Types of Assignments
In this course, you will do the same types of assignments at the same time each week, as listed below. As you read through the list, you may be asking yourself "Why so many assignments? And why so many different due dates?" The answers are: (1) The material is broken up into bite-sized chunks. Rather than having one big assignment due every week, there are many small ones. If you don't like one, don't worry, it won't last long, and another will soon take its place! (2) This is a three-credit class, and you neither attend lecture nor take exams. There should be a fair amount of work for you to earn those three credits. (3) It is important that you think about new course material nearly every day, not just once a week. That's why there are so many different due dates for all of our bite-sized chunks. That said, you control your work in this course; you don't have to wait until the last minute to do any assignment if you don't want to!
Starting Assumptions (generally due Tuesday at 8 p.m. with responses by 11 p.m.) -- 5 points/chapter
The purpose of these assignments is to get you to express some of your opinions or thoughts about each subject before you really dig deeply into it. Each assignment includes a set of questions; you can answer as many of them as you like in your Starting Assumptions post. As part of this assignment, you will need to respond to the assumptions of at least two other students. You will use Desire2Learn gradebook declarations to self-report completion of this assignment; see the Honor Code for more information.
Reading and Reading Quiz (generally due Wednesday at 11 p.m.) -- 5 points/chapter
The purpose of the reading and quiz is for you to acquire the basic information you need to complete your subsequent writing assignments. Each week you will read an assigned chapter from your textbook. You will then log on to MasteringBiology® and take a quiz over the chapter. The quiz will have 10 questions, each worth 0.5 points, randomly selected from a bank of questions.
Digging Deeper assignment (generally due Thursday at 8 p.m. with responses by 11 p.m.) -- 10 points/chapter
This assignment will be different for each chapter, but all will have the same purpose: to encourage you to further explore a particularly challenging and/or interesting aspect of the chapter's topic. As part of this assignment, you will need to respond to the assignments that at least two other students have submitted. You will self-report completion of this assignment; see the Honor Code for more information.
Freelance Writer assignment (generally due Sundays at 8 p.m. with responses by 11 p.m.) -- 10 points each
This assignment will be similar each week. You will select a format that lends itself to the creation of installments, or episodes -- think TV series (comedies, dramas, mysteries, cartoons, soap operas, game shows, talk shows, reality shows), short stories, fairy tales, Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes mysteries, comic books, etc. Each week, you will pretend to be a freelance writer assigned to create a new installment for your chosen format. The episode will have to meet certain criteria, which will change each week, but which will always apply what you have learned from the week's topic. I will grade each of your weekly installments, but you will also get responses from your classmates. You will self-report completion of responses only for this assignment; see the Honor Code for more information.
Adopt-a-Species assignment (generally due Sundays at 8 p.m. with responses due Mondays by 11 p.m.)-- 15 points each
At the end of each unit, we will have an Adopt-a-Species assignment instead of the Freelance Writer assignment. In the first one, you will choose a species to "adopt" for the rest of the semester. Subsequent Adopt-a-Species assignments will build on the first, integrating the concepts from each unit's chapters and applying them to your chosen species. I will grade these assignments using a rubric you can see in advance, but you will also get responses from your classmates. You will self-report completion of responses only for this assignment; see the Honor Code for more information.
Please notice that your textbook does not lend itself to distributing the Adopt-a-Species assignments evenly throughout the semester. The Adopt-a-Species weeks will be weeks 6, 8, 12, and 15.
Final Thoughts (generally due by Monday at 11 p.m. on Freelance Writer weeks OR Tuesday at Noon on Adopt-a-Species weeks) -- 5 points/chapter
The purpose of this assignment is to help you reflect on what you learned in the chapter. You'll need to wait until the other students have had a chance to post their responses before you can do this assignment, which includes responding to your peers' responses to your post. You will self-report completion of this assignment; see the Honor Code for more information.
Extra Credit (generally due Monday at 11 p.m.) -- 2 points/chapter (optional) + 7 additional one-time points (optional)
The purpose of these optional assignments is to encourage further/additional interaction with your fellow students. During Freelance Writer weeks, you'll usually respond to a topic posted on our D2L discussion board; During Adopt-a-Species weeks, you'll get points for extra responses to classmates. An additional 2 points will be granted during week 6 if you adopt a non-vertebrate organism for your species of choice. (There is also a way to get some extra points by pointing out broken links, misspellings, or other errors on this website. See the grading page for more information.)