BIO380          Communicating Biology


Instructor: Donald F. Slish         Phone: 564-5160        email:

Office: 304B Beaumont Hall

Office Hours: Mon., & Fri. 1-2 P.M., Tues. 10-11 A.M.


Assignments                                                 Points

In-class Essay                                                     25

Homework Essay                                                25

Popular Style Paper                                           100

Popular Oral Presentation                                  100

Scientific Review Paper                                      100

Scientific Oral Presentation                                  100

Letter of Application and Resume                          50

Final In-class Essay                                               50

                                                Total                    550 / 5.5 = 100%


Tentative Schedule:


In-class essay


Discuss In-class essay, assign homework essay,
  Assign times for conferences


Essay due via email: 12:00 P.M.


Essay Conferences


Essay Conferences


Submit essay for grading,
  Discuss Popular Essay in class


Bring in topic for Popular Essay, discuss
  Assign times for conferences


Essay Conferences, Schedule Oral Presentations


Essay Conferences, Schedule Oral Presentations


Submit Essay for grading,
  Lecture on Presentations, Popular Oral Presentations


Popular Oral Presentations


Popular Oral Presentations


Popular Oral Presentations


Columbus Day


Oral Presentations, Discussion of Scientific Review Papers


Review Paper Conferences – 1st draft due


Review Paper Conferences - 1st draft due


Review Paper Conferences – 2nd draft due


Review Paper Conferences – 2nd draft due


Review papers due
  Discussion of Scientific Presentations


Oral Scientific Presentations


Oral Scientific Presentations


Oral Scientific Presentations


Oral Scientific Presentations


Oral Scientific Presentations


Discussion of Letter of Application and Resume




Letters and Resumes due - Final Essays (in-class)


Final In-class Essays


Final In-class Essays


Return final Essays






This schedule is very tentative.  I’m not sure how much time each of these assignments will take.  I may assign more essays as the semester goes on.

Bonus Points

Bonus points will be awarded to people who ask good (i.e., relevant) questions during oral presentations.



Plagiarism is the deliberate use of another person’s writing while pretending that it is your own work.  This can be accidental, as when a student believes he is paraphrasing, cites the reference, but the text is almost word-for-word from the source.  Bad paraphrasing like this will cost points on an assignment, but can be part of the learning process.  Serious plagiarism is when someone deliberately uses another’s writing without citing the original author.  This can happen accidentally in a paper and will result in point deductions.  However, chronic or repeated offenses will result in a 0 for the assignment. The most serious plagiarism is when whole paragraphs or whole papers are either cut and pasted from others’ work or borrowed or bought from another student or a paper mill.  An offense like this will result in a 0 for the assignment and a report to the Dean (who is on the look-out for serial plagiarizers).  A second offense of this magnitude will result in failure for the course and possible suspension from the University.  You will be turning in each of your assignments in electronic form and computer programs will be used to determine if plagiarism has occurred.



Attendance in the class or at scheduled conferences is mandatory.  There are oral presentations and in-class writing projects that can’t be made up.  You are allowed 2 absences and every absence after that (excused or not) will cost you 2 points of your overall grade.  



There are quite a few assignments to hand in this semester and the temptation with all writing is to put it off until the last minute.  This is the best way to produce a terrible product.  Your best writing will come when you write something and then ignore it for a few days.  When you go back to it, you can look at it with a fresh eye and judge it more critically, and therefore improve it.  Extending deadlines only perpetuates the problem.  If you know that you can get an extension, you will procrastinate until the last minute – it’s just human nature.  For this reason, there will be no extension of deadlines.  You will lose points for anything not handed in on time at the rate of 2 points per day – including weekends.  The same goes for oral reports – extensions will result in the deduction of points.


Grading Scale:

A      > 93

A-         90 - 92

B+        87 - 89

         83 - 86

B-         80 - 82

C+          77 - 79

        73 - 76

C-         70 - 72

D+        66 - 69

D         62 - 65

E              < 62            


A message from the University Administration and the Faculty Senate: 


  It is expected that all students enrolled in this

class support the letter and the spirit of the

Academic Honesty Policy as stated

 in the college catalog.


Writing Standards for Department of Biological Sciences


Assessment of Student Learning:  Analytical skill development and understanding of fundamental biological principles


The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to providing students with a first-rate educational experience as articulated in the Departmental Mission Statement:


            “The Department of Biological Sciences strives to provide students with the fundamental understanding of the principles and methods of the life sciences within the context of a sound liberal arts education.  Emphasis is on the development of the student’s ability to analyze problems, apply scientific method, communicate biological information, and interpret current advances in research.”


Student progress toward attaining the goals set forth in the Departmental Mission Statement will be assessed in part by an exam or quiz question that has been selected for this purpose by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.



Writing Standards for Department of Biological Sciences


It is the position of the Department of Biological Sciences at Plattsburgh State that all students must learn to write in a clear and intelligent manner.  We recognize that this goal cannot be achieved by depending only on the efforts of others to foster good writing. We further believe that the general quality of student writing will not improve unless we as a department are willing to state explicitly the standards we expect students to meet and to enforce those standards.  Therefore, in courses taught by the Department of Biological Sciences, in addition to grading the content of written assignments, all faculty will also grade assignments for writing.