Course Number:
BI 211
Transcript Title:
Principles of Biology
Jul 26, 2022
Jun 29, 2023
Total Credits:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture / Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement:
Satisfies General Education requirement:
Grading Options
A-F, P/NP, Audit
Default Grading Options
Repeats available for credit:

MTH 95 or equivalent placement

WR 121 or WR 121Z
CH 100 or higher; or instructor permission

Course Description

Includes introduction to science, biochemistry, metabolism, the cell, molecular biology, and reproduction. Includes inheritance, the genetic code, modern and classical genetics. The first course of a three-course sequence for students majoring in biology and the sciences, including pre-medical, pre-dental, chiropractic, pharmacy, and related fields. Recommended: High school biology and chemistry within the past seven years. Prerequisites: MTH 95 or equivalent placement. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121 or WR 121Z; CH 100 or higher, or instructor permission. Audit available.

Course Outcomes

  1. Apply biological theories and concepts from biochemistry and cell biology to novel problems in their lives and community (personal, work, and career).
  2. Use the scientific method, including experimental design, data collection, and presentations of results and conclusions while analyzing their individual thinking and learning styles and how their styles can be integrated with methods used in science.
  3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of scientific studies in biochemistry and cell biology and critically examine the influence of scientific and technical knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology on human society and the environment.
  4. Develop informed positions and opinions on contemporary issues in biochemistry and cell biology, while considering ethical, scientific, community, and cultural implications.
  5. Communicate concepts in genetics, biochemistry and cell biology using appropriate terminology in both written and verbal forms.
  6. Competently enter and complete further work in the sciences, including Biology 212 and upper level courses in biochemistry and cell biology.

Alignment with Institutional Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)
Not Addressed
4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Suggested Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Open-ended essay questions and multiple-choice exams
  • Scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s)
  • Oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results
  • Classroom assessments, such as, quizzes, one minute summaries, pre-test/post-tests, etc.
  • Major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals.
  • Scientific article critiques
  • Laboratory practical exams
  • Small projects and homework assignments.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content

Themes and Concepts include:

  1. The properties of living things
  2. Basic chemistry
  3. How properties of water affect living things
  4. Basic organic chemistry
  5. Functional characteristics of organic macromolecules
  6. Biochemical pathways and enzymes
  7. Cell microanatomy
  8. Membrane structure and function
  9. Aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration
  10. Photosynthesis
  11. Binary fission and mitosis
  12. Meiosis and sexual life cycles
  13. Introduction to genetics including Mendelian genetics
  14. Genetics of viruses and bacterial (optional)
  15. Gene expression in eukaryotes (optional)
  16. DNA technology (optional)


Biology 211 is relevant to many contemporary issues that may be discussed and explored during the course, such as, effects of pollution in aquatic systems, applications of gene therapy, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, unknown impacts of genetically modified organisms, etc.

Competencies and Skills:

  • Read scientific literature
  • Apply the scientific method
  • Use laboratory techniques and equipment
  • Locate and access biological information
  • Think critically
  • Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
  • Articulate scientific processes in written and oral format
  • Present data in papers using the scientific format
  • Present conclusions logically

Department Notes

Columbia Gorge Community College Science Department stands by the following statement about regarding science instruction:

Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. Theories (such as biological evolution and geologic time scale) are developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance. As such, scientific theories can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation. “Creation science", “Intelligent design” or similar beliefs are not considered legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

The Science Department at Columbia Gorge Community College, therefore stands with organizations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula except to reference and/or clarify its invalidity.