General College Biology I
I. Course Prefix/Number: BIO 121
Course Name: General College Biology I
Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
Laboratory course examines basic principles of biology. Content includes cellular biochemistry and physiology, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration; details of protein synthesis and functions of DNA and RNA in gene function. First of two –course sequence. Intended for those wanting strong biological focus in curricula.
Recommended: High school chemistry or its equivalent, such as CHM 101 or CHM 105.
IV. Learning Objectives
After successfully completely this course, a student should be able to do the following:
- Evaluate a hypothesis using scientific method.
- Evaluate the roles of ionic, covalent and hydrogen bonds, with respect to the structure and function of biological molecules.
- Distinguish among the four types of biological macromolecules based on their structure, chemical bonds, and functions.
- Compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells with respect to their structures and the functions of the cellular components within them.
- Compare and contrast the action mechanisms of receptor mediated cell signaling.
- Compare and contrast competitive, noncompetitive and feedback inhibition of enzyme catalyzed reactions.
- Compare and contrast the stages of cellular respiration, fermentation, and photosynthesis.
- Differentiate between the stages and functions of mitosis and meiosis.
- Differentiate between the processes of DNA replication, transcription, and translation in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
- Distinguish between different types of mutations.
- Examine the applications of recombinant DNA technology.
- Apply the steps of the scientific method in defining problems, constructing hypotheses, and interpreting data from lab.
- Analyze the chemical differences among ionic and covalent compounds and between acids, bases and buffers.
- Differentiate between the biological macromolecules qualitatively.
- Perform quantitative analysis of macromolecules using spectrophotometer to determine the concentration of unknown sample using the standard curve.
- Use microscope to determine the size of objects and also to differentiate between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
- Analyze the effect of hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic solutions on cells.
- Analyze the effect of temperature and pH on enzyme activity.
- Investigate the effect of light on photosynthesis and the effect of different types of sugars on the rate of fermentation.
- Construct the stages of mitosis and meiosis in order to understand the mechanisms involved in the two types of cell division processes.
- Perform DNA fingerprinting using gel electrophoresis.
- Communicate findings from lab experiences involving group or team work in an effective written and /or oral presentation.
- Perform lab clean up completely as per given instructions.
By the completion of your biology courses at Oakton, you will have gained the experience to.....
- Think critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.
- Communicate – communicate ideas, concepts, and information through written and oral means. Collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
- Demonstrate literacy – demonstrate the ability to read critically within content areas. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and communicate data, information, ideas, and concepts. Assess, critique, and select from a variety of information resources.
- Demonstrate responsibility – demonstrate an understanding of personal responsibility and ethical behavior in one’s own academic and civic life.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
Cell Structure and Function (Chapter 6, 7, 11)
Enzymes and Metabolism (Chapter 8, 9 and 10)
- Identify Parts of the Microscope
- Use and care of the microscope
- How to measure objects under the microscope
- Know how the spectrophotometer operates
- Use the spectrophotometer to establish an absorption spectrum
- Use the spectrophotometer to establish a standard curve and determine concentration of unknowns
- Thermal Cycler
- Use of micropipettes
- Use of centrifuge machine
- Know how thermal cycler works based on polymerase chain reaction
- Gel Electrophoresis
- Perform Agarose gel electrophoresis
- Analyze the results of gel electrophoresis using UV transilluminator
- Lab Report:
- Students will be required to write at least one formal lab report. The formal lab report will include all relevant sections including: introduction; methods; results; discussion; conclusion and incorporation of references from credible sources as appropriate.
- The specific lab/experiment chosen for the formal lab report requirement is left to the discretion of the instructor. The instructor will provide opportunities for the student to learn how to prepare for and write a formal lab report.
- General Procedures
- Distinguish between qualitative and quantitative tests
- Make accurate volumetric measurements with pipette and graduated cylinder
- Plot graphs of enzyme reaction rates
|1||Scientific Methods & Metric System
Chemistry of Life
Qualitative Analysis of Biological Macromolecules
Quantitative Analysis using a Spectrophotometer
Microscopy and Cells
Diffusion and Osmosis
Evaluating the Factors affecting Enzymatic Activity
Modeling Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis
Anaerobic Respiration: Fermentation
Mitosis and Meiosis: Subset of the Cell Cycle
DNA: Extraction and PCR Amplification
Electrophoresis of PCR Products
VII. Methods of Instruction
The course will be presented by way of three hours of lecture-discussion and a three hour laboratory period each week in the face to face class. Laboratory exercises include microscopy, data collection and analysis, and using gel electrophoresis, thermocycler and spectrophotometer.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
May vary depending on instructor, but may include:
- mandatory attendance during lectures and laboratories
- active participation in supervised laboratory exercises
- satisfactory performance in written lecture and laboratory tests or quizzes
- lab practical exams
IX. Instructional Materials
Textbook: Biology with Mastering Biology, 11/e, Campbell & Reece, Addison & Wesley Publishing
Laboratory Manual: General College Biology I . Custom Lab Manual, Bluedoor Publishing, 2018.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
May vary depending on the instructor. In general, methods of evaluation are based on objective examinations concerning lecture material and examinations concerning laboratory material. Final grades are determined on a percentage basis. Percentages below sixty are not passing.
XI. Other Course Information
This will vary depending on the instructor. Lecture and lab attendance are required
Additional course information may vary but may include:
- information concerning group and/or individual reviews scheduled during class time or outside of class time
- information concerning biology tutors
- suggestions for success in class (i.e. careful note-taking by students)
- use of study sheets to aid in preparation for lecture or laboratory exams
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.
Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.
For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.
Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.