Principles of Biology

Course Number: BI 212
Transcript Title: Principles of Biology
Created: September 1, 2013
Updated: December 5, 2016
Total Credits: 5
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 30
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


BI 211 and its prerequisite requirements

Course Description

Includes modern and classical genetics, evolution, diversity, and systematics. May include some dissection of plants and animals. The second course in a three course sequence for students majoring in biology and the sciences, including pre-medical, pre-dental, chiropractic, pharmacy, and related fields. Prerequisite: BI 211 and its prerequisite requirements. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply biological theories and concepts to novel problems in genetics, evolution, and systematics.
  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of scientific studies in genetics, evolution, and systematics and critically examine the influence of scientific and technical knowledge of genetics, evolution, and systematics on human society and the environment.
  3. Apply concepts from genetics, evolution, and systematics to their lives and community (personal, work, and career).
  4. Develop informed positions and opinions on contemporary issues in genetics, evolution, and systematics, while considering ethical, scientific, community, and cultural implications.
  5. Communicate concepts in genetics, evolution, and systematics using appropriate terminology in both written and verbal forms.
  6. Competently enter and complete further work in the sciences, including Biology 213 and upper level courses in genetics, evolution, and systematics.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Open-ended essay questions and multiple-choice exams.
  • Scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s).
  • Oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results.
  • Classroom assessments, such as, quizzes, one minute summaries, pre-test/post-tests, etc.
  • Major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals.
  • Scientific article critiques.
  • Laboratory practical exams.
  • Small projects and homework assignments.

Course Activities and Design

This course will be taught in a traditional lecture and laboratory format. Lecture will be presented utilizing a variety of multimedia and interactive presentations. Laboratory experiences will be largely hands-on and team-based, utilizing a variety of resources including (but not limited to): multimedia, prepared microscope slides, plant, human and animal specimens.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes and Concepts include:

  1. Introduction to genetics including Mendelian genetics
  2. The chromosomal basis of inheritance
  3. The molecular basis of inheritance
  4. The transcription and translation of genes
  5. Evolution by natural selection
  6. Population genetics and microevolution
  7. Speciation
  8. Macroevolution and phylogenetic reconstruction
  9. Early Earth and the origin of life
  10. Survey of biodiversity: prokaryotes
  11. Survey of biodiversity: origins of eukaryotic diversity
  12. Survey of biodiversity: plants colonize land
  13. Survey of biodiversity: evolutionary significance of fungi
  14. Survey of biodiversity: invertebrate animals and the origin of animal diversity
  15. Survey of biodiversity: vertebrate phylogeny
  16. Genetics of viruses and bacteria (optional)
  17. Gene expression in eukaryotes (optional)
  18. DNA Technology (optional)


Biology 212 is relevant to many contemporary issues that may be discussed and explored during the course, such as, effects of pollution in aquatic systems, applications of gene therapy, dwindling biodiversity, primate evolution, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, unknown impacts of genetically modified organisms, etc.

Competencies and Skills:

  • Read scientific literature
  • Apply the scientific method
  • Use laboratory techniques and equipment
  • Locate and access biological information
  • Think critically
  • Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
  • Articulate scientific processes in written and oral format
  • Present data in papers using the scientific format
  • Present conclusions logically

Department Notes

Columbia Gorge Community College Science Department stands by the following statement about regarding science instruction:

Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. Theories (such as biological evolution and geologic time scale) are developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance. As such, scientific theories can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation. “Creation science", “Intelligent design” or similar beliefs are not considered legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

The Science Department at Columbia Gorge Community College, therefore stands with organizations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula except to reference and/or clarify its invalidity.