Biology Learning Outcomes

Updated page on 9/25/2018

Learning Outcomes

Biology department learning goals are:

  • Students learn to acquire, think critically about, and effectively communicate relevant biological knowledge.
  • Students understand key biological concepts and can apply them to all levels of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems.
  • Students understand ways biology interrelates with other sciences, disciplines, and society.

Writing Outcomes (2016)

By the end of their senior year, biology majors need to be proficient in several types of writing skills.

  1. Written assignments should include:
    • a clear statement of the purpose or claim
    • unified paragraphs that are linked to and provide evidence for the central claim
    • convincing evidence
    • clear transitions & topic sentences
    • a conclusion that integrates new findings in the context of the literature
    • clear, concise sentences that offer logical transitions from one thought to the next
    • use of terminology and phrases appropriate to the audience and purpose of the writing
    • text that is free of spelling, punctuation or mechanical errors.
  2. Produce writing that utilizes the correct disciplinary format for a specific audience or purpose.
  3. Identify and properly integrate the scientific literature into written arguments
  4. Consider audience, as is appropriate for different types of writing.
  5. Give and accept appropriate feedback.
  6. Critically evaluate evidence and determine whether it supports the assertions of the text.

Here are the types of writing assignments found in our classes.

  1. Scientific-format paper
  2. Grant proposal
  3. Critical reviews of the science, as would occur for a paper submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.
  4. Literature review papers that summarize key findings in a field
  5. Research proposals for laboratory assignments
  6. Popular journal articles
  7. Oral presentations
  8. Scientific format posters
  9. Assignments that improve class interactions including short responses
  10. Seminar reports
  11. Laboratory notebooks
  12. Class synopsis assignments