BISC 104 Inquiry into Life: The Environment

BISC 104 IS Sec 2, University of Mississippi
[See UM Catalog for Description]

3 credit hours

Instructor Information:

Description: Carol Cleveland

Instructor: Carol Cleveland, PhD

Telephone: (662) 612-0499 this is a Google number that you can use to text me or call and leave a message (speak clearly so that it is easily understood and transcribed).
Google Hangouts:
Virtual Office Hours: Wednesday 4:00-5:00pm; Saturday 10:00-11:00am or by appointment
Office Hours - in person: contact me to schedule if necessary

Communication Policy:

  • E-mail anytime ( I will try my best to return e-mails within 24 hours (except on weekends where I may not respond until Monday afternoon). Be sure to include the course name in the subject line and state your full name at the end of the email. I cannot respond to messages and emails from people that are not identified. I teach several online classes and need to be able to identify the class that the student is in.
  • Grading may take up to a week (7 days). Please do not email me grade related questions before 7 days have elapsed since you turned in an assignment.

Contact Information:

If you have questions concerning the content of the course, you may contact the instructor directly using the Email Your Instructor link in the Lessons or Content page. NOTE: Whenever sending email, please be sure to indicate your course title and number in the subject line. You can expect a response within 72 hours, although it may be longer on weekends. Many instructors reply within 24 hours.

For lesson or test administration issues, please contact the iStudy department:

The University of Mississippi
Division of Outreach and Continuing Education
P. O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677

Phone: (662) 915-7313, toll-free (877) 915-7313
Fax: (662) 915-8826

Course Description

This is a survey course intended for non-biology majors, emphasizing the relationships of humans to the environment, including origins and diversification of life, behavior, ecology, role of plants, and environmental concerns. Applies to the science requirement of the core curriculum. The associated laboratory is BISC 105 and cannot be taken online.

You should learn information necessary to evaluate news and journals of development of evolutionary thought and the ramifications of human impact on the biosphere and environment.

Textbook Information:

Textbook information will be provided upon enrollment in your iStudy course.

Course Objectives:

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the processes driving evolution and diversity of life on Earth and evaluate scientifically supported evidence for evolution.
  2. Compare and contrast relationships among the diverse life forms of Earth, including microorganisms, animals, fungi and plants.
  3. Describe and compare the structure and function of plants, including the process of photosynthesis.
  4. Distinguish between population, community and ecosystem ecology and be able to describe processes involved in ecological relationships among organisms.

Course Outline:

This course consists of 13 instructional modules within 5 unit modules and 2 proctored examinations.

You MUST complete the syllabus quiz as soon as you have access to your Blackboard course. This is mandatory to verify your attendance.

*NOTE: you must pass the Syllabus and Orientation Quiz for the course materials to appear on the Lessons page.

Unit Module



Due for Grades

Pacing guide to complete the course in a semester

Start Here


*You MUST complete the syllabus quiz as soon as you have access to your Blackboard course. This is mandatory to verify your attendance.*
NOTE: you must pass the Syllabus and Orientation Quiz for the course materials to appear on the Lessons page.

  • Syllabus Quiz

Week 1



Introduction videos

  • Log in and register for McGraw-Hill Connect and LearnSmart – Complete Introduction exercise
  • Discussion board – Introduce Yourself

Week 1



Module 1: Forces of Evolutionary Change 
Chapter 12

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 12
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 12
  • Journal - Examples of Natural Selection
  • Making of a Theory Quiz
  • 5 Fingers of Evolution Paragraph

Week 2


Module 2: Evidence of Evolution
Chapter 13

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 13
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 13 
  • Module 2 Video Quiz
  • Journal – How Strong is our Evidence?

Week 3


Module 3: Speciation and Extinction
Chapter 14

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 14
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 14 
  • What is a Species? Summary
  • Adaptive Radiation – imagine activity
  • Journal – Tree of Life

Week 4



Module 4: Diversity of Microbial Life
Chapter 15

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 15
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 15 
  • Microbial Life Video Quiz
  • Journal – Microbial Diseases

Week 5


Module 5: Diversity of Plants
Chapter 16

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 16
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 16
  • Plant Adaptation to Land paragraph
  • Journal – Plant life cycles 

Week 6


Module 6: Diversity of Animals (Invertebrates)
Chapter 17 (17.117.9)

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 17
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 17
  • Invertebrate Diversity Video summary
  • Animal Features – compare and contrast
  • Journal – Spineless Critters

Week 7


Module 7: Diversity of Animals (Vertebrates)
Chapter 17 (17.1017.12)

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 17b
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 17b
  • Your Inner ____ Video summary
  • Journal – Vertebrate Adaptations

Week 8

Mid Term Exam

Comprehensive proctored exam covering Unit Modules 1-2 (Lesson Modules 1-7, Chapters 12-17)

Review Available

To be scheduled and completed before proceeding

End of Week 8


If you are a semester student, you must reach the midpoint of your course by the date specified in your orientation information.
If you are a Flex UM student, you CANNOT WITHDRAW from this course after the exam has been submitted.

All lesson assignments or exams needed to reach the midpoint of the course

The exact date semester students are required to reach the midpoint is specified in your information.



Module 8: Plant Form and Function
Chapter 21

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 21
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 21
  • Plant Structure and Growth Quiz
  • Journal – Products from Plants

Week 9


Module 9: Reproduction and Development of Flowering Plants
Chapter 22

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 22
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 22
  • Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind paragraph
  • Journal – Seed Dispersal

Week 10


Module 10: Photosynthesis
Chapter 5

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 5
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 5
  • Plant Pigment Extraction
  • Khan Academy Assignment
  • Journal – Plants and Air Quality

Week 11



Module 11: Population Ecology
Chapter 18

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 18
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 18 ü Mystery in Alaska Part I
  • Mystery in Alaska Part II
  • Journal – Mystery in Alaska Part III

Week 12


Module 12: Communities and Ecosystems
Chapter 19

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 19
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 19
  • HHMI Video quiz
  • Journal – Aquatic Biomes

Week 13


Module 13: Preserving Biodiversity
Chapter 20

  • LearnSmart – Chapter 20
  • Connect Quiz – Chapter 20
  • Exotic Species Assignment
  • Journal – El Nino and Climate Change

Week 14



Module 14: Ecology and Evolution Wrap-Up 
Video:  NOVA Mass Extinction  

  • Journal 15: Ecology and Evolution Summary

Week 15

Final Exam

Comprehensive proctored exam covering Unit Modules 3-5 (Lesson Modules 8-14, Chapters 5, 18-22)
Review Available

To be scheduled and completed to finalize credit
All course work must be submitted and graded to be eligible to sit for the Final Exam

Week 16


GRADING SCALE: It is the policy of the School of Accountancy not to use the +/- grading scale.
A 90-100%
A- 88-89.9%
B+ 85-87.9%
B 80-84.9%
B- 78-79.9%
C+ 75-77.9%
C 70-74.9%
C- 68-69.9%
D 60-67.9%
F Below 60


You must submit the lessons required to take the course exam(s). Lessons required but not submitted will receive a grade of zero. For the final exam, all coursework must be submitted and graded.