Mini Syllabus

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Course ID: BIO105
Modality: Internet
Credit Hours: 4.00

Course Description and Competencies

Institution: Rio Salado College

Section: 13391

Term: Summer I 2014

Course Materials

Be sure that you have all the necessary materials prior to the start date of your course.

Required Software:

A PC (this course is not MAC compatible), Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader and Flash Player are required for this course. Please refer to your MySite page and click on the Software Purchase link for information on purchasing Word.

Other Materials Required for Course:

BIO105 Lab Kit. This may be purchased from the Rio Salado Bookstore.

Required Textbook:

Title:  Environment: The Science Behind the Stories w/ access code
Author:  Withgott and Brennan
ISBN: 9780558114527

Rio Salado College has developed a unique Textbook Savings Program that uses customized textbooks and saves students up to 50% off the original price of textbooks. This textbook is included in the Textbook Savings Program and has been customized specifically for this course at Rio Salado College by Pearson Custom Publishing so that it contains information most relevant to the course. Your course materials are available through the Rio Salado College Bookstore.  All materials should be verified by ISBN before purchasing at the Rio Salado Bookstore or from another seller.

The labs completed in this course require you to use various chemicals. You must be aware of the safety precautions associated with each of these chemicals. Read the **MSDS** sheets prior to beginning any experiment.

Course Description and Competencies

Official Course Description
Fundamentals of ecology and their relevance to human impact on natural ecosystems. Field trips may be required at students' expense.
Official Course Prerequisites
Official Course Competencies
  1. Explain the process of scientific inquiry.
  2. Describe how the environment, working through natural selection, has produced diversity of species.
  3. Describe areas of genetics related to the environment.
  4. Identify structure and function of atoms and molecules in organisms and ecosystems.
  5. Describe populations and natural communities as units of structure and function.
  6. Describe levels of organization and interactions within ecosystems.
  7. Identify problems associated with direct landscape alteration by humans.
  8. Identify problems associated with the pollution of the environment.
  9. Describe consequences of uncontrolled-population growth.

Course Requirements

  1. Examinations: A proctored midterm and final must be taken. You must take it in person.
  2. Final Grade: 56% of the final grade is earned through labs, essay assignments, quizzes, and two field trips. 44% of the grade is earned by taking the two in-person exams.
  3. This is a four credit-hour class. As such, you will need to dedicate significant time to this course. Plan to devote a minimum of 12-15 hours per week on your course and lab work. Be prepared to double your weekly class and study time if you choose an accelerated calendar.

Note: Combined scores on the Midterm and Final exams must have an average of 60% or better in order to receive a passing grade for the course. For example, if you received a 50% on the midterm exam and a 66% on the final exam, your average on those two exams would be a 58% and you would receive a failing grade for the course-even if your class grade, including your other assignments is passing.

Note: A passing average (60% or higher) must be earned in the laboratory portion of the course in order to receive a passing grade for the course. If a student does not earn an average of 60% or better on the laboratory portion of the class, the student will receive a failing grade for the class, even if the class grade, including all other assignments, is passing.

Grading Procedure and Scale

Grading Procedure and Scale

Grading procedures are administered equally to all students in the course. Do not expect to receive a grade higher than earned by your scored work. There will be no "point adjustments" made for such things as "class participation" or "grading on a curve" or "extra credit."

Labs, field reports   = approx. 25% of the total grade

Grading criteria will include form and format, observational accuracy, scientific method application, question response accuracy, and ability to apply concepts to the field of biology and/or the student's personal and/or professional lives.

Lesson quizzes = approx. 15% of the total grade

AYL essay responses = approx. 15% of the total grade

One Midterm Exam and one Final Exam = approx. 45% of the final grade

Each exam will include 80 multiple-choice (77%) questions and four essays (23%)

You will be given three hours to complete the midterm and final exams. You will have 45 minutes each for Parts 1 and 2 of the multiple-choice questions, and 90 minutes for the essays.

Grading Procedure

There are 4,700 possible points for this course

7 Essay assignments = 700 Points
8 Lesson quizzes = 720 Points
10 Lab assignments =               1,200 Points
2 Exam (s) = 2,080 Points

Total =


Grading Scale

Letter grades for assignments, examinations, and the course will be determined by the following scale:

4,230 - 4,700 points = A (90% - 100%)
3,760 - 4,229 points = B (80% - 89%)
3,290 - 3,759 points = C (70% - 79%)
2,820 - 3,289 points = D (60% - 69%)
0 - 2,819 points = F (0% - 59%)

Please Note: The grading procedure for this course is based on the total number of points possible.

The grading scale is administered equally to all students in the course. Do not expect to receive a grade higher than that earned by your total points. There will be no "point adjustments" made for such things as "class participation" or other subjective factors.

Please note: Extra credit is not available for this course.


There are two proctored, in-person exams for this course. Please review the "Grading Procedure and Scale" portion of your syllabus for details. Your course materials may give specific information about these exams and make suggestions for test preparation.

Check your course schedule posted in the announcement area by your instructor for specific due dates for your exam(s).

In-person exams are given at various locations throughout the valley for students who live in Maricopa County.

You may view information on Testing Sites to select the testing location and hours of operation that fit your needs. You may also contact our information line at (480) 517-8560.

Students who reside outside Maricopa County or who are registered with Disability Resources and Services can request a proctor. Please contact the Testing Center at (480) 517-8560. Requests can be made via the Internet by completing and submitting the proctor request form.

In-Person Examination Procedures

  1. There is no appointment necessary to take your exam. Exams can be taken during normal hours of operation at any Rio Salado College testing site.
  2. You must complete the final exam by your course end date.

Final Grade Options

  • Letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) - awarded if the student completes all work, including the final exams.
  • Extension (in lieu of Incomplete grade) - Students may request an extension because of illness or other extenuating circumstances, if they have been doing acceptable work. The instructor will define the requirements and timelines to complete the course. Please Note: Instructors are not obligated to give extensions.
  • Withdrawal - Students may submit a withdrawal request on or prior to the “Last Date to Withdraw” indicated in their RioLearn Gradebook.

    Students should not contact their instructor to request a withdrawal. A student wishing to withdraw from a class within the stated timeline must do so by visiting In extreme circumstances, students do have the option of requesting a complete withdrawal from the college by providing Student Enrollment Services with appropriate documentation.

Copyright Acknowledgements

Some images used in courses are licensed as follows: Accunet/AP Multimedia Archive,,, EBSCO Image Collection, ARTstor Image Collection.

Submitting Assignments

All assignments are listed under the "Readings, Resources, and Assignments" box and in the "Assessing Your Learning" sections of the online lessons. The lessons can be accessed from the "Open My Lesson" links on your lesson preview pages.

Note to students: Keep a copy of everything that you submit.

Students found to have used a free or paid site containing samples of essay questions, quizzes, exams or laboratory assignments will be removed from class and receive a failing grade.

Posting assessments on an unauthorized web site, soliciting assessment answers and the unauthorized acquisition of assessments, assessment answers, or other academic material is cheating.

Repeated cheating and/or plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course.

Syllabus Acknowledgement

Special Note: The online syllabus acknowledgement found under the Lesson Requirements on the Lesson 1 Preview Page will need to be completed prior to accessing any assignments for the class. If the online syllabus acknowledgement is not completed, students will not be able to open or submit any of the assignments for class. Additionally, if a student is purged from class and has been provided permission by the department to be reinstated, the syllabus acknowledgement must be completed upon reinstatement into the class; even if it had been previously completed.

Late or Missing Assignments

Assignments that have due dates are due on time according to the due dates in your online schedule posted by your instructor.

Late points may be applied at the instructor's discretion.

Course Completion Policy

A student who registers for a Distance Learning course is assigned a "start date" and an "end date." It is the student's responsibility to note due dates for assignments and to keep up with the course work.

Pursuant to the Attendance policy (AR2.3.2) found in the college catalog, students must remain active participants in this online class. When a student fails to participate for more than 7 days in an 8 week class, or for more than 14 days in a 16 week class, they will not be allowed to continue to participate in the class.

Library Services

The Rio Salado Library is committed to student success and provides a variety of materials and services to enhance student learning.  Utilizing Rio’s online library for your research is the best way to ensure that your sources are validated, authoritative, and appropriate for college-level coursework. Librarians are available to help you at all times via our Ask a Librarian live chat service. Also, the How Do I..? Streaming Video Series provides instruction on how to use the online library to find books, articles, ebooks, streaming films, and more.

Please note that when library materials (e.g., articles, ebooks, and streaming media) are integrated into your lesson content, you will see the notation “…provided to you through the Rio Salado Library.

Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct includes cheating, conspiring to cheat, soliciting to cheat, attempting to cheat, plagiarism, fabrication on an assignment, or other forms of dishonest presentation.

Posting assessments on an unauthorized web site, soliciting assessment answers and the unauthorized acquisition of assessments, assessment answers, or other academic material is cheating.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use of paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment.  It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling or sharing of term papers or other academic materials.  Information gathered from the Internet and not properly identified is also considered plagiarism.

We expect every student to produce his/her original, independent work. Any student whose work indicates a violation of the MCCCD Academic Misconduct Policy (including cheating and plagiarism) can expect sanctions as specified in the college catalog.

Rio Salado College uses software that uncovers plagiarism from student to student and other data sources on the Internet. If a student is found to have plagiarized content, grade consequences will be applied in accordance with departmental policies.

Civility Policy

The faculty of Rio Salado place a high value on the importance of general ethical standards of academic behavior and expect that communication between students and instructors or among students shall maintain the level of formality and mutual respect appropriate to any college teaching/learning situation.

Language or behavior that is rude, abusive, profane, disruptive, or threatening will not be tolerated. Activity of this type is Academic Misconduct as defined in MCCCD Policy AR 2.3.11. Students engaging in such behavior will be removed from the course with a failing grade. Additional sanctions may be applied pursuant to AR 2.3.11.

Requirement for Active Class Participation

Please note that students may be withdrawn from class for non-participation.

If you receive financial aid of any kind, it is your responsibility to protect your eligibility to receive financial aid by meeting the active participation requirements of this class.

Change of Address

Please notify Course Support at (480) 517-8243 or 1-800-729-1197 or by email at Please include your name, student number, phone number, and new address including city, state, and zip code.

Disability Statement

Rio Salado provides reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Please contact Disability Services at (480) 517-8562 or


Course content may vary from this outline to meet the needs of this particular group.

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