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BISC 102: Inquiry Into Life 

Human Biology 

Web Fall 2020 

Course Overview 

This is a survey course intended for non-biology majors and will cover a wide variety of topics that emphasize how the human body functions. The course will have an introduction to the process of science, genetics and inheritance in addition to an overview of the body systems. The class applies to the science requirement of the core curriculum at The University of Mississippi. The associated laboratory is BISC 103 and cannot be taken online. 

Goals of the Course 

The student will be presented information that will allow him/her to comprehend and make informed decisions about their basic health and issues that may become apparent over time. The information will also allow a student to evaluate and discuss topics associated with health and nutrition and to understand the scientific processes that are the foundation of scientific and medical advances. 

Learning Objectives 

In this course, you will learn about the science of life with an emphasis on the human body. After a semester of lecture and out-of-class work, each student should be able to: 

  1. explain how science proceeds and how scientific knowledge accumulates and leads to scientific theories. 
  2. demonstrate an understanding of processes that cells share, including energy production, reproduction, and communication. 
  3. convey an understanding of how the functioning of cells, organs, and tissues can influence the functioning and health of the human body; 
  4. explain how information flows from DNA to proteins and how humans have manipulated that process to better our health. 
  5. predict the inheritance of traits from one generation to the next and discuss the processes that influence it; and 
  6. participate in informed discussions of the role of biology in the functioning of the human body from the chemical, to cellular and ultimately to organ system level including related ethical and philosophical concerns. 

Ideally, this knowledge collectively will lead to a greater appreciation of the human body and the ability to maintain good health and to actively participate in medical care when needed. 

Instructor Contact Information 

Carol Cleveland, PhD 

Adjunct Instructor of Biology 

Email: bycmc@olemiss.edu 

(Please use this email address and note that it is not a go.olemiss address) 

Telephone: (662) 612-0499 – this is a number that you can use to text me or call and leave a message. 

Google Hangouts: bycmc@go.olemiss.edu 

Office Hours: Virtual or face-to-face – by appointment – contact me to schedule if necessary. Typically I can be available in the late afternoon and early evening. 

Weekly Zoom Office Hours (group): Sunday – 7:00-8:00pm 

Communication Policy 

  • E-mail anytime (bycmc@olemiss.edu). I will try my best to return e-mails within 24 hours (except on weekends). Be sure to state your full name at the end of the email. I cannot respond to messages and emails from people that are not identified. I teach several online classes and need to be able to identify the class that the student is in. 
  • Emails must come from your @go.olemiss.edu account. This is the official communication channel and I will not respond to emails about class that do not come from a known address. 
  • Google Voice (phone number): Do not call or text after 8:00pm on any night. I will respond within 24 hours, as I do with emails.
  • Grading may take up to a week (7 days). I typically do my grading on the weekends. Please do not email me grade related questions before 7 days have elapsed since the due date. If you have received a grade for an assignment you may then contact me with any questions on the grade. 

Required Materials



Hoefnagels, Marielle. 2019. Biology: The Essentials (third edition) Access Code 9781260806977 (includes etext and McGraw-Hill Connect access) – available at Ole Miss Bookstore 

Alternate Textbook Option: 

Hoefnagels, Marielle. 2019. Biology: The Essentials (third edition). McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN: 978-1259824913 – Purchase/Rent hard copy text 


McGraw-Hill Connect access (available through link in this course) 


A free trial access is available through the link in this course as well….it will get you started in the class until you purchase the access (2 weeks). 

Required Technology:

In order to take full advantage of all the features in this course, be sure you have the right technology at your fingertips. This includes: 

  • Internet Access: You must have access to the Internet, preferably high speed Internet, for the duration of this course. 
  • Software: You must have access to a computer with the following software installed: 
  • Microsoft Office – You must have consistent access to a professional word processor and a presentation program. Alternatives to MS Office are Open Office and Star Office. (I use docx and pptx files – please do not submit .pages files, I have a hard time getting them open on anything except my iPad that I do not always have available). 
  • Google Hangouts: free with your go.olemiss.edu account 
  • Blackboard-supported browser – Firefox 21, Chrome 27, Safari 6, and Internet Explorer 9 & 10 are compatible with the current version of Blackboard. We prefer Firefox on all computers. 
  • Google Chrome – the McGraw-Hill Connect and Smartbook works best on this browser. Safari is definitely not recommended. 
  • Proctorio Remote Testing add-in: All of your exams will be taken using Proctorio with video monitoring. You must have this downloaded into your Chrome browser and use it for all exams. I will provide one quiz prior to the first unit exam where you can work out the kinks in it. 
  • Download latest versions of these apps:
  • Hardware: 
    • Computer with consistent high-speed internet access 
    • Headset with microphone, recommended 
    • Computer Speakers, recommended 
    • Web-cam, recommended 

I recommend running the Blackboard Browser Check to verify installed plug-ins on your computer. 

Tech Support: 

The IT Helpdesk, centrally located in Weir Hall, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The helpdesk offers assistance to Ole Miss Students and employees with technology-related issues involving software, hardware and networking. It provides support for email, Wi-Fi, Microsoft Office and other campus-wide applications. Come by Weir Hall or call us at 662-915-5222. Email helpdesk@olemiss.edu or visit their website for more information.

UM Policy Information 

Copyrighted Materials 

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code. Under certain Fair Use circumstances specified by law, copies may be made for private study, scholarship, or research. Electronic copies should not be shared with unauthorized users. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability as well as disciplinary action under University policies. As an Ole Miss student, you must comply with the IT Appropriate Use Policy. For Appropriate Use Policy questions, send an email to aup@olemiss.edu. 

The materials on this course website are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. 

IT Appropriate Use Policy 

This policy sets forth the privileges of and restrictions on students, faculty, staff, and other users with respect to the computing and telecommunications systems offered by the University of Mississippi (UM). This policy is designed to protect the University community from illegal or damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly. Inappropriate use exposes the University to risks, including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues. This policy directly addresses copyright issues related to illegal downloads and peer-to-peer file sharing. For Appropriate Use Policy questions, send an email to aup@olemiss.edu. 

Academic Integrity 

The University of Mississippi is dedicated to supporting and sustaining a safe and scholarly community of learning dedicated to nurturing excellence inside and outside of the classroom. Each student has a duty to become familiar with University values and standards reflected in University policies, and each student has a duty to honor University values and standards reflected in University policies. These policies are outlined in the M Book. For a complete listing of policies, please visit the University Policy Directory.

Attendance Policy 

Because of the nature of this online class, students are not required to physically attend classes on campus. The course is presented on a weekly schedule of modules with assigned readings, connect and LearnSmart assignments, discussion boards and other material that must be addressed and completed. Students are required to “attend” class on a weekly basis by completing the material required within each module. Failure to do so will result in a zero for each incomplete assignment. Students may work at their own pace and complete assignments ahead of time, up to 2 weeks, however it will not be accepted late at all. All assignments will be available at least 2 weeks prior to the due date/time and students are encouraged to plan ahead so that last minute “technical difficulties” or emergencies do not hinder them from submitting work on time. I highly recommend starting assignments at minimum a day before the deadline. 

**Important Note

You have signed up for a Web-based class through OleMiss Online. All of the due dates for this class are set up prior to the semester starting. The entire class is prepared and ready to go before you even get access. It is considered to be an asynchronous class but there are specific due dates announced at the beginning of the course. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a lot of unknowns in our daily lives. In order for this class to run smoothly, I need to make sure that everyone knows the due dates and the policies. I will not be changing any published due dates for this class. You should have good internet access wherever you are and be on top of this class. Even though the due date is stated as 11:59 on Wednesday night that is not the only time you can submit work. Everything opens 2 weeks before its due date….plan accordingly, get ahead on your work so that if an emergency comes up, you are not left with your work incomplete. 

There will be no make-ups on work.

I allow 2 weeks to complete the work and I drop grades in each category of assignment (connect assignment, discussion/journal/dropbox, and module quiz) when I calculate the final grade. If you miss a deadline, those will be your drop grades. This allows a student to basically miss 1 week of work without it affecting their grade. The 4 unit exams cannot be dropped. 


  • A student is considered to have “abandoned” the course if they do not submit assignments for 3 consecutive weeks. I will attempt to contact the student if this happens and give them warning to withdraw from the class if that option is still available with the University. Otherwise, an F will be recorded as the final grade that will be designated as abandonment.
  • If a student tests positive for Covid-19 and feels that they are unable to complete their work, they will need to contact me as soon as possible so that I can make appropriate arrangements per University Policies. You will be required to submit verification of your status per University Policies and no accommodations will be made without this verification (zeros can be reversed if I receive proper information). 
University COVID-19 Information 
  • Properly worn face coverings or face masks are required inside all University buildings. Face-to-face sessions will not proceed unless all present have properly worn face coverings or face masks. (Students who have a diagnosed health concern which interferes with the wearing of face coverings or face masks may contact the Student Disability Services (SDS) Office to seek a University-approved accommodation. Please contact SDS at https://sds.olemiss.edu/ for more information.) 
  • Students and faculty must complete the daily symptom checker before any face-to-face class meeting. 
  • Students and faculty must quarantine for 14 days if they have a positive COVID-19 test, possible virus exposure, or display any symptoms related to COVID-19. 
  • Students with COVID-19 should seek medical attention at the Student Health Center and contact their instructor to let them know that they are sick, quarantined, or have some other health-related absence. 
  • If students test positive for COVID-19 at any health care facility, they must contact the Student Health Center at 662-915-7274. (Faculty and staff should contact the Employees Health Service at 662-915-6550.) University Health Services will coordinate contact tracing to lessen the likelihood of spread. 
  • Upon entering the classroom, students and instructors should use provided cleaning supplies to wipe down the surfaces that they will touch during the class.Students have been informed of the COVID-19 guidelines for the school year (including face covering, social distancing, hand hygiene, etc.); therefore, students will not be allowed in classroom spaces when they are out ofcompliance with these guidelines.
  •  The University’s Academic Conduct and Discipline Policy states that “disorderly behavior that disrupts the academic environment violates the standard of fair access to the academic experience.” Failure to adhere to health requirements during the COVID-19 emergency will be deemed as disruptive to the classroom and will be enforced following the Academic Conduct and Discipline procedures.
  • The University of Mississippi has adopted a tiered disciplinary protocol for non-adherence to COVID-19 health requirements. This disciplinary protocol is maintained by the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct (https://conflictresolution.olemiss.edu/). 

Verification of Student Attendance Policy 

The University must abide by federal guidelines to verify the participation of online students. For all course types, including thesis, internships, labs, online courses, etc., the instructor must verify your participation based on some type of participation. This may include submission of an online assignment or other course related contact with the instructor. (However, simply logging into Blackboard will not count as an academically related activity.) Attendance Policy for Online Education 

Student Identity Policy 

Federal regulations, our accrediting agency (SACS) and university policies require that safeguards are used to ensure that the student who receives the academic course credit is actually the person doing the work. You will need to present your student ID before taking proctored exams and your instructor may verify your identity through live or virtual meetings, or by using an identity verification program. 

Student Privacy Policy 

The University of Mississippi protects the privacy of all students, including online and distance learning students, through adherence to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) through compliance with other institutional policies and procedures governing the management and security of protected information of faculty, staff, and students, and by outlining the expectations of privacy for the university community as regards to electronic information. Student Privacy Policy 

Standards of Honesty 

The University of Mississippi upholds honor and academic integrity in all of its teaching, research, and service activities. All faculty, staff, and students are charged with the responsibility to behave with personal and professional integrity and to refrain from dishonorable conduct. 

If an incident of academic misconduct occurs in this course, the student will receive a failing grade on the assignment/quiz/exam itself. Particularly egregious incidents may result in a grade of “F” for the semester.

Proctored Exam Integrity

Your unit exams will be taken through Proctorio Remote Proctor. This requires the use of a web-cam for the duration of the exam. You should make sure that the web cam is always focused on your face, the entire face can be seen, not just the top of your head, and the lighting is such that the area is visible (windows behind you make you dark and not visible). When you are asked to scan the room, you must do so in a manner that shows the entire room and your desk or table top. No books, cell phones or other people should be in your immediate vicinity. After exams are taken, I check the recordings for anomalies and other people present, constant looking at an object out of view of the camera, and talking out loud by the student tend to get flagged. If I determine that the integrity of the exam is affected, you will be required to retake the exam while I monitor you directly with zoom or take a zero on the exam. 

Important Note:

All homework assignments, quizzes, tests, and other exercises are to be considered individual assignments unless the instructor specifically identifies an assignment as a group assignment. The student should refer to the “M” Book for general definitions of academic dishonesty. Written assignments may be required to be submitted to TurnItIn.com to verify the originality of the work. 

Disability Access and Inclusion: 

The University of Mississippi is committed to the creation of inclusive learning environments for all students. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your full inclusion and participation, or to accurate assessment of your achievement, please contact the course instructor as soon as possible. Barriers may include, but are not necessarily limited to, timed exams and in-class assignments, difficulty with the acquisition of lecture content, inaccessible web content, and the use of non-captioned or non-transcribed video and audio files. If you are approved through SDS, you must log in to your Rebel Access portal at https://sds.olemiss.edu to request approved accommodations.

If you are NOT approved through SDS, you must contact Student Disability Services at 662-915-7128 so the office can:

  1. determine your eligibility for accommodations,
  2. disseminate to your instructors a Faculty Notification Letter,
  3. facilitate the removal of barriers, and
  4. ensure you have equal access to the same opportunities for success that are available to all students.”

BISC 102 Teaching Method 

The student is expected to have read assigned materials as listed on the course schedule each week. The assignments within each module emphasize the primary concepts from each chapter and must be completed before the published due date. Because of the nature of this class, it is essential that each student allocate adequate time to prepare for every module. Do not get behind! 

Issues approach:

Students should understand that this course will cover some controversial issues and the selected materials will present a scientifically relevant discussion of those topics. Students are welcome to share opinions on the topics but must be respectful of all participants, whether or not they agree with points being made in the class. 

Learning Objectives:

Included in each module is a list of objectives for the module. The questions on the two proctored exams are chosen to assess those learning objectives. Connect quiz questions are chosen to determine your understanding of the assigned readings (and your ability to find answers). The additional assignments are geared toward the learning objectives and give a broader understanding and relevance of the concepts described in the reading. If you want to determine how you will do on the exam, assess this by addressing each of the objectives. 

Course Requirements 

In a “traditional” class, you would spend 2.5 hours per week in a lecture setting. You would also be expected to spend several (5-7.5) hours per week outside the classroom reading and completing homework assignments. You should expect to spend a similar amount of time each week on this class. Most students discover that the online class often requires fewer hours per week due to the elimination of the “normal” lecture time. If you exercise some self-discipline in your approach to this class, you should have no difficulty completing all assignments and quizzes within the total weekly time associated with a “traditional” class. It is important that you do not fall behind in this class. 

Modules will open 2 weeks before their due dates and close at the time they are due. The absolute deadline for all module assignments will be due on Wednesday evenings by 11:59 Central time. This gives the student plenty of time to complete the assignment without waiting until the last minute. Travel, whether school / athletic associated or personal, will not be accepted as an excuse for not completing assignments. It is expected that if a student has any type of travel they will arrange to complete the work early. It is the student’s responsibility to know their schedule and keep up with their work. I understand that emergencies often happen, therefore I suggest that the students do not procrastinate and do get an early start on their work. Nothing will be accepted after the posted due date, no exceptions. This course works best for those students that plan ahead and make sure that assignments are turned in well ahead of their due time (I accept early assignments). 

All Exams will be on Mondays including the final. All exams will open at 12:01am and close at 11:59pm on the scheduled day. You can take them any time during that window but they must be completed by 11:59 as they will be marked late with a 5% deduction in score for every minute they are submitted after midnight. 

Module / Classwork Assignments 

LearnSmart/Smartbook Chapters, Powerpoint Chapter Summaries (0% of grade) 

LearnSmart/Smartbook assignments will accompany each chapter covered and are accessed through a link in the module but are not an assignment to be graded. This technology is an adaptive learning system. As such, it is designed to work with a student to ensure that they are understanding the material assessed. This tool is a guided reading activity where the textbook is linked to practice study questions. The student is asked to first read portions of the chapter and as they make their way through they are directed to practice questions. The practice questions allow the student to say whether or not they are comfortable with the material before they submit the answer and those responses are used to guide further study. Also each question typically has a link to the relevant text passages. The activity will move between reading and questions until the student demonstrates adequate knowledge of the material. 

I will also be providing a video summary with a powerpoint presentation for each module. These videos are for use in this class only and access to them is not to be distributed in any way (see copy write information). 

These tools will not be used in the grading of the course but should be thought of as taking the place of an instructor’s lecture on the material. 

Module Connect Assignments (up to 10% bonus to final grade) 

Connect assignments will be available on the McGraw-Hill Connect site accessed by a link in the module and will cover the course content. Typically you should at least read the chapter and do the LearnSmart assignment before attempting these. A student will have 2 attempts at each assignment and the questions will be randomly chosen from a pool of questions. Questions will include true/false, multiple choice, figure labeling, ordering of processes and matching. Questions may involve multiple parts or may be a single question. There are hints available to use if needed. Again, to reach your maximum score you should prepare for the questions before you attempt it. After the first attempt, re-read material that you were unsure of and then take the second attempt. They will be available for practice attempts after the due date…..no extensions will be allowed on these for points. 

Each Connect assignment that you complete with a score of at least 50% (prior to the due date) will add 1% to your final average up to a total of 10%. They will not be used in calculation of the running total grade until the end of the semester when I will add them in. 

Module Quizzes (25%) 

Module Quizzes will be available in the Blackboard module page and will cover the course content. They are designed with questions that are in standard multiple choice format. Each quiz will have 20 questions and you will be given 15 minutes to complete it. These should be considered a closed book test. You will obtain maximum scores by preparing well before you attempt the quiz. Typically you should at least read the chapter, watch the summary video and study the outline of the chapter. Again, to reach your maximum score you should prepare for the module quizzes well (like you would a quiz or exam in a normal class) before you attempt it. You will get a score for the quiz but will not be given access to it again to see errors. 

Unit Exams and Final Exams (65%) 

There are 3 unit exams and a final for this online class. Each of the exams will have a practice exam that you can take one time to see if you are prepared for the proctored exam. 

The 3 unit exams will have 50 questions and will cover all material from the modules within the unit. These questions will be randomly pulled from a large pool of questions. You will be given 50 minutes to complete each exam and you will be required to use Proctorio with a web cam while taking it. 

The final exam will be the fourth unit exam (50 questions) plus a comprehensive portion (25 questions) from the entire course. The comprehensive portion will be very general questions that assess whether the student is taking away the necessary basic information. You will be given 75 minutes for the final exam and it must also be taken using Proctorio.

Each of the exams will be open for a 24-hour window and you may take it any time during that window. I will not make exceptions to this unless there are extenuating circumstances are brought to my attention prior to the exam opening. 

The best way to study for these exams is to review the learning objectives from each module and study the chapter outlines and watch the video summaries. 

Miscellaneous Module Discussions/Journals/Assignments (Participation grade – 10%) 

In each module there will be an assignment that is geared towards understanding the relevancy of the textbook material. They are designed to allow the student to see how the covered information can pertain to everyday life. You will be given a choice of 2 assignments of which you must complete 1. From previous semesters, students find these activities to be the most interesting because they make the material “relevant”. (12 0’s will be dropped at the end of the semester in this category…..I must put grades in for every assignment) 

Types of Miscellaneous Assignments: 
Discussion Boards 

Each discussion board grade will be based on participation and contribution to the discussion. You will be expected to make an original post, expressing a supported position on a topic. You will often need to research to find documentation for your posts. After you have posted your original response to the prompt, you will be given access to other student’s posts. You will then be required to respond, appropriately and respectfully to at least 2 other student posts. Because you have to write responses to other posts, it is very important that you start the discussion board early. (Students in the class will get very frustrated if there are no posts to respond to by about Thursday night) You will not be graded on your opinion in the response but your grade will be based on participation, accuracy of information, and referencing sources. As long as you support your argument and are respectful of others’ opinions you will earn credit for the assignment. Discussions will end at 11:59pm on the due date. After that time, the discussion will no longer be available. Your response posts should be to the posts for which you have something insightful to say, not just “I agree”. 

Your discussion board posts should be substantive and should reference reading assignments, web references, lecture notes or outside resources. Response posts must be respectful of others’ ideas. Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to any class members. Rude, obscene, or disrespectful posts will not be tolerated. Part of the nature of this class is for participants to help each other troubleshoot problems and develop critical-thinking skills. Working through questions on the discussion forum is an excellent method to develop proficiency in these areas. Disrespectful responses and “I agree” or “I disagree” type responses will not be used in calculation of any grade. 


Journal assignments will be research on a topic pertinent to the modules main idea. You will be given a topic to research and you will need to write a 300-500 word essay on the topic with correct citations. These topics often will require opinions or anecdotal information but will be graded on content. All information must be scientifically correct and cited correctly. The journals are not visible to other students, just to the instructor and only the instructor can make comments on them. 

Online Blackboard Activities and Dropbox Assignments 

These assignments may include web scavenger hunts, videos, click and learn activities and others, along with some assessment, including writings, quizzes, etc. 

Rules for Written Assignments 

Every submitted assignment must follow English grammar rules. Proper language, punctuation and sentence structure are required. Colloquialisms, slang and text talk are not appropriate. Proper biological and scientific terminology, especially related to the topic of the module, is required. Citations are required for most written assignments. Assignments not containing proper citations will not be graded. 

Grading Policy 

University Grading Policy 

The University uses a grading scale that includes the grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, and F, in addition to W and I. A web site, https://olemiss.edu/info/grading.html, explains the grading scale.

Inquiry Into Life Biology Course instructors use the +/- system that the University adopted. As such, the grade distribution will be as follows: 

  • A 90-100% 
  • A- 88-89.9% 
  • B+ 85-87.9% 
  • B 80-84.9% 
  • B- 78-79.9% 
  • C+ 75-77.9% 
  • C 70-74.9% 
  • C- 68-69.9% 
  • D 60-67.9% 
  • F Below 60 

Breakdown of Grading for BISC 104 online

Assignment Type

Percent of Total Grade


10% total 

Module Connect Assignments 

Up to 10% bonus points – not added until end 

Module Quizzes 

25% (drop lowest score) 

Unit Exams (1-3) 

15% each (cannot be dropped) 

Unit 4 / Final Exam 

20% (cannot be dropped) 

**Blackboard is set to give you a running average and therefore reflects what you are currently doing but may be lower/higher than expected because it is a weighted grade. The number of points is not a good indicator of your grade in the class. The grade is weighted with unit exams counting much more than weekly assignments.