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Biology Core/AP

Chat times for 2018-2019
Monday-Wednesday (CORE)/Friday (AP)
9a-10:30a ET/6a-7:30a PT


Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

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Procedures, Methods, Goals, and Expectations

Core and AP Course Goals, Methods, Procedures, and Expectations

Goals

We have several goals in this course:

While the final goal may loom largely on your horizon as you consider college plans, and may threaten to eclipse the others, it is really the least important. Mastery of the material and methods of a science will not only mean you are prepared to take an exam in that field, it will also mean that you have the ability to remember and apply what you have learned long after exams become a distant memory (and they will).

Methods and Procedures

We'll employ a number of methods to learn the material. This outline provides a brief overview of these. The Student Survival Guide under "Student Helps" in the menu for this course provides more detailed information about each area, along with suggestions on how to manage your time, approach mathematically-based homework assignments, write essays and lab reports, and study for exams. There is also a Parent's Guide with suggestions on how parents can help their students succeed in the course.

Textbooks

The "Texts" link will list the required textbooks, lab manuals, and student guides, if any, that are required for the course. When you receive your textbooks, spend some time becoming familiar with the table of contents, order of materials, special helps, glossaries, and indexes. Science texts frequently have tables of important formulae, constants, units, and other basic information that you will need throughout the course. Be sure to check the the course schedule (see course website below) so that you understand how the textbook readings fit into the overall course plans.

All reading assignments for the semester will be posted in the Course Syllabus and on the Moodle course calendar at the beginning of the course. You are expected to read the material before attending the chat session. Normally, we will cover one chapter of the text per week, usually about 20-30 pages. This material is targeted for freshman college students, but my experience is that most high school students can handle it if they pace themselves.

Textbook materials may include videos or interactive exercises publicly available the web (i.e, not part of an extra study option that you must purchase). If you are expected to view these, they will be listed in the homework assignments.

Class Meetings (Chats)

Each of the biology, chemistry, and combination physics courses have a core component and an AP option. All students must be enrolled in the core component for their subject, which meets twice a week. Students taking the AP option must also attend a third chat session covering additional topics or depth of detail, lab work, and AP test preparation.

You attend chat sessions by going to the Scholars Online Website, clicking on "Chat Login", and selecting from the chats listed for your courses meeting that day. If you are a new student, you should participate in a Moodle Orientation session during the last weeks of August to verify that you have chat access and know how to use it prior to the start of classes.

Course Website

The course website contains the teacher's additional materials for this year's course. Most important, it will have

Web lectures allow you to read teacher-written explanations and examples at your convenience before chat, so that we can spend our chat time in discussion, in team exercises, and answering your particular questions.

Scholars Online Moodle


The server at Scholars Online will host our chats. The Moodle (also on the server) contains the forums and mastery exercises for your class assignements, chapter or unit review quizzes, and the a matching schedule for our work. Access will be limited to class members. We also have the ability to create Wiki entries (good for learning terminology), take surveys, and work on group activities. Students performing labs for the lab option will have forums for their work in these areas. Since only members of the class will see your postings, you should feel free to use the class forum to ask questions and contact each other about class business, and to continue discussions for which we may not have time in class.

All Moodle content is subject to teacher and administrator review. Additionally, parents will be assigned "Mentor" status for their own students, and have the ability to review assignments, due dates, missed work, and grades.

Homework

Homework assignments usually consist of mastery exercises for each chapter, broken into manageable sections, and taken and completed on the Moodle. You should complete as much of the assigned sections before chat so that you can bring questions to class on any concepts or problems that stump you. You may continue to complete the material after the chat date and return to the exercise any time for review. You must achieve a minimal passing score on the mastery exercise before you can take the related quiz.

Labs

Lab work for Scholars Online biology, chemistry, and physics courses is not optional. Even if you are taking only the core curriculum option, you will need to complete several skill-building labs and several experiments to receive any course credit, and turn in formal lab reports for each assignment. These labs will be due at regular intervals during the year. Only students taking the AP option have the opportunity to do a limited amount of work over the summer.

Quizzes

Each chapter concludes with a quiz on the material covered in the weblectures, chat presentations, mastery exercises, and text. You must have completed the mastery exercise successfully before you can take the quiz. These quizzes are usually multiple choice or simple computational answers, and similar to those you will see on SAT and AP standard examinations.

Exams

Comprehensive exams are given at the end of the semester in biology. Unit exams are given at the end of significant work in specific topics in Chemistry and Physics; students also have the option of taking comprehensive exams at the end of the spring semester if they wish to raise their grade. Exam dates will be posted at the start of the year in the syllabus, so that students can plan their study and review time.

Exams must be taken under parental supervision and submitted to the Moodle for grading. These exams usually contain 50-60 multiple choice questions, similar to those on the online quizzes, 4-6 computation problems, similar to those that are covered in the mastery exercises, and in biology only, a formal research report which you complete prior to the exam date. Regular participation in chat discussions, completion of all homework assignments, drilling on vocabulary, and routine completion of the online quizzes are your best preparation for successful completion of the course.

Expectations

You are expected to:

You may expect me to: