09 December 2020 C.E.

Please don't forget to complete the LS Assessment on Canvas by 12 December. Thanks.

02 December 2020 C.E.

For any of you needing to schedule an appointment to use a Lockdown Browser enabled computer to take any of the upcoming examinations, this is just a reminder to check the dates of the examinations and the laboratory practicum. I'm not sure what dates and times the campus facility will be open at the end of the term, so I highly recommend calling to ensure that you're set up. The link for scheduling is:

If you're set up to use Lockdown Browser at home, then you may ignore this.

28 November 2020 C.E.

I have made available a Life Sciences Assessment. It is a standardized assessment that all students in all sections complete for statistical purposes. It's in the Canvas menu (near the top). Please complete it by 12 December. Thanks, and enjoy the weekend.

25 November 2020 C.E.

Examination 4 Statistics %
Historic Low Mean: 50.0
Historic High Mean: 76.6
Historic Overall Mean: 69.7

Section 23869 %
Mean: 50.0
Low Score: 20
High Score: 94

Section 23873 %
Mean: 62.0
Low Score: 12
High Score: 98

Section 23971 %
Mean: 56.3
Low Score: 16
High Score: 94

Be sure to click on the Retake Option button that now appears on the non-Canvas site (23869, 23873, or 23971). Enjoy Thanksgiving.

12 November 2020 C.E.

I forgot to add to the previous announcement that you will see a slight adjustment to your total current score. This is because the batch of points for Virtual Labs and for Lab Quizzes will now be spread out over one additional assignment, so each individual virtual lab and each individual lab quiz is now worth a bit less than before.

12 November 2020 C.E.

I want to alert you to the fact that two upcoming assignments were't available until today. One is a virtual laboratory exercise for Gene Expression, and the other is a corresponding quiz. I am in the process of updating the schedules on both Canvas and the Course Syllabus to reflect the additions. The laboratory activity is slow to install into Canvas, so you might not see it yet, but it will appear soon.

02 November 2020 C.E.

Examination 3 Statistics %
Historic Low Mean: 47.7
Historic High Mean: 69.9
Historic Overall Mean: 60.8

Section 23869 %
Mean: 47.7
Low Score: 22
High Score: 88

Section 23873 %
Mean: 54.3
Low Score: 24
High Score: 92

Section 23971 %
Mean: 54.5
Low Score: 16
High Score: 86

The scores for students who completed the examination and made an acceptable video have now been incorporated into Current Total Score on Canvas. This is the point in the term when the mathematical reality sets in, as far as scores and the possibility of passing the course are concerned. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to pay close attention to the updated numbers for Summary & Forecast. These numbers are designed specifically to let you know whether you'll be able to finish the course with your desired letter grade.
12 October 2020 C.E.

Examination 2 Statistics %
Historic Low Mean: 48.5
Historic High Mean: 67.9
Historic Overall Mean: 58.4

Section 23869 %
Mean: 55.0
Low Score: 28
High Score: 90

Section 23873 %
Mean: 57.2
Low Score: 24
High Score: 92

Section 23971 %
Mean: 58.3
Low Score: 18
High Score: 94

Unfortunately, the class mean for all three current sections was below the historic overall mean for Examination 2. We are now in the most difficult unit of the term, and the mean for Examination 3 is usually the lowest examination mean for the entire course. If you have chosen to cram for the first two examinations, then please consider your scores and ask yourself whether you are satisfied. Scoring highly on the examinations requires careful and repeated review of the lectures, a bit at a time, throughout the unit. Tackling all of the information in just a couple days before the examination does not work, so please be sure to spend some time each day watching lectures and refining your notes.

08 October 2020 C.E.

This is just a reminder to take your time when you make the environment video for Examination 2. If it is difficult to completely turn around your camera to show your empty work surface, then try using a mirror. I hope the examination goes well.

26 September 2020 C.E.

I've been asked to post this. It could be important to many of you.

Allied Health and Nursing Pathway

Virtual Advising Session and Q&A

Led by Health Science Advisors: Kristi Meador and Vanessa Piper


• Come and meet your Health Sciences Advising Team
• Meet the new Nursing Advisor.
• Get current information on health science programs.
• Get your questions answered.


Wednesday, October 7th  9:30-10:30am 

(For students in Bio 160/156/181/201)

WebEx Link: (Links to an external site.)

25 September 2020 C.E.

Total Current Score (and the Summary & Forecast numbers) have been updated to include the potato laboratory and quiz.

24 September 2020 C.E.

There is a Cox outage in my area, so my responses, grading, etc. will be delayed.

22 September 2020 C.E.

Please consider this:
STEM Drop-In Counseling

17 September 2020 C.E.

Examination 1 Statistics %
Historic Low Mean: 52.5
Historic High Mean: 71.6
Historic Overall Mean: 62.4

Section 23869 %
Mean: 58
Low Score: 30
High Score: 96

Section 23873 %
Mean: 57.7
Low Score: 26
High Score: 94

Section 23971 %
Mean: 58.5
Low Score: 32
High Score: 88

Here are the statistics for Examination 1. The top table includes all sections of BIO181 I have taught over the years. The other tables show the results for the three sections I am teaching right now (including your section). Notice that the means for the current term (all three sections) are lower than the historic mean. This is a bit troubling in its own right. But it's a bit worse than that, because Examination 1 is the easiest of the five examinations, so usually the scores for Examination 1 are higher than the scores for the other examinations. In other words, usually, the scores go down for the other examinations. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad; I'm saying it because I'd like to see a big turnaround. The scores usually do go down, but that doesn't have to happen, and if you (as a class) prepare better for the upcoming examinations, then hopefully the means will improve. Please ask yourself whether you are doing everything that I have recommended. Are you reviewing the lectures repeatedly? Are you making excellent notes from those lectures? Are you refining those notes? Are you doing the things I suggest on the Bonus Points page? Are you using the various resources on the Study Aids page? Are you preparing by giving your own lectures? If you answer no to any of those, then they would be the places to start, and please do not make the usually disastrous mistake of trying to cram all of the material into one or two nights of studying. I really hope it goes well from here.

11 September 2020 C.E.

This weekend (starting Saturday), I will be camping in the middle of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. I will not have connectivity, so I will not receive or be able to respond to any messages from you. As always, if you have any technical problem, then you should immediately contact technical support using the Help link on Canvas. Enjoy the weekend.

10 September 2020 C.E.

Many of you have had difficulty making a satisfactory Lockdown video of your environment, because your camera is difficult to manipulate. An excellent solution (or just an easy way for everyone) is to keep the computer in place and use a mirror. Manipulate the mirror slowly and carefully back and forth, up and down, to show the work surface thoroughly. You won't be able to do this with a tiny mirror, but it should be easy with a mirror that's designed for wall hanging (or similar size). Just take your time during the video; jerky motion does not allow me to see well enough.

Also, it's a bit surprising to me that with the examination coming up so soon, there are still many who have not even bothered to do the Lockdown Practice. I'll say this again and bluntly: if you make an unsatisfactory video on the day of the examination, then I will simply reject your examination, and there will be no allowable excuse. That is a big deal, because it can cause damage to your score from which you might not be able to recover. Please ask yourself, therefore, whether it's worth taking that risk. Thanks, and enjoy the upcoming weekend.

08 September 2020 C.E.

You probably have noticed on previous assignments (like virtual laboratory assignments, for instance) that Canvas will post a preliminary score as soon as you have completed the assignment. You should not think of that as your true score, because I often need to make changes to the grading beyond what is automatically graded. It's great that some of you are working ahead, but please realize that you should ignore the score that you see on Canvas for a particular assignment AT LEAST until noon on the day AFTER the due date. Not only is the score meaningless until then, but also the score has not been incorporated into your Total Current Score until then.

02 September 2020 C.E.

We are a week and a half into the term, and many of you have not completed the Lockdown Practice, which I urged everyone to complete weeks ago. Keep in mind that if you don't go through the Lockdown Practice, then you are putting yourself in danger of having your examination rejected, even if it seems as though nothing went wrong. In other words, if your video for Examination 1 is not acceptable (according to the standards I described in the Lockdown Practice exercise), and if you did not submit the Lockdown Practice, then there will be no allowable excuse, and your examination will simply be rejected. I won't count it, and you will be required to complete a version of the examination that is not multiple-choice. Don't let that happen. There is a second reason for submitting the Lockdown Practice. If you find that you do not have the required computer hardware to take the examinations, then you will be required to make other arrangements (like using a computer on campus). You don't want to find this out on the day of an examination, because each examination will be available only for the one day on which it is scheduled on the syllabus. The bottom line is that if you have not yet submitted the Lockdown Practice, then do so the first chance you get. Also, some of you who did submit the Lockdown Practice will be receiving a message from me (probably today) to indicate that you must redo it, because your video is not acceptable. There is no need to ask me whether yours is acceptable. If you don't receive a message from me (and you have submitted it), then you are good to go. Thanks.

31 August 2020 C.E.

Please see these two important tutoring documents, and also please keep in mind that you have already paid for tutoring, so choosing not to use it is a waste of money.

Tutoring FAQ

Tutoring Schedule

29 August 2020 C.E.

Now that you have submitted some assignments and some scores have been posted, it's a good time to notice how those assignments have affected your Summary and Forecast numbers. Keep in mind that the ones named "Minimum Required..." are hurdles, so you want those to get as low as possible. Each time you submit an assignment on which you score higher than that minimum, the minimum gets recalculated as a lower number, which means the hurdle has been lowered, and getting the corresponding final letter grade is getting easier. But the opposite is also true. If you score lower than that minimum, then the new minimum will be higher, and getting that final grade will be harder to achieve. If you're seeing your scores, you're all set, but if you see only zeros, then you'll need to submit the Rules Consent Form.

26 August 2020 C.E.

Keep in mind that all Mastering work is open-book, and you have continuous access to the eText during assignments, as shown in the shots below.



26 August 2020 C.E.

The Mastering settings were giving some people problems yesterday. That has hopefully been fixed. There are three possible attempts for each Mastering assignment, and the highest score will be used. If you didn't realize you have multiple attempts, you may return to Mastering and redo it.

25 August 2020 C.E.

A couple items:

1. I want to make it clear that there is a big difference between a dash (-) and a zero (0) on the Grades page of Canvas. A dash simply means that I have not yet submitted the score for that assignment, even though you might have already submitted the assignment. So please don't freak out if you see a dash. It does not mean that I did not receive your assignment. I typically grade assignments after the due date, so I can grade them all at once for maximum fairness. A zero, on the other hand, means that there is a problem (except for the First-Day Attendance, which was worth 0). It means either that you did not successfully submit the assignment or that you did not yet submit the Rules Consent Form (which should have been done on the first day). Some of these assignments are automatically graded, so it's possible that you will see a score on Canvas, even though that assignment's score has not yet been incorporated into your Total Current Score (or into the other Summary & Forecast scores). I will update the Summary & Forecast scores (including your Current Total Score) regularly, so you will see those values change, even though it might not be immediately upon completing an assignment whose score shows up. This is because of the inability of Canvas to make those computations, as I wrote in a previous announcement.

2. I want you to think of me as effectively always available, especially since the vast majority of you will primarily use email to contact me. However, I have set aside the hour from 10:00 to 11:00 each Friday as a sort of office hour. That doesn't mean that you should wait until then to contact me. It just means that you could connect with me via Zoom during that time, if you need to. You many use this URL during that office hour:

This is not a scheduled meeting for the class. It's simply an available slot for an office-hour discussion with me. Please keep in mind that the link will not work at other days and times unless you and I make arrangements ahead of time.

25 August 2020 C.E.

Thanks for your participation yesterday, and I'm glad that some students on the wait list were allowed in. That first day is the only day for attendance. For the rest of term, you may be online at whatever days and times work for you. Just be sure to obey all deadlines (listed in the table on the last page of the syllabus). I'm sorry for the confusion some of you had about the seven numbered items in the To Do list (Total Current Score, etc.). One thing that infuriates me about Canvas is that Canvas is incapable of making those important calculation, but if I make those calculations myself, the only way Canvas will allow me to post them in your grade book is to define them as assignments. Rest assured that the only true assignments are the ones listed in that table on the syllabus. So now it's a matter of keeping up to date and using the correct page on Canvas for each assignment type. The Lectures page is where you review my lectures. That's like attending face-to-face meetings. Under that Lectures link, though, is where you find links to the pages that correspond to the different assignment categories. The third column in that table on the syllabus indicates which Canvas page you should use for each assignment. Hopefully, things are making more sense now that you've had a look around. Never be afraid to email me if anything is unclear, whether it's about navigating the course, someting specific about a biological topic, or anything else. There were hundreds of things I had to do yesterday, so I was much busier than usual. I hope I didn't miss any of your messages. Things will be settling down now, thankfully. Enjoy the first week.

24 August 2020 C.E.

To make things (hopefully) more clear, I added a column (Link to use in Canvas) to the Schedule of All Graded Items on the last page of the syllabus.

24 August 2020 C.E.

First-day attendance word: grozumcoital

21 August 2020 C.E.

I have added more Canvas menu items, including Laboratory Quizzes, Topic Quizzes, Examinations, Contact Instructor, and Overview. Now there are menu items for each of the categories of graded items. Be sure to watch the Overview at your earliest convenience (and before beginning any work in the course). Enjoy the weekend.

20 August 2020 C.E.

I added a Laboratory Activities item to the Canvas menu. Also, I want to say that I recommend completing the Lockdown Practice before Monday. I say this, because if you don't have the required computer hardware, then I want you to realize that before it's too late to get a refund for the course.

17 August 2020 C.E.

I added a Lectures link to the Canvas menu (left side of Canvas). As I add other materials to Canvas, I'll announce those changes here.

14 August 2020 C.E.

One small, cosmetic adjustment. The names of the Mastering assignments on the last page of the syllabus were slightly incorrect. They now match Canvas. I didn't want anyone to be confused.

14 August 2020 C.E.

I have "finished" the course syllabus. I put that in quotes, because there is always a chance that additional changes must be made, but it's getting less and less likely. The new information can be found in the Supporting Materials, Scoring, Schedule of Lectures and Examinations, and Schedule of All Graded Items sections. I'm also doing work on Canvas, so if you're being disturbed by Canvas notifications, that's why. Enjoy the weekend.

23 July 2020 C.E.

I can give you a bit more information today. I have updated the syllabus to include the Supporting Materials section. The syllabus still is incomplete, but I'll announce changes as they're made. I've also made the Textbooks link active on this site, and I have added a menu item called Mastering. Please read both of them carefully, and read the Supporting Materials section of the syllabus very carefully.

18 July 2020 C.E.

All of my sections are full, and there might be a wait list on the scheduled first day (24 August). Since this is an online course, you will be required to demonstrate your attendance (for the first day only) by completing a quiz on Canvas that will ask you to enter a specific word. That word will appear on 24 August. It will appear on this Announcements page, because this course will require you to use this website in addition to Canvas throughout the term.

On 24 August, visit this site to find the word, then go to Canvas to complete the quiz, which will appear as a link in the Canvas menu for this course's Canvas. The link will appear as "First Day Attendance".

The quiz will be automatically graded, so you will be able to look at your grades on Canvas to verify that you have successfully submitted the quiz. If you fail to submit the First Day Attendance quiz, and if there is a wait list, then you will be withdrawn from the course.

If you are trying to get into this section, then you should immediately ensure that you are on the wait list by registering via the EMCC site. Do not wait until the first day of the term to do that; do it right now. Once you are on the wait list, you must also demonstrate your attendance the first day. However, you will not have Canvas access. Therefore, send me email (directly to and include your full name, your student ID, and the word revealed on 24 August). Only students on the wait list should demonstrate attendance by emailing me; all registered students must do so by submitting the Canvas quiz.

I will request that students on the wait list who have demonstrated attendance be added to the course, but the college will not allow me to exceed 24 students, so this can occur only if there are registered students who do not demonstrate attendance on the first day, and the order of names on the wait list will be used to determine the order of students to be added.

08 July 2020 C.E.

Several of the details for BIO181 are still being discussed by multiple instructors involved, which is the only reason why I have not yet revealed those details. As soon as those details are finalized, I will make them available to you. However, there is an important bit of information that I can give you right now, and that has to do with testing. Please read the following very carefully and thoroughly.

  • To maximize safety during the pandemic, I will be offering all of the lecture examinations through Canvas. However, to be eligible to take those online examinations, there are strict requirements that must be met, and you must convincingly demonstrate that you meet those requirements. Otherwise, you will be required to take the lecture examinations on campus in front of an in-person proctor. Whether taken online or on campus, the lecture examinations will be entirely multiple-choice. However, see exceptions below.

  • To be eligible for online lecture examinations, you must adhere to all of the following:
    1. You must use a computer that is equipped with a webcam and is compatible with the lockdown browser.
    2. You must download, install, and run the lockdown browser software.
    3. An iPad will work, but other mobile devices probably will not.
    4. A Chromebook WILL NOT WORK. If all you have is a Chromebook, then you will be required to take in-person lecture examinations on campus.
    5. Prior to the start of each lecture examination, you will be required to make a video recording of your surroundings to demonstrate that you have no papers, book, devices, etc. that are prohibited during the examination. This recording must be convincing, and it must clearly and completely show your desk space. This will require you to lift up your computer (if the webcam is incorporated into the computer), turn it around, and point it downward to clearly demonstrate that the surface is free of materials.
    6. If the video is not sufficient, then your examination will not count, and you will be required to take an alternative version that will NOT feature any multiple-choice questions.
    7. Each examination will be timed, and you will be required to finish it in one sitting. If you leave your chair, then your examination will not count, and you will be required to take an alternative version that will NOT feature any multiple-choice questions.
  • I would really like this to go smoothly for everyone, which is why I have made a practice test called Lockdown Practice. You will find it on the Canvas site for this course. It is not worth any points, but it is required, and it will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have the hardware requirements in place for the real examinations. Please complete the Lockdown Practice at your earliest convenience. Pretend that it is a real test, so take the time to make a careful recording of your surroundings. That way, I can review your practice recording and tell you whether a similar recording on each test day will be sufficient.

  • 24 June 2020 C.E.

    I will be working on the gradebook intermittently until the course starts. Depending on how you have your Canvas preferences set, you might receive some notifications from Canvas about your scores for the upcoming term. Please rest assured that nothing is due before the first day of the term, and you may safely disregard those automated messages from Canvas.

    16 June 2020 C.E.

    A Quick Note

    Things are still being worked out for this online version of BIO181, so not everything on this site or on Canvas will work or be available yet. Until I announce that everything is up and running, there is no need to inform me about broken links. Please just interpret non-working links as a sign that I am working on the site. I wanted to get a skeleton site up and running, however, so you can glean as much information as possible about how things will operate this fall. Please have a look around, and realize that changes will be made gradually, so keep an eye on this site and on Canvas. I highly recommend signing up for automated notices of announcements that will be posted here.