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21.1: Learning Objectives - Biology

21.1: Learning Objectives - Biology



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Learning Objectives

After this lab you should be able to:

  1. Perform an Acid-Fast Stain on a mixed culture of bacteria (Acid-Fast/non-Acid-Fast).
  2. Explain the principles of how the Acid-Fast Stain works.
  3. Evaluate and interpret your Acid-Fast Stain results correctly.
  4. Interpret and troubleshoot poor stain results.

“Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest diseases:

  • One third of the world’s population is infected with TB.
  • In 2014, 9.6 million people around the world became sick with TB disease. There were 1.5 million TB-related deaths worldwide.
  • TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected.

A total of 9,421 TB cases (a rate of 2.96 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in the United States in 2014. Both the number of TB cases reported and the case rate decreased; this represents a 1.5% and 2.2% decline, respectively, compared to 2013. This is the smallest decline in more than a decade.”1

“The presence of acid-fast-bacilli (AFB) on a sputum smear or other specimen often indicates TB disease. Acid-fast microscopy is easy and quick, but it does not confirm a diagnosis of TB because some acid-fast-bacilli are not M. tuberculosis. Therefore, a culture is done on all initial samples to confirm the diagnosis. (However, a positive culture is not always necessary to begin or continue treatment for TB.) A positive culture for M. tuberculosis confirms the diagnosis of TB disease. Culture examinations should be completed on all specimens, regardless of AFB smear results. Laboratories should report positive results on smears and cultures within 24 hours by telephone or fax to the primary health care provider and to the state or local TB control program, as required by law.”2


Aims and Objectives of Studying Biology

Biology is both fascinating and fun to study at the elementary and secondary level, especially when connected to everyday life. For instance, elementary students love learning about tadpoles, and secondary students enjoy examining dirty pond water under a microscope. The subject of biology piques intellectual curiosity, increases awareness of the fragile ecosystem, and stimulates critical thinking. The aims and values of teaching biological sciences should focus on the importance of appreciating the natural world and protecting planet Earth.


The Biology Department assesses student outcomes in its three degree programs and makes data-based decisions according to the assessment results. There are three undergraduate Programs within the Biology Department: Biology, Biological Science Composite Teaching, and Public Health. Learning objectives and their corresponding assessments overlap significantly for the Biology and Biological Science Composite Teaching programs. There are different Emphases within the Biology and Public Health Programs. In the case of the Biology Program, the Emphases are closely aligned and do not have different learning objectives or assessments. In contrast, the three Emphases of the Public Health Program (Industrial Hygiene, Public Health Education, and Environmental Health) are distinct enough to require Emphasis-specific learning objectives and assessments.

Biology Major - Biology Emphasis Cellular/Molecular Emphasis Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Emphasis Human Biology Emphasis


The Learning Objectives for Biology majors are based on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (AAAS, 2011).

Objective 1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate analytical and experimental scientific skills.
a) Graduates will be able to practice the process of science.
1. Demonstrates a clear understanding of the big picture What is the research question and why is this question important/ interesting in the field of biology?
2. Content knowledge is accurate, relevant and provides appropriate background for reader including defining critical terms.
3. Methods are likely to produce salient and fruitful results.
4. Data are summarized in a logical format. Tables and figures are appropriate.
5. Conclusion is clearly and logically drawn from data provided. Conflicting data, if present, are adequately addressed.
6. Limitations of the data and/or project design and corresponding implications discussed.
7. Paper gives a clear indication of the implications and direction of the research in the future.
8. Relevant and reasonably complete discussion of how this research project relates to others’ work in the field (scientific context provided)

Objective 2
. Graduates will be able to recognize and articulate fundamental concepts and principles of biology.
a) Demonstrate how the diversity of life evolved over time via evolutionary mechanisms.

b) Evaluate the relationships between biological structure and function.
c) Explain how the properties of organisms depend on biotic and abiotic information transfer.
d) Apply the principles of physics and chemistry to explain how living systems operate.
e) Model the interactions between organisms and their environment at population, community and ecosystem levels.

Objective 3. Graduates will acquire the practices of professional scientists.
b) Communicate biological concepts and interpretations to scientists in other disciplines and the general public.
1. Grammar, word usage and organization facilitate the reader’s understanding of the paper.
2. Clear choice of language in oral presentations.
3. Technical use of media, tactical use of media, use of mental images to support explanation.

Biological Science Composite Teaching Major


The Learning Objectives for Biology majors are based on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (AAAS, 2011).

Objective 1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate analytical and experimental scientific skills.
a) Graduates will be able to practice the process of science.
1. Demonstrates a clear understanding of the big picture What is the research question and why is this question important/ interesting in the field of biology?
2. Content knowledge is accurate, relevant and provides appropriate background for reader including defining critical terms.
3. Methods are likely to produce salient and fruitful results.
4. Data are summarized in a logical format. Tables and figures are appropriate.
5. Conclusion is clearly and logically drawn from data provided. Conflicting data, if present, are adequately addressed.
6. Limitations of the data and/or project design and corresponding implications discussed.
7. Paper gives a clear indication of the implications and direction of the research in the future.
8. Relevant and reasonably complete discussion of how this research project relates to others’ work in the field (scientific context provided)

Objective 2
. Graduates will be able to recognize and articulate fundamental concepts and principles of biology.
a) Demonstrate how the diversity of life evolved over time via evolutionary mechanisms.

b) Evaluate the relationships between biological structure and function.
c) Explain how the properties of organisms depend on biotic and abiotic information transfer.
d) Apply the principles of physics and chemistry to explain how living systems operate.
e) Model the interactions between organisms and their environment at population, community and ecosystem levels.

Objective 3. Graduates will acquire the practices of professional scientists.
b) Communicate biological concepts and interpretations to scientists in other disciplines and the general public.
1. Grammar, word usage and organization facilitate the reader’s understanding of the paper.
2. Clear choice of language in oral presentations.
3. Technical use of media, tactical use of media, use of mental images to support explanation.


Learning Objectives

The Molecular biology program, jointly sponsored by the Biology and Chemistry departments, offer students in depth training in Molecular Biology. Since students begin by taking introductory level courses in both Biology or Chemistry, the Molecular Biology learning goals build upon those of these two departments. (see learning goals for Biology and Chemistry majors).

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand the scientific process, in the context of learning the fundamental biological and chemical ‘facts' of molecular biology.
  • Students will gain skills required to effectively do scientific research. More specifically, students will learn to implement the scientific method by proposing hypotheses to explain biological phenomena, designing and conducting experiments to test these hypotheses, and critically interpreting the resulting data.
  • Students will learn to effectively communicate their results, both orally and in writing. In addition, they will be able to critically evaluate scientific literature and the current state of research progress in their area of interest.

Due to the extensive training they receive in scientific investigation, most Molecular Biology graduates subsequently enroll in graduate school, medical school, or a combination of the two.

The courses required to fulfill the major are highly prescribed. The introductory Biology and Chemistry courses introduce students to the concept of the scientific method. The upper division courses place special emphasis on the primary literature, including interpreting, evaluating and presenting scientific data. Most of these classes contain a laboratory component, involving students in true investigative research projects. The design and assessment embedded in individual courses are highly consistent with the goals of the molecular biology program: students will graduate having a good understanding of the molecular biology field, a solid understanding of the scientific method, and the ability to apply this knowledge in the context of a senior thesis exercise.

The Molecular biology program values scientific research and as such requires all students to undertake a full year experimental senior thesis. In addition, most majors take advantage of summer research opportunities at Pomona. The senior exercise culminates in a final oral presentation, and a written thesis that follows the format of scientific research papers.


Method refers to the way of delivering knowledge and transmitting scientific skills by a teacher to his pupils. Methods of teaching biological science can be classified into two types:

Categories of “Teaching Methods”

We shall deal with some of the commonly used methods of teaching Biological science. Generally teaching methods can be categorized as follows:

  • Lecture method
  • Demonstration method
  • Team-teaching
  • Laboratory method
  • Project method
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Individual activities
  • Experiential method
  • Teacher-guided learning
  • Problem-solving method
  • Whole class interactive learning
  • Student seminar
  • Group Discussion
  • Mixed-ability grouping

Chapter 13 Meiosis Objectives

1. Explain in general terms how traits are transmitted from parents to offspring.

2. Distinguish between asexual and sexual reproduction.

The Role of Meiosis in Sexual Life Cycles

3. Distinguish between the following pairs of terms:

a. somatic cell and gamete

b. autosome and sex chromosome

4. Explain how haploid and diploid cells differ from each other. State which cells in the human body are diploid and which are haploid.

5. Explain why fertilization and meiosis must alternate in all sexual life cycles.

6. Distinguish among the three life-cycle patterns characteristic of eukaryotes, and name one organism that displays each pattern.

7. List the phases of meiosis I and meiosis II and describe the events characteristic of each phase.

8. Recognize the phases of meiosis from diagrams or micrographs.

9. Describe the process of synapsis during prophase I and explain how genetic recombination occurs.

10. Describe three events that occur during meiosis I but not during mitosis.

Origins of Genetic Variation

11. Explain how independent assortment, crossing over, and random fertilization contribute to genetic variation in sexually reproducing organisms.

12. Explain why heritable variation is crucial to Darwin ’s theory of evolution by natural selection


To provide students with the ability to develop hypotheses and design approaches to evaluate them, as well as to access and critically evaluate information in biology:

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to develop testable hypotheses, design appropriate experiments, and present reasoned analyses and interpretations of results.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively use electronic media to access biological information.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate a journal article from the primary literature.

Write Performance-Based Learning Objectives

In order to successfully compare desired vs. actual states and identify learning gaps, we will need to ensure that our instruction is directly linked to learning objectives that are clear, measurable, and criterion-referenced. Without clear learning objectives, how do you know you are successful? Good objectives help focus instruction on where it is needed most, reducing time and effort on planning, organizing, and delivering instruction.

Good, clear objectives provide three primary components: an event or triggering condition, a directly observable or measurable action, and a degree of criteria needed for success.

Source: Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J.O. (2009). The systematic design of instruction (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Activities

Using some of the details from the chart, review these examples and write down ways to make them more detailed and performance-oriented.

  • Learners will understand the basic anatomy of a healthy eye compared to one with cataracts.
  • Learners will assess and educate a simulated patient for hypertension.


These may seem like obvious examples of vague objectives, but how many times have you seen similar objectives like these before? The first objective does not provide a clear trigger or event, omits any observable behaviors or skills learners must demonstrate, and does not specify how this objective can be evaluated or achieved using concrete criteria. The second objective assumes some of these missing factors, but still omits them. Compare your answers to some revised examples here:


How to Write an Instructional Objectives

The first question we might ask ourselves is "What is an objective?" An objective is a description of what the learner will be able to do after successfully completing the learning experience. When we write objectives, we must ask ourselves what we want the learner to be able to accomplish after we put them through a lesson or training component.

Instructional objectives are important because without them it is impossible to effectively evaluate learning. It is also difficult to select content, appropriate course materials, or specific teaching strategies.

Tests can lose their relevancy or fairness unless specific objectives are clear to both the student and the teacher. If teachers do not have a clear idea of the intent of the lesson, they will not be able to select test items that clearly reflect the students ability to perform the intended skills. Also, if students are aware of a clearly defined objective, they have the tools with which to evaluate their own progress. This way learners can tell if they are on target.

Four Fundamentals of Good Objectives

When trying to write good objectives, just ask yourself the following:

Bloom, B. S. (1984) Taxonomy of educational objectives. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Bloom, B. S. , et al (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals. A committee of college and university examiners. New York : McKay.

Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J., Smaldino, S. (2001). Instructional Media and Technologies for Learning, 7th Edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Mager, R. F. (1997). Preparing instructional objectives: A critical tool in the development of effective instruction (3 ed.). Atlanta, GA: The Center for Effective Performance.

Shambaugh, N., & Magliaro, S. G. (2006). Instructional design: A systematic approach for reflective practice. In. Boston: Pearson Education.


21.1: Learning Objectives - Biology

To view more detailed versions of Bio1B learning outcomes, which are in a pdf format, you will need to have Adobe's Acrobat Reader on your computer. If you don't have this software, click on the graphic below for information on obtaining a free copy of Adobe acrobat reader.

Lecture Topics

The number of hours spent on each lecture topic

Learning Outcomes

Systematics, biological diversity, phylogeny

Evidence of evolution, the Darwinian theory

Process and patterns of inheritance

Genes within populations, Hardy-Weinberg

Origins of species, Intro. to Macroevolution

Is a new synthesis needed?

Evolutionary time scale and the fossil record

Plate tectonics, biogeography, changing climates

Origin of life, Diversification of animals

Radiation of vertebrates and origin of life on land

Mass extinctions and amniote evolution

Changing climates and origin of the modern biota
The development of Darwinian thought (1.5)

The genetic basis of evolution (1.5)

Population genetics & Microevolution (3)

Natural Selection & Speciation (3)

Geological Time and the fossil record (1.5)

Systematics and classification (1.5)

Evolution and Ecology (1.5)explain how life might have originated on this planet

describe the experiments of Mendel and use Mendel's principles to solve novel problems.

describe the Hardy-Weinberg law and explain the conditions that must be met for it to hold true

explain the consequence of violating each of the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg law and explain when a population is in equilibrium.

use cladistic analysis to better understand and explain the phylogenetic relatedness among organisms.

describe Darwin's theories and how the principles of natural selection can lead to speciation.

give examples of adaptation and of both allopatric and sympatric speciation.

contrast alternate models for macroevolution and describe the major patterns in the fossil record.

relate broad patterns in the fossil record to major geological events and plate tectonic movement.

Ecology What did Darwin really say?

Organism interactions and competition

Aquatic ecosystems
Ecology and the ecological method (1.5)

Individuals - adaptation and behavior (1.5)

Species Diversity - patterns and maintenance (1.5)

Ecology, environment and man (1.5)describe the different levels of organization used in ecology.

distinguish between biotic and abiotic factors.

explain how single species populations grow and are regulated.

distinguish between density dependent and density independent birth and death rates.

describe how population data can be analysed using statistics, graphs, life tables, and survivorship curves.

describe the principal interactions between different species and how they affect the respective species.

describe the major forces structuring communities and explain how community structure can be represented by food webs.

explain how communities change in both space (biomes and gradients) and time (succession).

explain the large scale patterns of biodiversity, describe how biodiversity is measured and predict the consequences of continued species loss. Plants and Fungi Introduction / Fungi

Algae, mosses, lower vascular plants

Roots, structure and development

Shoots, secondary structure

Flowering, fruit development

Water relations, plant mineral nutrition

Introduction, classification
and the origin of life (1.5)

Plants in water and on land (3)

Water relations and mineral nutrition (1.5)

Fungi (1.5)describe and distinguish the variety of possible life cycles for a sexual organism and diagram a generalised lifecycle for animals, plants, and fungi.

describe the distinguishing features of the major plant phyla and their evolutionary relationships.

show how the evolution of plants is associated with the morphological and physiological adaptations required for a terrestrial life.

explain the mechanisms of xylem and phloem sap movement in plants.

describe how plants control and co-ordinate actions using hormones and give examples of the effects of each of the major groups of plant hormone.

explain how reproduction and embryo development occurs in gymnosperms and angiosperms.

distinguish between primary and secondary growth in plants and explain how both occur.