BIO309: Zoology

Course Syllabus for "BIO309: Zoology"

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Zoology is the scientific study of diversity of animal life, classification, physiology, behavior, and evolution. Unicellular organisms have evolved into complex multicellular forms. Organisms, both unicellular and multicellular, in various complex shapes and sizes are found in almost every habitat and environment. The field of zoology includes many subfields of biology as well as a vast diversity of unicellular and multicellular organisms. Animals first appeared in the fossil record an estimated 600 million years ago as multicellular protozoa. Over the next 70 million years, they radiated into an incredible number of different invertebrate phyla (which represent the majority of animal groups and species), and in the next 150 million years, vertebrate and invertebrate species began to colonize the land. Though the history of animals is extensive and the fossil record at times is conflicted and vague, understanding the historical connections between animals is important in order to understand modern-day relationships among animals and the adaptations that are characteristic of specific groups. In this course, you will gain a broad understanding of zoology. The course will begin with an introduction to and definition of zoology, invertebrate phyla, and vertebrate phyla. You will then study the history and evolution of animals. This course will also cover taxonomy, focusing on classical and modern means of classification and providing a broad survey of animal phyla, including some of their shared features and unique characteristics. It will also introduce you to the comparative anatomy and physiology of animals. Finally, the course will address animal ecology: the interaction of animals with one another and with their environment. This course will prepare you for further study in any biological field that involves animals, including ecology, wildlife management, evolution, animal physiology, animal behavior, and even human biology

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • have a comprehensive knowledge of zoology and its relationship with other fields of biology;
  • compare and contrast anatomical and physiological characteristics of vertebrates and invertebrates;
  • answer specific questions about zoogeography, geologic time scale, animal evolution, and paleontology;
  • define, identify, and describe the different body systems; and
  • apply this knowledge for further study in any biological fields that involves animals.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash) and software;

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft Office files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    have competency in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook.; and

√    have completed the following courses from “The Core Program” of the Biology discipline: BIO101 through BIO110/PHYS102.

Course Information

Welcome to BIO309. Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Olivia D'Ambrogio

Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Pay special attention to Unit 1, as this introductory unit will lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the latter units. You will also need to complete:

  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through all of the readings, video lectures, and other resources in the course.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 74.5 hours to complete. Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 10 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 8 hours) over the course of a week: read a third of the introductory readings for subunit 1.1 (about 2 hours) on Monday night; a third of the introductory readings for subunit 1.1 (about 2 hours) on Tuesday; the remainder of the introductory readings for subunit 1.1 (about 2 hours) on Wednesday night; the materials for subunit 1.1.3 (about a total of 2 hours) on Thursday night; etc.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.