Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology

Purpose of Course  showclose

This introductory course in biology starts at the microscopic level, with molecules and cells.  Before we get into the specifics of cell structure and behavior, however, let’s take a cursory glance at the field of biology more generally.  Though biology as we know it today is a relatively new field, we have been studying living things since the beginning of recorded history.  The invention of the microscope was the turning point in the history of biology; it paved the way for scientists to discover bacteria and other tiny organisms, and ultimately led to the modern cell theory of biology.

You will notice that, unlike the core program courses you took in chemistry and physics, introductory biology does not have many mathematical “laws” and “rules” and does not require much math.  Instead, you will learn a great number of new terms and concepts that will help you describe life at the smallest level.  Over the course of this semester, you will recognize the ways in which the tiniest of molecules are involved in the way we go about our everyday lives.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to PSYCH203/BIO101A.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 

Course Designers: Liang Wang and Johanna Choo

Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will have to review the material from all units (1-8).  You will also be required to complete:

  • Unit 1 Quiz
  • Subunit 1.4 Problem Based Learning Assignment
  • Unit 2 Quiz
  • Subunit 2.7 Problem Based Learning Assignment
  • Unit 3 Quiz
  • Unit 4 Quiz
  • Subunit 4.7 Problem Based Learning Assignment
  • Unit 5 Quiz
  • Unit 6 Quiz
  • Subunit 6.4 Problem Based Learning Assignment
  • Unit 7 Quiz
  • Unit 8 Quiz
  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the required assignments listed above.  In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 111 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you about 7 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 and 1.2 (a total of 1.5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 3 hours) on Tuesday night; subunit 1.4 (a total of 2.5 hours) on Wednesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: For more information on the topics covered in this course, please refer to BIO101B.  As you read or watch the lectures, it may be helpful to take notes.  It has been found that the physical act of writing helps a student retain material.  These notes can also act as a study guide for the Final Exam.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe in general terms how life began on Earth.
  • Identify early scientists that played important roles in furthering our understanding of cellular life.
  • Describe the characteristics that define life.
  • List the inorganic and organic molecules that are necessary for life.
  • List the structure and function of organelles in animal and plant cells.
  • List the similarities and differences between animal and plant cells.
  • Describe the reactions in photosynthesis.
  • Explain how the different photosynthetic reactions are found in different parts of the chloroplast.
  • Describe the sequence of photosynthetic reactions.
  • Explain the use of products and the synthesis of reactants in photosynthesis.
  • Explain how protein is synthesized in eukaryotic cells.
  • Describe the similarities and differences between photosynthesis and aerobic respiration.
  • List the reactions in aerobic respiration.
  • Explain the use of products and the synthesis of reactants in aerobic respiration.
  • Describe the similarities and differences between anaerobic and aerobic respiration.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

  Have competency in the English language.

√     Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close