Microsoft word - syllabus_biol4920_s14.doc

BIOL 4920 – Senior Seminar II
Dixie State University
Dr. Rico E. Del Sesto, Spring 2014
Course Catalog Description:
One Senior Seminar course is required of students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree. Topics and themes
will vary. Each student will be expected to lead the class in a current research and literature in the general fields of
biological science for at least one week.
Room: Snow Math Science Center 112
CRN: 22512

Name: Rico E. Del Sesto, Ph.D.
Office: Science, 2nd floor, Rm 222
email: [email protected]
Phone: 435-652-7767

Office Hours:
M W R 12:00-1:00pm, or by appointment – may change as needed Prerequisite:
ENGL 2010 or ENGL 2010A; and Advanced standing
Course Materials:
The vast scientific literature and other public resources.
Biology Learning Outcomes:
Goal 1: Demonstrate breadth of discipline-specific knowledge
Outcome 1: Students will describe and explain fundamental topics in five principal perspectives of biology: § The chemical and molecular machinations operating within all biological processes § The centrality of genetic systems' governance of life's actions from the cellular to the phyletic § The coordinated regulation of integrated cellular systems and their effect on the physiological § The dynamic interaction of living systems with each other and their environments § The transforming role of evolution in changing life forms and how evolution explains both the unity Goal 2: Demonstrate the capacity to think independently and critically
Outcome 2: Students will employ scientific methods to acquire, analyze and apply knowledge of biological phenomena. Outcome 3: Students will evaluate scientific ideas and information while maintaining receptivity to potential alternative predications. Goal 3: Effectively convey scientific literacy through various mediums of communication
Outcome 4: Reading Comprehension: Students will analyze and critique scientific literature: identifying hypotheses, critiquing methods, interpreting data and results, and articulating the context of discussions. Outcome 5: Written Communication: Students will produce well-written reports and/or research papers covering topics in biology. These papers will be presented in the accepted formats of scientific research articles. Outcome 6: Oral Presentation: Students will publicly present scientific information covering specific topics in the biological sciences. Presentations will adequately communicate data and information in a clear and logical format.
Course specific Objectives:
All students registered for the course will be assumed to have great familiarity with the basic principles of chemistry and
biology. This course is designed to prepare students for discussion in many fields of biology, especially involving the
role of research in the pursuit of further knowledge. Additionally, the course is meant to prepare you as a professional in
the scientific arena. All students must be ready to discuss any topic in the course; a good grade depends you're your
participation. Grading will be determined by both peers AND the professor, based on a grading rubric used during
observation of the student's presentations. A short final exam will be given, based on the findings covered in the course.
Please set up a Canvas account and check this course frequently. Updates, discussions, and assignments may be posted
online rather than handed out. The instructor will inform you when postings are made in Canvas.
Each student will present one topic during the semester (suggested Powerpoint or similar method of presentation. The
length of presentation should be about 20 minutes and grading rubric will be provided. Each presentation should include
background information that may not have been included in other courses but helps to put it in context and illustrates the
importance of the topic. Those students not presenting that week will complete a grading sheet, but the instructor will
determine the final point values.
Students are expected to come prepared to discuss the topics for each class session. You will be graded on (a) the
seriousness of your effort (i.e., whether or not you come to class prepared, and whether or not you are physically,
emotionally, and intellectually present); (b) the nature of your interaction with other class members (i.e., whether you
listen carefully and respectfully to what others say, your willingness to challenge others and defend your points of view,
and whether you provide opportunity and encouragement for others to participate); (c) your willingness to interact
thoughtfully with guest speakers; and (d) your participation in any formal oral presentations related to assigned topics.
Final Exam:
The final exam will be from 9:30am to 11:30am on Wednesday, 30th April, and will not be given at any other time or
date. The exam is a comprehensive exam covering the Biological Sciences, and passing the exam is required to pass this
Course Points:
Participation: (50 x 8 weeks not presenting) = 400 Presentation: (200 x 1 week presenting) = 200 Exercises: (last two weeks, 50 x 2 weeks) = 100
Grade for the Course:
The standard College grading breakdown will be used in this class:

Dropping This Course:
See the attached schedule and the Academic Calendar (mentioned below) for important drop/withdrawal dates.
Attendance and active participation are required, and make up a significant component of your overall grade.
There are several resources available to you in the event that you need extra help. The primary source of help comes
from your peers and from your instructor. Free tutoring is also available at the Tutoring Center in the Browning
Resource Center (see below).
Important class and college information will be sent to your Dmail account. This information includes your DSC bill,
financial aid/scholarship notices, notification of dropped classes, reminders of important dates and events, and other
information critical to your success in this class and at DSC. All DSC students are automatically assigned a Dmail
account. If you don't know your user name and password, go to and select “Dmail,” for complete
instructions. You will be held responsible for information sent to your Dmail email, so please check it often.
College resources:
Several college resources are available to help you succeed. Check out the links for each one to get more information.
If you need help understanding the content of your courses, go to the Tutoring Center located in the Browning Learning
Center, Room 105. There is a schedule of what courses have tutors at what times outside the door. You can also visit
them online at
If you need help writing papers, go to the Writing Center in the Browning Learning Center, Room 105. You can also
visit them online at
If you need to use a computer to do schoolwork on campus, go to the Computer Center in the Smith Computer Center or
the Library basement.
If you are assigned to take a test in the Testing Center, the Testing Center is in the North Plaza (DXATC). You can get
information on their website at
The Library has all kinds of information and resources. Visit the Library in the new Holland Centennial Commons or go
to the library website at
Classroom expectations: It is the responsibility of an instructor to manage the classroom environment to ensure a good
learning climate for all students. This means ensuring students not talking when the teacher is talking, following
instructions, and speaking and acting respectfully to the professor and fellow students. If your behavior is disruptive, I
will first let you know verbally that you are behaving inappropriately. If it continues, I will send you written notice that
your behavior must change. As a last resort, I will drop you from the class. For more details, please see the disruptive
behavior policy at:
College approved absences:
Dixie College Policy explains in detail what needs to happen if you anticipate being absent from class because of a
college-sponsored activity (athletic events, club activities, field trips for other classes, etc). Please read this information
and follow the instructions carefully! The policy can be found at:
Disability Accommodations:
Students with medical, psychological, learning or other disabilities desiring reasonable academic adjustment,
accommodations, or auxiliary aids to be successful in this class will need to contact the DISABILITY RESOURCE
CENTER Coordinator (Baako Wahabu) for eligibility determination. If you suspect or are aware that you have a
disability that may affect your success in the course you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Resource
Center (DRC) located at the North Plaza Building. The disability will be evaluated and eligible students will receive
assistance in obtaining reasonable accommodations. Phone 435-652-7516 to schedule an appointment to discuss the
Cheating Policy Statement from DSC:
34.1 Cheating: Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated at Dixie State College, including but not limited to plagiarism on written
assignments, submitting other person's work as one's own, and cheating on exams or quizzes. Teachers at Dixie State College may discipline students proven guilty of academic dishonesty by: 34.1.1 Giving a failing grade on the specific assignment where dishonesty occurred, 34.1.2 Failing the student in the entire course, 34.1.3 Immediately dismissing and removing the student from the course, and/or 34.1.4 Referring the student to Student Affairs, a committee which may reprimand, place on probation, suspend, and/or expel the student. 34.2 Disruptive Behavior: Teachers at Dixie State College have the right to manage the classroom environment to ensure a good learning climate. Toward this end, teachers (or college security) may dismiss and remove disruptive students from individual class activities. If a student's behavior continues to disrupt class activities, the teacher may dismiss and cause the removal of disruptive students from their course. 34.3 Student Appeals: Students who believe themselves wrongfully disciplined may appeal those disciplinary actions through the standard grievance In this course, the most significant consideration for cheating will be plagiarism. You must reference all of your sources.
Do not simply present a compilation of slides or graphs produced by other scientists or publications – your presentation
should be your own.

Academic Calendar:

The academic calendar can be accessed using the following link: You are
responsible to know, understand and comply with all dates listed.
Do not make cell phones an issue! Set them to vibrate mode (or turn them off!) for all of your classes. Phones must be
“off” during presentations unless you are expecting a phone call regarding significant issues (please advise me ahead of
time). Any behavior that disturbs the entire class (including walking in late or talking) will not be tolerated. Attendance
is necessary.
Disclaimer: The instructor reserves the right to make modifications to this syllabus by announcing changes in
class and/or postings to Canvas.

Agent Orange/Dioxin (herbicide)
Ammonia (non-cleaning purposes, e.g. energy, fuel, fertilizer, etc.)
Bis-phenol A (BPA)
DDT (pesticide)
Ergotamine (witches)
Gadolinium (MRI, etc)
Hexafluorosilicic acid (dental)
Iodine (medicinal/biological)
Lignocellulose (biomass – corn, cheatgrass, lignin)
Methyl bromide (fungicide)
Naphthalene (Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, PAH’s or PCA’s)
Oxygen (O2)
Pitocin (specifically, not the generic oxytocin)
Strontium-90 (isotope with 90 amu)
Trans-fatty acids (dietary)
Vitamin D

Presentation Rubric:

Required topics
Your talk must have at least some information relevant to the rest of your talk based on these five topics: Biology
(particularly at the cellular/molecular and organismal levels), Chemistry (structure/function, origination), Environmental
Science/Ecology, Economic Impacts, Global or Societal Impacts. These should not be presented as separate slides of
“Chemistry Relevant to (my topic)”, but efficiently integrated into the flow of your presentation. Use your knowledge as
a scientist to discuss your compound in relevance to these topics. If your compound has been involved in any
controversy, be sure to introduce both pros and cons to the use/existence of that compound.
Flow of presentation:
How a presentation flows is critical to the success of your talk and how the audience receives the information presented.
The general rule of talks is “Tell the audience what you’re going to tell them; Tell them; Tell the audience what you just
told them.” This will insure that your audience gets your message. Generally, your talk should have an Outline,
Introduction/Overview, Data/Results with Discussions, and Conclusions/Summary (and Acknowledgments if
appropriate). All of this should flow together as a cohesive story, rather than a number of slides randomly meshed
together. The presentation should be about 15 minutes with an extra 5 minutes left for questions and further discussion.
Time management is critical – plan on 1-2 minutes per slide, and be sure to weight the time to focus on the more
important components (e.g. do not spend 12 minutes on the Overview). With the short time, it will be a big-picture
presentation, but be sure to include some good scientific details to explain some pieces of information and demonstrate
your knowledge of biology and the sciences.
Professionalism in presentation:
The professional appearance of your presentation comes across via several mechanisms. In particular, this includes
appearance, command of the topic (see below), depth of knowledge, use of terminology, and interaction with the
audience. When presenting your topic, you are the expert on that topic for that day. Be able to prove that and defend
what you are presenting in a respectful and appropriate manner.
Command of topic knowledge:
For your topic, you will likely be the expert in the room during your talk. This is also true when you give presentations
on research or other topics, since it is usually specific to what you have been looking into. Play the role of the expert
during both preparation and presentation. When looking into your topic, try to envision what others might ask, or ask
yourself questions that seem open-ended. Research some of these leads further out than what you will likely present, to
gain a deeper knowledge of your topic and to be prepared for questions that arise during your talk.
Handling questions:
One of the more challenging aspects of presenting is responding to questions from the audience. There are good and bad
approaches in how to respond. Be honest, professional, and appropriate in your response. It is ok to say “I don’t know,”
but don’t leave the audience hanging – propose a possible answer or relate the question to something (relevant) that you
do know, or turn it into a discussion with the person asking or the rest of the audience. The most important aspect is to
avoid saying something that raises more questions or digs a deeper hole. Thinking on your feet is difficult, and this will
be good practice. Occasionally, someone in the audience may be assigned to play the role of the ‘disgruntled scientist’ –
be ready for this, and approach the situation professionally and scientifically.
Participation Rubric:


Charging lithium polymer (li-po) batteries

Charging Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) Cells 1. Maximum individual Cell voltage during charge cycle is 4.2 volts per cell. – DO NOT EXCEED MAXIMUM- For 6 cells: 6 cells X 4.2 volts/cell = 25.2 volts 2. Minimum cell voltage during discharge cycle is 3.0 volts per cell. – DO NOT DISCHARGE BELOW MINIMUM- For 6 cells: 6 cells X 3.0 volts/cell = 18.0 volts If a cell is discharged below 3.0 volts,

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