Spring 2013: BIOL-22700 Genetics
- Andrew Becker, Lecture TA – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elitsa Stoyanova, Tuesday lab TA – email@example.com
- Josh Messinger, Wednesday lab TA – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Adam Longwich, Thursday lab TA – email@example.com
Course description and objectives:
Genetics is the study of inherited traits and variation. Although the term “genetic” is often used in association with disease, our genes provide a great variety of characteristics that create much of our individuality, from our hair and eye color, to the shapes of our body parts, to our talents and personality traits. This course is aimed at explaining the basics of genetics and inheritance, while also providing you the tools and knowledge to ask informed questions about genetics-related policies, news reports, and even your own genome. This course will cover basic mechanisms of inheritance, molecular genetics, a variety of genetic laboratory techniques, and introductory genomics, and will lay a strong foundation for further studies in the biological sciences.
Specific learning objectives:
- Understand the principles of genetics from the molecular level to the whole organism as well as populations. This is essential for preparing students for more advanced coursework in cell and molecular biology!
- Appreciate recent advancements in genetic engineering, biotechnology, and genomics as well as their impact on the individual and society.
- Be able to solve a variety of genetic problems and think analytically.
- Be able to conduct basic experiments in genetics and molecular biology and interpret the data obtained. Laboratory experimentation will demonstrate how research works!
- Understand the language of genetics and effectively communicate genetic principles in both written and oral forms.
Format and procedures:
Class periods will consist of 75-minute lectures twice per week plus a laboratory section, with questions and discussion highly encouraged. Students will be evaluated on material from assigned readings as well as material presented in class, and are thus expected to attend all classes, take notes during class, and do the assigned reading. Powerpoint lecture slides will be posted on Sakai the night before each lecture, and students are encouraged to look at them and/or bring them to class. These notes are not intended to replace lecture attendance, and students are expected to take additional notes in class. Clickers will be used to calculate attendance and to facilitate in-class participation. Students will be expected to come to class prepared, be actively engaged during class, participate during class by asking and answering questions, and be respectful of others. Cell phone use is not permitted during class.
Class attendance and participation:
- Students are expected to attend all lectures, be actively engaged while in class, and read the assigned readings (preferably before class). Students are also encouraged to participate in class discussion as well as by posting on the course blog, located on the Sakai site. Class attendance and participation will be measured primarily through the use of clickers. If you forget your clicker, but are present for class, please see me before or after class to note your attendance. Students are allowed 2 unexcused absences, and are responsible for making up any missed material. If you must miss class due to religious reasons, discuss this with me at the start of the semester. Other absences should be discussed with me ahead of time.
- Attendance at labs is mandatory. If you must miss a lab, you are encouraged to attend a different lab section that week. Be sure to make prior arrangements with me.
- Attendance at exams is mandatory. If you must miss an exam for any reason, you must notify me in advance. Failure to do so may result in a zero grade on your exam. Exemptions for religious holidays will be made in accordance with Ithaca College policy and New York State law.
- The required course textbook is Genetics: A Conceptual Approach, 4th edition, by Benjamin A. Pierce (Looseleaf version, including a Solutions and Problem Solving manual, available at the bookstore, ISBN: 9781464117251). The equivalent hardcover version may also be purchased elsewhere (ISBN: 9781429232500).
- ResponseCard NXT clickers are also required for the course (ISBN: 9781934931493).
- The course website located on Sakai will be the main source of course information, including the syllabus, course schedule, lecture slides, course announcements, and links to supplemental material shown in class. Homework quizzes will be assigned and turned in on Sakai. You can log into Sakai at https://sakai.ithaca.edu.
- There will be three in-class exams, which will include multiple choice and short answer questions as well as problems (similar to those found on the problem sets).
- Weekly homework quizzes will be distributed and submitted on Sakai, and are due before the start of class each Tuesday. Late quizzes will receive no more than half credit.
- Three problem sets will be assigned prior to your exams and will be returned to you in class prior to the exam for study purposes. Problem sets must be submitted in person at the start of class on the due date. Working with peers is highly encouraged, but each student should complete their own problem set and is responsible for the material. Similar problems will be on exams.
- Lab notebooks will be collected twice during the semester, and lab work and science writing proficiency will also be assessed in lab reports (3 partial and 1 full). The remainder of your lab grade will consist of a poster presentation that you prepare based on an article from the primary research literature. You will present this poster during the last two weeks of classes. More information will be provided during your laboratory section.
- You will have a comprehensive final exam that covers all of the material from the semester, including anything covered on in-class exams, problem sets, and lab exercises.
- Attendance and participation (5%)
- Homework quizzes (5%)
- Problem sets (10%)
- In-class exams (40%)
- Lab notebook (10%)
- Lab reports (10%)
- Lab poster presentation (5%)
- Final exam (15%)
There is no extra credit!
All work that you submit should be your own. Information obtained from external sources should be fully and appropriately cited. Any written assignments in this course may be checked for plagiarism using Turnitin. Academic dishonesty can lead to a zero grade on an assignment, a failing grade in the course, academic code probation, or suspension/expulsion from the college depending on the gravity of the violation and the decision of the judicial board.
Accommodations for students with disabilities
In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation will be provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Students must register with Student Disability Services and provide appropriate documentation to Ithaca College before any academic adjustment will be provided.
Mental health statement
Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance. The source of symptoms might be related to your course work; if so, please speak with me. However, problems with relationships, family worries, loss, or a personal struggle or crisis can also contribute to decreased academic performance. Ithaca College provides cost-free mental health services through the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to help you manage personal challenges that threaten your personal or academic well-being. In the event I suspect you need additional support, expect that I will express to you my concerns and the reasons for them. It is not my intent to know the details of what might be troubling you, but simply to let you know I am concerned and that help (e.g., CAPS, Health Center, Chaplains, etc.), if needed, is available. Remember, getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do - for yourself and for your loved ones.
Course evaluations are strongly recommended prior to completion of our classes. Student input is highly valued and is important to maintain high quality instruction. Please complete the course evaluation at the end of the semester so that we can continue to improve our instruction and the course.