FYI 100: Organismal Biology Learning Community

Fall 2012 - 3 credits
MWF 1-1:50 - Science 331

Peer Mentor: Jonathan Corbett

Professor: Ross Koning
Science 356 MW 9-11, F 11-12
860-933-2712 –

Tentative FYI 100 Schedule
Day-Date In Class Activity Out of Class Activity
Wed-8/29FYI IntroductionLMS: email to Ross
Fri-8/31Reading/Citing an OpinionDraft Response to Fisher
Mon-9/3LABOR DAY (no class) 
Wed-9/5Group Critique of OpinionLMS: email to Jonathan
Fri-9/7Excel Statistics (bring laptop)Biologist at Work
Mon-9/10Personal Ethology StudyFiguring Bio Data Charts
Wed-9/12Personal Ethology StudyBiologist at Work
Fri-9/14Excel Workshop (bring laptop)LMS: Pie Chart Ethology
Mon-9/17Excel Workshop (bring laptop)LMS: Time Management Module
Wed-9/19Field Trip: Willimantic WalkGroup Project: Frog Collage
Fri-9/21Field Trip: Mystic AquariumLMS: Third Thursday Summary
Mon-9/24Excel Workshop (bring laptop)LMS: Bio/Biochem/PreMed Club Summary
Wed-9/26Excel Workshop (bring laptop)Finish Figuring Bio Data Charts
Fri-9/28Excel Workshop (bring laptop)Print Figuring Bio Data Charts
Mon-10/1Peer Edit (bring FBD printouts)Finish Cladistics
Wed-10/3Homoplasy and ParsimonyPrint Final FBD Graphics
Fri-10/5Bacteriology ObservationEmail: Ross with Advisor Name
Mon-10/8Human Ethology ProjectLMS: Campus Resources Counsel/Health
Wed-10/10Pie Chart Excel WorkshopPrint Pie Chart for Monday
Fri-10/12Cyanobacteria InformationLMS: Cyanobacteria Google Images
Mon-10/15Peer Edit Pie Chart/CaptionLMS: Degree Evaluation
Wed-10/17Spectronic 20 OperationsLMS: Campus Resources AccessAbility
Fri-10/19Yogurt ObservationsPrepare Double-Y Plot
Mon-10/22Excel Workshop (Double-Y)LMS: Bio Club Meeting Summary
Wed-10/24Writing Mat. & Meth.
Experimental Cytology
LMS: Campus Resources Degree Eval
Fri-10/26Bio/Biochem Program
Electronic Imaging (Google)
Sketches for Protista (etc.)
Mon-10/29Hurricane Sandy
Wed-10/31Academic Advising in BiologyLMS: Advising Module
Fri-11/2The Phytochrome StoryLMS: Registration Module
Mon-11/5Excel Workshop (Z-tests)LMS: University Hour Summary
Wed-11/7Writing MethodsLeaf, Stem, Root Sketches
Fri-11/9Writing ResultsLMS: Financial Literacy
Mon-11/12Seed Germination M&MSeed Germination Results
Wed-11/14Seed Germination ResultsLeaf, Stem, Root Sketches
Fri-11/16Absorption Spectrum M&MAbsorption Spectrum Print
Mon-11/19Absorption Spectrum Graph CritiqueAbsorption Spectrum Results
Wed-11/21Thanksgiving (no class)LMS: Academic Integrity
Fri-11/23Thanksgiving (no class)Catch up on sleep
Mon-11/26Absorption Spectrum ResultsPrint new Pie Chart (Ethology)
Wed-11/28Dissection vs DisarticulationReview Frog Body Systems
Fri-11/30Euthanasia DiscussionSketch completion (Google?)
Mon-12/3Debate: EuthanasiaLMS: Bio Club Meeting Summary
Wed-12/5Anticipating Final ExamsReview for BIO Final Exam
Fri-12/7Celebration of CommunityLMS: Assessment

First Year Introduction (FYI 100) is a course of many sections having differing formats sponsored by various departments to provide new freshmen a positive introduction to becoming a successful student at Eastern Connecticut State University. You have been identified as a student pursuing a major in Biology or Biochemistry, so you have been registered into this special section of FYI 100. This section requires co-registration in the morning laboratory section of BIO 120.

It is the purpose of this section of FYI 100 to introduce you to life at the university level, to initiate you into the skills and habits of successful students at ECSU, and to forge all the students and instructors of this section into a dynamic and interactive biology learning community. By the end of this course, you should possess well-founded capabilities to find, organize, study, and communicate biological information, and to work with other biologists in a community to raise the bar of understanding biology for all the participants.

Obviously this first course provides only the first experiential steps in becoming a life-long biology learner, so you will continue to develop these skills and expand your learning community as you network with yet other students and faculty during your four years at ECSU and beyond. The abilities of professional biologists are always a work in progress; we continue to expand our horizons in this multifaceted realm of understanding.

Class Meetings
Becoming a successful student and a effective member of a biology learning community is not something you can achieve in a three-hour block of time, once per week, in just one semester. So we are meeting three days per week (MWF) for one hour each meeting to encourage you to keep up with your study, your learning, and your networking within the biology learning community.

Work Outside-Of-Class
It is expected (see the University Catalog) that you will work outside of class for twice as many hours as you spend in-class. So, naturally, for FYI 100 you will be spending at least six hours each week out of class, spread over all seven days of the week to assist you in becoming a biologist. What you do in-class represents only one-third of your learning and participating! This may be the first and most shocking realization about becoming a successful student at ECSU. When you are working out of class, please remember that interaction with Ross, Jonathan, and the other members of the biology learning community is not only encouraged, but expected for all of us! Please use the contacts above and others you will find out within our learning community as the course unfolds. For example, you will be asked to attend at least one meeting of the Biology Club (W 3PM SB-333), Biochemistry Club (1st/3rd R 5PM StuCtr 115), or Pre-Med Club (F 3PM StuCtr 107) and write a summary of the meeting for the Learning Management System (LMS). The Biology Club often has an all-day study session prior to final exam week.

Beyond the Biology Learning Community
You will learn through this FYI course, that there are even more elements to the university learning community which you may also wish to include in your developing learning network. You are encouraged to use, for example, the Academic Services Center, the Library, the Career Services Office, Counseling Services, and the Office of AccessAbility Services. As soon as you find you need some additional help, please do make use of all these free ECSU services!

The Peer Mentor
Jonathan plays a special role in orienting your approach to the many campus services and what are sometimes called college-survival-skills. He is a successful upper-class biology major who started becoming a biologist at ECSU just a few years ago, as you are starting now. Jonathan has experienced the transition from life-at-home to life-on-campus, and most critically the transition from public school “teacher focused” learning to “learner focused” learning that supports the rest of your life. This transition is often overlooked and can lead to disappointment and very low performances. So Jonathan will be very useful to you among the other members of our developing learning community. He hopes to interact frequently and effectively with you.

The Professor
Ross has also been through these transitions, but it was much longer ago, so he is merely continuing to develop as a student of biology. He models a thirst for knowledge in Biology, and he hopes to motivate your thirst so that yours will likewise never be quenched. Ross is experienced in Biology at many levels, and for a time period longer than your lifetime (so far)! He hopes to lead you into a lifetime of applying academic learning skills within the wider biology community. His goal is to help you become a positively contributing and thriving member of the global biology learning community.

Learning Management System
Jonathan will attend our FYI 100 class once per week, will make short presentations in class, and will give assignments within the ECSU Learning Management System for you to complete outside-of-classtime. This is an on-line system that will require you to electronically visit various campus-assistance offices, surf to their on-line websites, take surveys, write emails, ask questions, write and submit summaries of your campus activity visits, etc. The specific assignment modules are sketchily defined at present, but these assignments are not to be taken lightly! The completion of FYR Modules will provide 10% of your final grade in FYI 100.

Academic Skills in Biology
Much of this course introduces you to academic skills needed for you to become a successful biologist. Ross and Jonathan will provide a range of exercises to achieve this. Some of these focus on time management, developing study skills, designing experiments, analyzing data, presenting data, finding and citing literature sources, and communicating results. A specific skill essential to writing in biology, is learning to paraphrase the writing of other authors within the world-wide biology community and citing those sources properly to avoid plagiarism. Jonathan and Ross will both focus special attention on this topic; there is no tolerance for academic misconduct at ECSU. Your performance in these activities provides 70% of the final grade in FYI 100.

In this section of FYI 100 there are NO testing-style content exams, just performance assessment in participation exercises. Likewise, there is no final exam during final exam week. Standard-style testing provides 0% of the final grade in FYI 100.

Since this course is designed to forge this class into a learning community, obviously your participation is critical to the success of all the members of this community. Without U in community, we have a problem beyond a misspelling! Therefore, your performance in and out of class will be assessed by Ross, Jonathan, and the other members of our biology learning community. Attention, Attendance, Timeliness, Number of Contacts, Quality of Work, Observance of Classroom Etiquette, etc. are all factors these assessors should observe in your work. Your participation provides 20% of the final grade in FYI 100.

If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of AccessAbility Services. Accommodations based upon disability cannot be provided until Ross receives a letter from the Office of AccessAbility Services.

There is no textbook for forging a group of biologists into a learning community; obviously no textbook is required. You will need to have or have access to a computer with Microsoft Excel installed. The university provides you with a very inexpensive copy of Microsoft Office; you download it to your computer (Mac or PC) from . Other than your participation, the only materials needed are the usual school supplies (paper, pencil, eraser, etc.).

Tentative FYI 100 Schedule
Jonathan and Ross have planned the following schedule of activities to achieve the goals of FYI 100. Please realize that Tentative means that the schedule is subject to change. This course is open to your suggestions and to expansion or contraction of activities depending, in part, on your interests and demonstration of skills.

You should also notice in the schedule (below) a strong correlation between our activities in FYI 100 and BIO 120. This is intended to provide you with practical introduction to and applications of the skills you are learning in FYI 100 to the subject content matter of BIO 120. In this way, what you are learning in FYI 100 is not just theoretical, but is also practical, and you gain experience immediately applying your new skills to real problems!