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Essential Objectives

Web Schedule Fall 2020

Revision Date: 02-Aug-20

BIO-2330-VO01 - Principles of Animal Behavior

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Synonym: 198990
Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-08-2020 to 12-21-2020
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-28-2020 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-09-2020 - Refund Policy
Faculty: Stacy Edgar | View Faculty Credentials
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration
This section meets the following General Education Requirement(s):
Scientific Method
  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 page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Browse the Canvas Site for this class.

Course Description:

An introduction to the intelligence, instincts, and action patterns of animals, with attention to both general theories of animal behavior and specific case studies selected by students. Field trips are recommended. Prior learning in biology is strongly recommended.

Essential Objectives:

1. Discuss how scientific approaches toward animal behavior have changed over the years.
2. Explore the importance and applications of the field of animal behavior.
3. Describe how animals establish and protect their territories.
4. Compare and contrast the different ways animals relate to and communicate with members of their own and other species.
5. Define and discuss different animal feeding strategies and their advantages and disadvantages.
6. Describe different reproductive strategies animals adopt and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
7. Define and discuss the factors that favor the evolution of parental care.
8. Demonstrate understanding of the methods of scientific investigation in animal behavior including observation, hypothesis testing, and interpreting, evaluating and applying quantitative data and information.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:

Have you ever seen an animal behaving strangely and wondered why? In principles of animal behavior, students will explore a broad range of fundamental topics related to why animals behave the way they do. Throughout this journey students will explore topics such as communication, territoriality, avoiding predators, foraging for food, reproductive strategies, and why species vary relative to parental care. Students will familiarize themselves with the tools, methods, and challenges of scientific studies in this field by making observations and conducting a research study of their own over the course of the semester. A broad understanding of animal behavior research will be gained as we explore select readings from the scientific literature, interactive online resources, and interesting case studies about why animals behave the way they do.

*There will be opportunities to do individual observations and field studies throughout this course. However, there will always be an online alternative to perform these assignments if getting outdoors is difficult for any reason.


The online classroom is an active place with explorations that will regularly occur through virtual simulations, readings, or other activities followed by development and analysis and deliberate practice of concepts in the field of animal behavior using a guided inquiry approach. Textbook, video and other materials will serve as invaluable resources to help solidify understanding while reviewing the concepts addressed in the online class. Forum discussion will be an integral part of this course helping us hone our process skills and open opportunities for peer review and feedback on our understanding as we engage in learning together. Group discussion will be expected regarding virtual labs and other online and field activities. But individual work will be expected at the time of assessment.

Evaluation Criteria:

Grades will be determined by performance in the following areas:

  • Assignments (30% of overall course grade)
  • Research Project. The project will be broken down into five parts over the course of the semester including a written report and peer review of other student reports. (40% of overall course grade)
  • Forum Discussions (30% of overall course grade)


Fall 2020 textbook data will be available on July 6. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be for this course only. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks.

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

Contact Faculty:

Email: Stacy Edgar
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Jennifer Guarino

Attendance Policy:

Attendance for each week will be based on submissions of work during the week they are assigned or due. If you have been active and submitting work, you will be marked present for the week. If you do not participate in the forum or submit any other work during a week, you will be marked absent. If an emergency occurs that prevents you from submitting work, please contact me via email as soon as possible so I can review your attendance and arrange for time to make up the work.


Class Schedule

1 Introduction to Animal Behavior and Evolution
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 1
  2. Field Assignment: Logging Animal Diversity
  3. Scientific Reading: Conservation
1, 2 & 8
2 Science and the Study of Behavior
  1. Field Assignment: Observing Behavior
  2. Readings: Science as a Process
  3. Library Lesson: Research and Writing Skills
4 & 8
3 Behavioral Ecology and the Evolution of Altruism
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 2
  2. Assignment: Exploring the Scientific Literature
  3. Explore and Discuss: Articles in the Field of Animal Behavior
4 & 8
4 The Evolution of Social Behavior
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 3
  2. Scientific Reading: Living Together
  3. Assignment: Measuring Behavior Article Methods – Living Together
4 & 8
5 Measuring Behavior
  1. Lesson: Measuring Behavior Part 1 – Create an Ethogram
  2. Research Project Assignment 1: Planning Your Investigation – Identifying Your Research Question
6 The Evolution of Communication
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 4
  2. Lesson: Measuring Behavior Part 2 – Sampling Techniques
  3. Research Project Assignment 1: Discussion of Research Questions – Peer feedback
  4. Research Project Assignment 2: Background Literature Search Starts
4 & 8
7 Avoiding Predators and Finding Food
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 5
  2. Research Project Assignment 1: Research Question and Hypothesis DUE
  3. Lesson: Measuring Behavior Part 3 – Activity Budget
5 & 8
8 The Evolution of Habitat Selection, Territoriality and Migration
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 6
  2. Research Project Assignment 2: continued
  3. Research Project Assignment 3: Start Data Methodology and Collection
3 & 8
9 The Evolution of Reproductive Behavior
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 7
  2. Research Project Assignment 3: continue collecting data
6 & 8
10 The Evolution of Mating Systems
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 8
  2. Research Project Assignment 3: DUE
  3. Scientific Reading: Mate Choice
6 & 8
11 The Evolution of Parental Care
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 9
  2. Research Project Assignment 4: Writing your Report
  3. Library Lesson: Review CSE Citation Method
7 & 8
12 Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Behavior
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 10
  2. Research Project Assignment 4: continued
13 The Development of Behavior
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 11
  2. Case Study: A Deadly Passion
  3. Research Project Assignment 4: DUE
1, 2 & 8
14 Evolution, Nervous Systems, and Behavior
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 12
  2. Research Project Assignment 5: Peer Reviews
1, 2 & 8
15 The Evolution of Human Behavior and Wrap Up
  1. Read & Discuss: Alcock Chapter 14
  2. Research Project Assignment 5: DUE 21 Dec

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.
  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 Honesty: 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.

Course description details subject to change. Please refer to this document frequently.

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