Course Content and Outcome Guide for BI 198 Effective Winter 2016

Course Number:
BI 198
Course Title:
Independent Study - Biology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Provides an opportunity for students to work independently on an individualized area of study within biology under the sponsorship and guidance of a biology faculty member. Prerequisites: Instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Biology Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.
I. Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
II. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).
Biology instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion of course, students will be able to:

  • Meet the outcomes mutually agreed upon by the student and instructor for this independent study course.
  • Successfully transfer and perform at a four-year college or university or other program of interest to the student. 
  • Apply the scientific method and biological concepts in novel settings for lifelong learning.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks may include:

  • scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s);
  • oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results;
  • interpretation of field or lab studies;
  • major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals;
  • scientific article critiques;
  • laboratory practical exams or quizzes;

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes and Concepts may include any subset of the following:
1. The chemistry of life
2. The cell
3. Genetics
4. Mechanisms of evolution
5. Evolutionary history of biological diversity
6. Plant form and function
7. Animal form and function
8. Ecology
Biology 198 is relevant to many contemporary issues, such as, human biology and disease prevention, the patenting of genetically engineered organisms, ethics of cloning, allowing genetically modified foods, effects of pollution, human impacts on food webs and ecosystems, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, etc.

Competencies and Skills:

  • Use field and laboratory techniques and equipment. This may include field skills or more conventional or more high tech lab techniques.
  • Locate and access biological information relevant to area of study
  • Think critically
  • May collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
  • Articulate scientific processes in written and/or oral format
  • Present data using the scientific format
  • Present conclusions logically
  • Read scientific literature
  • Apply the scientific method