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When I went through intro biology way back when in the early 2000s, it was 100% a "weed out" class meant to eliminate people from the pre-med programs. You had three or four massive tests per semester, which meant that failing one would tank your score beyond repair. Despite this, I really did love my bio classes. They opened my eyes up and helped me realize that biology wasn't history - it was active. It was science in progress.

When I taught intro biology labs in the early 2010s, the philosophy was equally punitive, and the lab manager and I had many disagreements. I felt like compassion first was the best path forward. Needless to say, most of my kids got As. And no one failed.

Now as an adjunct instructor with a full time job in nonprofits, I want very much to help students from the next generation find a love for biology - just like I did - in their intro bio class. Unfortunately, our attention spans are falling rapidly. This makes absorbing difficult concepts even more challenging. So how do we do it? How do we teach Gen Z (and beyond) in a compelling, contemporary way? One that supports all learning styles?

Well, I'm going to find out. I taught intro bio (2) last summer as a synchronous class, but this year, it'll be completely asynchronous. Kids will have 6 weeks to pass or fail, and they'll have to do the labs, too. Let's see how far this teaching thing can really stretch!

This page is a temporary home for my teaching resources as I build them. I want to make sure that I can point students to a central place other than the course homepage for resources. A webpage that I own seems as good as any. Plus, maybe my resources can help other teachers trying to run an asynchronous class in 2023 and beyond.

In BIO1150 at Wright State, we are expected to cover the following topics:

  • Origins of Life and Evolution -- Campbell's Bio Ch 22-26; OpenStax Ch 18-20
  • Biological Diversity -- Campbell's Bio Ch 19, 27-34; OpenStax Ch 21-29
  • Plant Functions -- Campbell's Bio Ch 35-39; OpenStax Ch 30-32
  • Animal Functions -- Campbell's Bio Ch 40-51; OpenStax Ch 33-43 (I break this into 2 weeks, roughly, macro and micro)
  • Ecology & Applications -- Campbell's Bio Ch 52-56; OpenStax Ch 44-47

I'll be breaking out content by theme and learning objective, providing ample resources for students to excel at my tests, their labs, and biology in general. I'll use the OpenStax Bio2e text book as much as possible, because it's free, and has equivalent content to the Campbell's book without the big price tag.

Access the Bio2e Textbook for free at https://openstax.org/books/biology-2e/pages/1-introduction

Tools For Success

As an asynchronous class, this content will all be "at your own pace" which can be hugely motivating or hugely intimidating. Ultimately, it is up to you at what speed you move through it; whether you read everything or just skim; just watch the videos or read the text; or some combination thereof.

For the most success, I would recommend reading the text or using the video explanations of content to get you through. Rely on the learning objectives as guideposts, and use the review questions as a way to test your knowledge. Approach every topic 2-3 times to retain it better. If you don't understand one way that something is presented, use Google! Search engines are your best friend.

Unit 1: Evolution & The Origins Of Life

Unit one is small and intended as a warm up to the deep dive into the second half of biology for students.

Chapter 18: Evolution & The Origin of Species

Learning objectives:

  • (18.1) Understanding Evolution
    • Describe how scientists developed the present-day theory of evolution
    • Define adaptation
    • Explain convergent and divergent evolution
    • Describe homologous and vestigial structures
    • Discuss misconceptions about the theory of evolution
  • (18.2) Formation of New Species
    • Define species and describe how scientists identify species as different
    • Describe genetic variables that lead to speciation
    • Identify prezygotic and postzygotic reproductive barriers
    • Explain allopatric and sympatric speciation
    • Describe adaptive radiation
  • (18.3) Reconnection and Speciation Rates
    • Describe pathways of species evolution in hybrid zones
    • Explain the two major theories on rates of speciation

Chapter 19: The Evolution of Populations

Learning objectives:

  • (19.1) Population Evolution
    • Define population genetics and describe how scientists use population genetics in studying population evolution
    • Define the Hardy-Weinberg principle and discuss its importance
  • (19.2) Population Genetics
    • Describe the different types of variation in a population
    • Explain why only natural selection can act upon heritable variation
    • Describe genetic drift and the bottleneck effect
    • Explain how each evolutionary force can influence a population's allele frequencies
  • (19.3) Adaptive Evolution
    • Explain the different ways natural selection can shape populations
    • Describe how these different forces can lead to different outcomes in terms of the population variation

Chapter 20: Phylogenies and the History of Life

Learning objectives:

  • (20.1) Organizing Life On Earth
    • Discuss the need for a comprehensive classification system
    • List the different levels of the taxonomic classification system
    • Describe how systematics and taxonomy relate to phylogeny
    • Discuss a phylogenetic tree's components and purpose
  • (20.2) Determining Evolutionary Relationships
    • Compare homologous and analogous traits
    • Discuss the purpose of cladistics
    • Describe maximum parsimony
  • (20.3) Perspectives on the Phylogenetic Tree
    • Describe horizontal gene transfer
    • Illustrate how prokaryotes and eukaryotes transfer genes horizontally
    • Identify the web and ring models of phylogenetic relationships and describe how they differ from the original phylogenetic tree concept


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