BISC 104 Inquiry into Life: The Environment

BISC 104 IS Sec 3, 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.

Unit Module



Due for Grades

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



Introduction videos

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



Module 1: Forces of Evolutionary Change 
Chapter 12

  • Read/Study Chapter 12
  • Module 1 Connect Assignment
  • Making of a Theory Quiz
  • Journal - Examples of Adaptation by Natural Selection
  • Module 1 Blackboard Quiz


Module 2: Evidence of Evolution
Chapter 13

  • Read/Study Chapter 13
  • Module 2 Connect Assignment
  • Module 2 Video Quiz
  • Journal – How Strong is our Evidence?
  • Module 2 Blackboard Quiz


Module 3: Speciation and Extinction
Chapter 14

  • Read/Study Chapter 14
  • Module 3 Connect Assignment
  • Defining a Species Dropbox
  • Adaptive Radiation – imagine activity
  • Journal – Speciation
  • Module 3 Blackboard Quiz

Unit 1 Exam

Covers Chapters 12-14

  • Study attempts are allowed on Learn Smart
  • Practice Exam is available



Module 4: Diversity of Microbial Life
Chapter 15

  • Read/Study Chapter 15
  • Module 4 Connect Assignment
  • Microbial Life Video Quiz
  • Journal – Microbial Diseases
  • Module 4 Blackboard Quiz


Module 5: Diversity of Plants
Chapter 16

  • Read/Study Chapter 16
  • Module 5 Connect Assignment
  • Plant Adaptation Dropbox
  • Journal – Plant Distribution
  • Module 5 Blackboard Quiz


Module 6: Diversity of Animals (Invertebrates)
Chapter 17 

  • Read/Study Chapter 17
  • Module 6 Connect Assignment
  • Invertebrate Diversity Video summary
  • Journal Your Inner … Video summary
  • Module 6 Blackboard Quiz

Unit 2 Exam

Covers Chapters 15-17

  • Study attempts are allowed on Learn Smart
  • Practice Exam is available 


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 7: Plant Form and Function
Chapter 21

  • Read/Study Chapter 21
  • Module 7 Connect Assignment
  • Plant Structure and Growth Quiz
  • Journal – Products from Plants
  • Module 7 Blackboard Quiz


Module 8: Reproduction and Development of Flowering Plants
Chapter 22

  • Read/Study Chapter 22
  • Module 8 Connect Assignment
  • Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind Dropbox
  • Journal – Seed Dispersal
  • Module 8 Blackboard Quiz


Module 9: Photosynthesis
Chapter 5

  • Read/Study Chapter 5
  • Module 9 Connect Assignment
  • Assignment Choice – complete one
  • Journal – Plants and Air Quality
  • Module 9 Blackboard Quiz

Unit 3 Exam

Covers Chapters 21, 22, 5

  • Study attempts are allowed on Learn Smart
  • Practice Exam is available 



Module 10: Population Ecology
Chapter 18

  • Read/Study Chapter 18
  • Module 10 Connect Assignment
  • Loggerhead Turtle Activity/Quiz
  • Journal – Hunting/Fishing
  • Module 10 Blackboard Quiz


Module 11: Communities and Ecosystems
Chapter 19

  • Read/Study Chapter 19
  • Module 11 Connect Assignment
  • Barnacle Community Simulation Dropbox
  • Journal – Aquatic Biomes
  • Module 11 Blackboard Quiz


Module 12: Preserving Biodiversity
Chapter 20

  • Read/Study Chapter 20
  • Module 12 Connect Assignment
  • Invasive Species Dropbox
  • Journal – Human Impact on Global Climate
  • Module 12 Blackboard Quiz


Module 13: Ecology and Evolution Wrap-Up 
Video:  NOVA Mass Extinction  

  • Journal – Ecology and Evolution Summary
  • Extra credit Flip grid video--can replace a quiz grade

Final Exam

Unit 4 and Comprehensive proctored exam covering Chapters 18-20 (75%)
and All 4 Units (25%)
Practice Exam 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


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.