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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 03-Jul-24

Fall 2024 | BIO-1211-VM01 - Introduction to Biology: Ecology & Evolution

In Person Class

Standard courses meet in person at CCV centers, typically once each week for the duration of the semester.

Location: Montpelier
Credits: 4
Day/Times: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:45A - 02:40P
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-12-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
Open Seats: 10 (as of 07-19-24 5:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.
Materials/Lab Fees: $125.00


Elizabeth Sherman
View Faculty Credentials

Hiring Coordinator for this course: Ryan Joy

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Natural Science
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

In this introductory biology course, students explore the "process of science" with hands-on field and laboratory experiments. Concepts in the evolutionary history of biological diversity, ecology and the biosphere, and conservation biology are covered in this course. Students needing a full year of introductory biology should also complete Intro to Biology: Cells and the Genetic Basis of Life.

Essential Objectives

1. Summarize principles of classification of life and identify organisms across kingdoms.
2. Describe and model how energy and matter are cycled through ecosystems.
3. Explore and identify the different scales of ecological investigations (populations, communities, ecosystems).
4. Identify and evaluate the historical and present-day evidence for evolution, including phylogenetics.
5. Distinguish between biomes by evaluating abiotic and biotic factors.
6. Analyze how conditions present in biomes have influenced adaptive changes, speciation, and evolution.
7. Describe the factors that affect changes in population size, including birth/death rates, carrying capacity, survivorship curves, reproductive strategies, and the various types of community relationships that exist between species.
8. Analyze case studies to identify mechanisms of evolution within organisms, populations, and communities.
9. Assess human factors influencing ecology, including conservation biology, climate change, and human population growth.
10. Explain the significance of biodiversity and discuss current threats to ecosystems and biodiversity as well as the ways conservation strategies can address them.
11. Demonstrate proficiency in applying, interpreting, evaluating, and extrapolating quantitative data.
12. Construct models of phylogenies, carrying capacity, r-selected and k-selected species, symbiosis, and trophic structure.
13. Explain how knowledge created in the natural sciences has contributed to the creation, maintenance, and dismantling of social inequalities and discuss the impacts of diversity and inclusion on scientific research and practice.
Lab Objectives:
1. Apply knowledge of the scientific method to:
a. formulate and evaluate real-world scientific questions;
b. ethically plan and implement accurate data collection;
c. analyze and evaluate data;
d. generate conclusions based on analysis and justify claims with evidence;
e. integrate the related work of other scientists; and
f. propose ideas for further inquiry.
2. Communicate findings in a format appropriate to the discipline and type of investigation, such as a laboratory notebook, laboratory report, observational study, field investigation report, poster, or presentation using appropriate evidence to support these findings.
3. Understand the structure and purpose of peer-reviewed publications.
4. Evaluate scientific information for validity, accuracy, reliability, and methodology.
5. Identify and follow lab safety techniques that are aligned with CCV’s Chemical Hygiene Plan, Lab Safety Agreements and chemical Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a no cost textbook or resource class.
This does not include lab fees for 4-credit science courses. ***

BIO-1211-VM01 Link to Textbooks/Resources Information for this course in eCampus.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Course Expectations

Your learning depends almost entirely upon the effort you put into this class. So coming to class prepared and ready to participate is essential. This is a discussion-based hands-on class led by me but requiring the participation of every one of you.

1. Come to class having prepared the reading. This involves reading the assignments more than once and taking notes. The trick to taking useful notes is to try to extract the big idea(s) from the reading. To that end, when you come to class, be prepared to READ your insights (choose a few sentences) aloud to the class. I will say more about this in our first meeting.

2. Written assignments are submitted on time, taking care to proofread and edit your assignments. I will distribute specific guidelines for the different written assignments.

3. Prepare the lab materials that I will handout. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you have questions, be sure to ask at the beginning of lab/class.

Evaluation Criteria

General Rules of this Course

-Be on time to class. (It is rude to walk in late). This means you are in your seats no later than 11:44 a.m., ready to go at 11:45 a.m..

-Some people are more inclined to speak in class than others and, of course, that is fine. We should all strive to be good listeners. We should encourage those more reluctant to participate with questions and encouragement.

-Class attendance is required. If you must be absent, (due to illness or family obligation, for example) please email me and let me know as soon as possible. You will be responsible for the work you miss.

-All assignments must be submitted on time in order to pass this course.


Your final evaluation will be based on:

-quality of class participation

-quality of in-class/lab work

-quality of written work

I will distribute specific guidelines for each assignment.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."Theodosius Dobzhansky


Over view of class so be sure to read the home page and the syllabus. If you have questions, please raise them in the first class.

(TEXT)18.1 Understanding evolution

An introduction to evolution

Mechanisms of evolution


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.