Instructor: Jeff Dahlseid, Ph.D.
Class: MTWF 10:30-11:20
Office: Nobel 221C, Phone: x6129
Classroom: Nobel 222
Class URL: www.gustavus.edu/~dahlseid/BIO374/
Office hours: M 11:30, W 12:30, F 1:30
Text: Principles of Genetics, Snustad and Simmons, 3rd Edition,
2003, John Wiley & Sons
Course Description and Objectives:
Genetics is a fascinating
and broad field of biology. It encompasses all aspects of the study of
heredity, including classical, cytological, molecular/biochemical and population
and quantitative genetic approaches. You have seen each of these approaches
in the core courses for the biology major. Here we will build on this foundation.
The central objectives for this course are that you will broaden and
deepen knowledge and understanding of genetics and genetic principles,
and critical thinking skills, and strengthen
I hope that you also come to appreciate how genetics and related fields
influence and permeate one another. More specifically, my objectives are
add breadth and depth to your knowledge/understanding of genetics
learn to read and critically evaluate the primary
literature in genetics
mature your ability to think independently in a field of experimental science
increase proficiency in communicating scientific ideas clearly in oral
I will primarily use class
to present and discuss with you course material, to work problems, and
to hold discussions of the primary literature (journal club). It is my
hope that together we can cultivate an environment of active learning (really!).
The content of genetics includes facts as well as principles and their
application, which makes it challenging. Not only should you read the text
material for each class meeting ahead of time and prepare your questions,
but it will be important to work a sufficient number of problems to become
proficient and confident in solving genetic problems and making genetic
predictions. You are required to attend class, both physically and
mentally. Doing so will allow you to take full advantage of the class opportunities
to learn the material. Should you miss a class, you are responsible for
the material from class, including handouts, etc.
I welcome and encourage
your participation in classroom learning. Genetics is a rigorous topic
and I expect everyone to work hard, but if you are having problems with
the course please let me know. I am here to help you learn.
Course Activities and Requirements:
Attendance/Participation: Actively engaging the subject is an important
component to learning genetics. Your participation (and attendance) is
important to your own learning and that of the class. Thus, your participation
will be assessed in this course.
Research Article Summaries: Throughout the semester, you must use
the search tools Medline or SciFinder and the Library (and ILL) to identify
and obtain a copy of a research article on a biochemical topic (NOT a review)
that interests you. You will be required to read the article and write
a two-page summary addressing a series of provided questions. Due dates
are below. See course web page for details.
Journal Club: Reading, critically evaluating, discussing and applying
the scientific literature are related and valuable skills. A common activity
where you might employ all of these skills is known as a journal club.
Although this activity takes many forms, in this class we will be meeting
regularly (see schedule) to critically discuss pre-assigned papers of relevance
to the course. Your full participation will require that you prepare in
advance for these discussions by reading the papers carefully (and probably
repeatedly). Also, for each meeting a group of you will prepare beyond
that of others to be a resource for questions that might arise during the
discussion, i.e. to serve as resident experts on that paper. The activity
will be structured to promote participation by all. The class Journal Club
is intended to give you experience with the journal club format as well
as provide an opportunity for you to develop the skills of independent
and critical thinking. Evaluation will be based on your participation and
the quality of your contributions as an expert group member and as a participant.
An additional handout describing the topics and details will follow (see
course web page).
Exams: During the semester you will be required to take four mid-term
exams, the last of which will be your final exam. The mid-term exams will
cover new material and concepts covered in class, suggested problems, and
assigned readings through the test date. All exams will assess your learning
of terms and principles
AS WELL AS problem solving and critical
thinking skills. They will include questions requiring recall (facts, names,
etc.), short answers, and problem solving.
Four mid-term exams will be given during class as indicated on the schedule,
including the final exam on Dec. 20 Exam attendance is mandatory,
and exams cannot be made up except for a crisis or emergency. I require
that you talk with me personally in advance to arrange a make-up exam,
if you are able to anticipate an acceptable conflict. If an emergency arises
contact me by phone, voice-mail or e-mail, or, if you are unable to reach
me, Kathy Scholl (x7333) in the Biology office or the Dean's office (x7526).
IF I am properly notified AND your emergency is valid, a make-up exam will
be arranged. All students must take the final exam as scheduled.
Article summaries (3 @ 20 pts)
Exams (4 @ 100 pts)
Final grades will be assigned according to a straight percentage
scale. The following percentage scale will serve as a guideline
for letter grade assignment:
Students with disabilities: Appropriate accommodations will be made
for students with specific, documented disabilities of a physical, psychiatric
or learning nature. Related information will be kept strictly confidential.
Please contact either me or Laurie Bickett (x6286) in Academic Advising
if this applies to you.
90-100% = A
80 - 89% = B
70 - 79% = C
60 - 69% = D
Feedback: I am very enthusiastic about being and becoming an
outstanding educator, both for you and future students. I welcome constructive
suggestions about how to improve class, my teaching, and the course. I
expect to learn from you this semester how I might teach better. I invite
you to discuss your suggestions with me in my office at any time.
Academic honesty: It is my expectation and policy that you will
participate in this class in an honest and honorable way. This means that,
while I encourage you to work together to learn genetics, the work you
submit on behalf of an assignment must be your own. I will not tolerate
academic dishonesty. Dishonesty includes plagiarism, which is presenting
some else's ideas or words as your own. Thus, it is your responsibility
in written work to credit sources from which you draw ideas and language
(quotes are rare here) with proper referencing. Gustavus Adolphus College
has an Honor Code, and you will be asked to print and sign the following
statement at the end of major assignments: "On my honor, I pledge that
I have not given, received, nor tolerated others' use of unauthorized aid
in completing this work." Honorable work is assumed for ALL assignments.
If you have questions about academic dishonesty, please see me. Documented
dishonesty can result in failure of the course and will be reported to
the Dean's office.
Class e-mail policy: I use e-mail to help manage the course and
field questions about the material, so I require all that you use your
e-mail Gustavus account. The advantages to this system include speed,
avoided trips to Nobel Hall for simple questions, and a generally smoother
running course. Here's the protocol. When you have questions, e mail
them to me. If your question is very specific, I will reply directly.
If the question seems potentially interesting to the entire class, I will
forward the question (anonymously) and my reply to the class. I will assume
you do not object to sharing your question unless you specifically state
so. I also encourage you to use the f-bio-374 class alias to ask
each other questions. As I may refer to e-mail questions in class and I
use e mail for general class announcements, I encourage you to check
your e-mail before class. Campus rules for alias use apply and abuse
will not be tolerated.
Note this syllabus and schedule are subject to change at the instructor's