Biology 100/103 - Concepts in Biology
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·         Lecture: TR 9:30 - 10:45 Yokum Hall 206

  • Dr. José de Ondarza, Hudson Hall 211, 564-5156
Office Hours
  • MWF 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Course Description: Main concepts in biology with particular reference to human biology. Significance of these concepts to human life and their impact upon society. For non-science majors only.

BIO100/103 Student Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, the student will be able to:

1.      Describe fundamental principles of biology

2.      Apply concepts in genetics and evolution including the principles of inheritance and natural selection

3.      Identify the biological concepts underlying global issues like climate change, antibiotic resistance, disease transmission, and access to health care.

4.      Identify the consequences of global biological issues and an individual’s personal responsibilities and influence in a diverse, highly interconnected global community.

5.      Apply biological concepts to novel problems that are global in scope

This course has been approved for the Natural World category of the Cardinal Core Curriculum
Attendance policy

Attendance during lecture periods is expected. Lectures will cover the topics outlined in the course calendar (see below) and may contain material not covered by the textbook. Students are responsible for all material covered in lecture, as well as any announcements made during the lecture period. Test questions will be from material covered in class. Weekly quizzes will be given in class on Tuesdays and missed quizzes cannot be made up.

Reading Assignments

Chapters and/or page numbers assigned for each lecture are indicated on the course calendar. Readings should be completed before the corresponding class period. The reading assignments are intended to illustrate, support, supplement, and expand on the lectures. All exam questions will come from material covered in the lectures. As such, the text will provide invaluable aids to studying and serve as a reference for the many terms and concepts we will cover. Please take the reading assignments seriously. 


Email is the official and formal mode of communication for BIO100/103. Emails will be sent to the email address associated with your student account. Students are asked to use their email account for all communication with me.

Course web sites

The course web site ( and the BrightSpace course site for Bio 100/103 contain review sheets, class notes and lecture outlines, instructions for assignments and important resource links.  Content posted to these two sites is an official part of the course.

Grading policy

Your lecture course grade will be based on the following (500 points total):

  • 4 exams (100 points each)
  • 1 term paper (50 points)
  • 10 Quizzes @ 5 points each (50 points)

BIO100 grades will include lab (25%). Exams will cover material as indicated on the calendar.  

Exams are given in class as scheduled on the course calendar, are multiple choice in format, and cover course material as indicated on the lecture calendar

Make-up exams are available only if: 1) you notify me prior to the scheduled exam time, or 2) you miss an exam for a valid reason, such as a medical emergency. Make-up exam are given during finals week and may differ in format from the original exam; only one exam may be made up.

Term Paper: 5-10 pages, based on your research about a topic in Biology. Topics must be approved by the instructor and reflect on an issue of global significance and our personal responsibility in addressing this issue. Term papers are intended to go beyond the scope of the textbook, include research into the current scientific literature, and promote your written and oral communication skills. Plagiarizing part or entirety of your paper may result in a grade of “0” for the term paper and/or the course. Due April 26.

Quizzes will be posted on Brightspace every week and consist of short writing assignments related to biological issues of significance as discussed in class that week. 5 points each (your best 10 quiz scores will count). Due Tuesdays at the beginning of class.

Grading scale


93% – 100%


80% - 82%


67% – 69%


90% – 92%


77% – 79%


60% – 66%


87% – 89%


73% – 76%


< 60%


83% – 86%


70% – 72%



Honor Code

 It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the college catalog.


You will be asked to read and acknowledge the course plagiarism policy found on the course Brightspace site. (Academic Dishonesty/Plagiarism Policy)

How will Plagiarism/Academic dishonesty be dealt with?

Depending on the perceived severity of the offense (Intentional or inadvertent? How much of the course grade was affected? How much of an assignment was plagiarized? Was this a repeat offense?) the instructor may mark down the assignment by one letter grade, give a grade of "0" for the assignment, give a grade of "E" for the course, and/or refer the student to the campus judicial committee for academic dishonesty. This will result in a hearing before the judicial committee and may result in expulsion from the University. 

Use of electronic devices in class

All electronic devices such as computers, phones, iPods etc should be turned off during class time except if needed for emergency contacts. No electronic devices are permitted to be in use during exams, including but not limited to cell phones, Blackberries, iPods, calculators, and electronic dictionaries. If you require special testing conditions, please contact Student Support Services.

Writing Standards for Department of Biological Sciences

It is the position of the Department of Biological Sciences at Plattsburgh State that all students must learn to write in a clear and intelligent manner.  We recognize that this goal cannot be achieved by depending only on the efforts of others to foster good writing. We further believe that the general quality of student writing will not improve unless we as a department are willing to state explicitly the standards we expect students to meet and to enforce those standards.  Therefore, in courses taught by the Department of Biological Sciences, in addition to grading the content of written assignments, all faculty will also grade assignments for writing.


Course help will be available to you in various ways. Please feel free to come to my office during office hours to discuss course-related questions or problems. If you cannot make it in during regular office hours, please schedule an alternate time with me. Many questions can also be addressed via email, and I encourage you to use this approach. I will attempt to answer each message I receive within a day.

Student Accommodations
SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability that may have an impact on your work in this class and require academic or other accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Resources Office (ARO) on the first floor of Feinberg Library 127, call 518-564-3844 or email You may also Request Accommodations from the Accommodate portal and a representative will contact you directly. To utilize specific accommodations you must certify with this office prior to accommodations being provided.





This page was last edited on 01/29/24.

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