BIO 310: Getting Started

Syllabus for BIO 310*

Web-class philosophy:

A web-based course is a program of faculty-assisted self study and community learning. The instructor and the teaching assistants for the course will guide you through your self study and facilitate discussion and interaction among the students. As part of the course, you will be required to read, study and take exams on scientific concepts based on material from your textbook. You will also be required to submit topical essays and the results of simple experiments, and participate in on-line exercises and class discussions. As is appropriate for any three-credit university class, you should expect to spend at least 12 hours a week working on the material for this class.


In this course we will use the human body as a model system for examining life processes. In particular, we will consider:

  1. the scientific method and critical thinking,
  2. how humans fit into the natural world, and
  3. the underlying mechanisms of human disorders and diseases.


The course is divided into six conceptual units:

  1. Science and the Characteristics of Life
  2. Bones, Nerves, Muscles and Movement
  3. Respiration, Circulation and the Blood
  4. Hormones and Reproduction
  5. Cell Division and Genetics
  6. Human Evolution and Ecology


For each unit, you will:


To prepare for this class, you should

Instructor: Alice Gibb, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, Northern Arizona University

Instructor Contact Information: You can reach me by phone (928-523-1524) or by electronic mail (Blackboard Mail). Virtual conversations can be scheduled (by appointment) and conducted using the Blackboard Chat function.

Teaching Assistant: During the first week of class, I will send out a Mail message identifying the Teaching Assitant (TA) for the semester and outlining his/her responsibilities.

Technical Support: Problems with Blackboard, your connection to NAU's servers, your web browser, browser plug-ins, etc. should be directed to the NAU Student Technology Center: Phone: 523-9294 or (toll-free) 1-888-520-7215. The instructor and Teaching Assistant are not qualified to help you with these questions

Required text:

Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues (3rd Edition): Purchase this textbook through [Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues (3rd Edition)] or the NAU bookstore, or you can buy an electronic version of the textbook through

Academic Policies:

Please familiarize yourself with NAU's academic policies before the beginning of the course.


(Due dates for various assignments can be found in the "Calendar" for the class)

Introductory Unit

Class Discussion




Point Distribution:
Unit Assignments (6 Content Units total) Number per unit Points per assignment Points % of Grade
Introductory Unit (Reading and Entry Quiz) N/A   40 4
Discussions every other unit 50 150 15
Experiments 1 50 300 30
Essays every other unit 100


Exams 1 30 180 18
Bonus: Awarded if all Assignments Completed on Time N/A   30 3
    Total: 1000 100


Extra Credit:

There will be one opportunity for extra credit in this class. If >90% of the students participating in the class complete the course evaluation before or at the beginning of finals week, then all students taking the class will be awarded 12 extra credit points during the final grading process.


Additional academic policies:

 *This syllabus is subject to minor changes and revisions.