Course Review: BIOL 111

Introduction to Modern Biology

“If there is one thing you get of this course, it should be bio-magnification. It’ll make you think twice before eating sushi!”

Text: Essential Biology with Physiology by Eric Simon and Jean Dickey

Prof: Dr Jennifer Klenz

Dr Klenz does her best to make a class full of students who do not particularly like biology, hate it slightly less. She posts a lot of interesting links on the course website, especially about climate change. However, a combination of misleading i-clickers, ill-designed group projects, badly printed exams and arbitrary marking schemes left a bad taste in my mouth on my completing this course. The lectures also lack depth, since this is an introductory class. However, since the scope of this class is so wide, you might find a few of the topics interest you, and Klenz is an engaged lecturer, though she does misunderstand students questions and get sidetracked sometimes.


Conceptually, this course is straightforward enough. If one doesn’t flop of the group projects, there is no reason not to do well. The exams are full of common sense questions, usually based of the slides. Practice exams are pretty similar to the actual exam. The biggest place to lose marks is if you misinterpret the question, don’t have enough detail in your explanation or fall victim to the arbitrary marking scheme. I would recommend having as much control over the quality of the work on the group project has possible, and checking with TA’s to see if one is understanding the criteria correctly, because the assignment specifications are vague, though they are marked strictly.

Key Concepts





 Hard Concepts


Mitosis and Meiosis: While not very complex, this was one of the few things one had to remember

Structure of genetic material: Another thing that need to be remembered


Enjoyed some links about global warming. Felt that my knowledge of any other biological topics lacked the depth to be of any use and group projects were awful. Frustrating class on the whole.

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