Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 212
Course Title:
Principles of Biology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Includes inheritance, the genetic code, modern and classical genetics, evolution, diversity, and systematics. May include some dissection of plants and animals. The second course in a three-course sequence for students majoring in biology and the sciences, including pre-medical, pre-dental, chiropractic, pharmacy, and related fields. Prerequisites: BI 211 and its prerequisite requirements. 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:
• apply biological theories and concepts to novel problems in genetics, evolution, and systematics;
• assess the strengths and weaknesses of scientific studies in genetics, evolution, and systematics and critically examine the influence of scientific and technical knowledge of genetics, evolution, and systematics on human society and the environment.
• apply concepts from genetics, evolution, and systematics to their lives and community (personal, work, and career);
• develop informed positions and opinions on contemporary issues in genetics, evolution, and systematics, while considering ethical, scientific, community, and cultural implications;
• communicate concepts in genetics, evolution, and systematics using appropriate terminology in both written and verbal forms.
• competently enter and complete further work in the sciences, including Biology 213 and upperlevel courses in genetics, evolution, and systematics.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

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. Introduction to genetics including Mendelian genetics
2. The chromosomal basis of inheritance
3. The molecular basis of inheritance
4. The transcription and translation of genes
5. Evolution by natural selection
6. Population genetics and microevolution
7. Speciation
8. Macroevolution and phylogenetic reconstruction
9. Early Earth and the origin of life
10. Survey of biodiversity: prokaryotes
11. Survey of biodiversity: origins of eukaryotic diversity
12. Survey of biodiversity: plants colonize land
13. Survey of biodiversity: evolutionary significance of fungi
14. Survey of biodiversity: invertebrate animals and the origin of animal diversity
15. Survey of biodiversity: vertebrate phylogeny
16. Genetics of viruses and bacteria (optional)
17. Gene expression in eukaryotes (optional)
18. DNA Technology (optional)
Biology 212 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, primate evolution, 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