exam will carry slightly less weight (8%) than the other three (each worth 9%).
  • Final Exam (25%): A cumulative final exam, prepared jointly by the two professors. The final exam is required to pass the course.
  • Laboratory (25%): This portion of your grade includes laboratory notebook, lab report, lab quizzes and two lab practicals (see Laboratory Syllabus).
  • Mastering Biology (8%) Online Mastering Biology quizzes will be assigned for each chapter, and will be due by midnight before the next class period.
  • Peer Learning Group Participation (5%): Perfect attendance and active participation in the PLG sessions will earn students the FULL 5%. Points will be lost for absences and/or non-participation.
  • In-class Question Polling Responses (2%): attendance and correct answers will be scored.

Course Policies

  • Class Cancellation: In case of class cancellation, the lecture material or exam scheduled for the missed day automatically moves to the next class meeting.
  • Attendance: You must attend your assigned lecture section. Attendance at each exam is required. There will be NO MAKE-UP EXAMS - INCLUDING THE FINAL! Pay attention to the date and time of the final exam, since no exams will be administered early.
  • Incompletes: The Biology Department strictly follows the University regulations for giving a grade of incomplete (I). An incomplete will be given only if the final exam cannot be taken for good reason (e.g. illness or conflict with other exam) and only if arrangements are made beforehand with the professor. IN NO CASE WILL AN INCOMPLETE BE GIVEN TO AVOID AN UNSATISFACTORY GRADE.
  • Mastering Biology quizzes: You are allowed to use your books and notes for the online quizzes, but you are NOT permitted to collaborate with your classmates.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the appropriation of ideas, data, work, or language of others and submitting them as one's own to satisfy the requirements of a course. Plagiarism constitutes theft and deceit and will not be tolerated. When the ideas or writings of others are presented in assignments, these ideas or writings should be attributed to that source. Do NOT cut and paste directly from a source, instead all writing should be IN YOUR OWN WORDS. When using ideas and materials from ANY source, appropriate documentation is always essential.
  • Academic Honesty: Consistent with the policy of the university, any form of cheating is a violation of academic honesty and integrity, and will jeopardize your grade in this class and, possibly, your standing at the university. Please see the university student handbook.


Resources such as the DiMenna-Nyselius Library (Ext. 2178) and the Writing Center are available to assist you in your academic endeavors.

Peer Tutoring – The office of Academic Support and Retention offers peer tutoring services for this introductory series of courses. The schedule for peer tutoring is posted on OrgSync, where you can sign up. We strongly encourage students to take advantage of this on a regular basis, as many students wait until the session immediately before the exam, which is often too late. If the scheduled peer tutoring sessions conflict with your schedule, please contact the office for exploration of alternatives.

Student Disabilities – Fairfield University is committed to achieving equal educational opportunities, providing students with documented disabilities access to all University programs, services and activities. In order for this course to be equally accessible to all students, different accommodations or adjustments may need to be implemented. Accessibility Supports for students with disabilities are available through the Academic and Career Development Center located in the Kelley Center. Accessibility can be reached at 203-254-4081. They are your primary resource on campus to help you develop an accessibility plan to help you achieve equal access in your courses this semester. Please make an appointment with them as early as possible this semester to receive a letter to present to me so that we can discuss how potential accommodations can be provided and implemented for this course. If you have received an accommodation letter, please provide us with that information privately so that we can review your accommodations together and discuss how best to help you achieve equal access in this course this semester.

Fall 2018 Lecture Syllabus

For ALL Lectures: You are expected to have read the chapter being covered in class
BEFORE the day of each lecture.

Geoff Church's Lectures

Tue. 9/5 Introduction - Chapter 1
Fri. 9/7 Protein Structure and Function - Chapter 3 (but not section 3.5)
Tue. 9/11 Nucleic Acids & the RNA World - Chapter 4
Fri. 9/14 Lipids, Membranes & the First Cells - Chapter 6
Tue. 9/18 Inside the Cell - Chapter 7
Fri. 9/21 EXAM I (Chapters 1,3,4,6,7)
Tue. 9/25 Mitosis - Chapter 12 (12.1-12.2)
Fri. 9/28 Meiosis - Chapter 13
Tue. 10/2 Regulation of The Cell Cycle & Cancer - Chapter 12 (12.3-12.4)
Fri. 10/5 Mendel and The Gene - Chapter 14
Tue. 10/9 NO CLASS - Fall Break
Fri. 10/12 Mendel and The Gene - Chapter 14 (cont.)
Tue. 10/16 Cell-Cell Interactions - Chapter 11
Fri. 10/19 EXAM II (Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14)

Anita Fernandez's Lectures

Tue. 10/23 DNA and the Gene: Synthesis and Repair - Chapter 15
Fri. 10/26 DNA and the Gene: Synthesis and Repair- Chapter 16
Tue. 10/30 Chapter 16 cont.
Fri. 11/2 Transcription, RNA Processing and Translation - Chapter 17
Tue. 11/6 Chapter 17 cont.; Control of Gene Expression in Bacteria - Chapter 18 (18.1-18.4)
Fri. 11/9 EXAM III (Chapters 15-17)
Tue. 11/13
Control of Gene Expression in Bacteria - Chapter 18 cont.
Fri. 11/16 Control of Gene Expression in Eukaryotes - Chapter 19 (19.1-19.5)
Tue. 11/20 Chapter 19 cont.; The Molecular Revolution - Chapter 20 (10.1-20.4) pp 37-38
Fri. 11/23 NO CLASS - Thanksgiving Break
Tue. 11/27 Chapter 20 cont.; Genes, Development and Evolution - Chapter 21 (21.1-21.3)
Fri. 11/30 Chapter 21 cont.; Embryonic Development - Chapter 47 (47.4)
Tue. 12/4 Chapter 47 cont.
Fri. 12/7 EXAM IV (Chapters 18-21, Chapter 47)
Tue. 12/18 BI 170-01/C01: FINAL EXAM - 8:00 a.m.
Fri. 12/14 BI 170-02/C02: FINAL EXAM - 11:30 a.m.

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