Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 211
Course Title:
Principles of Biology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Includes introduction to science, biochemistry, metabolism, the cell, molecular biology, and reproduction. The first course of a three-course sequence for students majoring in biology and the sciences, including premedical, pre-dental, chiropractic, pharmacy, and related fields. Prerequisites: WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores, and MTH 95 or higher. Prerequisites/concurrent: CH 151 or higher or pass the Chemistry 151 competency exam or instructor permission. Recommended: High school biology and chemistry within the past seven years. 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.

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.
The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation Ascience@ is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation Ascience@ 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

Students will be able to:
1. Apply biological theories and concepts from biochemistry and cell biology to novel problems in their lives and community (personal, work, and career).
2. Use the scientific method, including experimental design, data collection, and presentations of results and conclusions while analyzing their individual thinking and learning styles and how their styles can be integrated with methods used in science.
3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of scientific studies in biochemistry and cell biology and critically examine the influence of scientific and technical knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology on human society and the environment.
4. Develop informed positions and opinions on contemporary issues in biochemistry and cell biology, while considering ethical, scientific, community, and cultural implications.
5. Communicate concepts in biochemistry and cell biology using appropriate terminology in both written and verbal forms.
6. Competently enter and complete further work in the sciences, including Biology 212 and upper level courses in biochemistry and cell biology.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks may include:

o    open-ended essay questions and multiple-choice exams;

o    scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s);

o    oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results;

o    classroom assessments, such as, quizzes, one minute summaries, pre-test/post-tests, etc.;

o    major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals;

o    scientific article critiques;

o    laboratory practical exams;

o    and small projects and homework assignments.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes and Concepts include:
1. The properties of living things

2. Basic chemistry

3. How properties of water affect living things

4. Basic organic chemistry

5. Functional characteristics of organic macromolecules

6. Biochemical pathways and enzymes

7. Cell microanatomy

8. Membrane structure and function

9. Aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration

10. Photosynthesis

11. Binary fission and mitosis

12. Meiosis and sexual life cycles

13. Introduction to genetics including Mendelian genetics

14. Genetics of viruses and bacterial (optional)

15. Gene expression in eukaryotes (optional)

16. DNA technology (optional)

Biology 211 is relevant to many contemporary issues that may be discussed and explored during the course, such as, effects of pollution in aquatic systems, applications of gene therapy, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, unknown impacts of genetically modified organisms, etc.

Competencies and Skills:

o     Read scientific literature

o       Apply the scientific method

o       Use laboratory techniques and equipment

o       Locate and access biological information

o       Think critically

o       Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups

o       Articulate scientific processes in written and oral format

o       Present data in papers using the scientific format

o       Present conclusions logically