BSCI 124 - SECTION 2001

Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics

General Course Information

     Dr. David Straney
     Office: 2222 H. J Patterson Hall
     Phone: (301) 405-1622      FAX: (301) 314-9082

    Office hours:  Mondays 9:30 - 11 pm or by appointment


Lecture time:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 am – 12:15 am

Course Description:  Welcome to BSCI 124, a three-credit course in plant biology specifically designed for the non-science student.
     The goals and objects of the course are:
     1) To gain a basic understanding of the processes through which plants function;
     2) To develop concepts concerning the factors leading to the great diversity among  plants and the need to maintain this diversity;
     3) To understand the complex role of plants in the environment and in our society in  order to make informed decisions.

CORE: This course has CORE approval in the science/math area as a lab science only when taken in conjunction with BSCI 125 (Laboratory in Plant Biology, 1 credit hour) during the same semester.


Textbook: Levetin & K. McMahon. 2006. Plants and Society. 4th edition (no longer published but available used) or 5th edition. Wm. C. Brown Publ., Dubuque, IA. 524pp. Readings from the text are listed on the lecture schedule. Corresponding pages/chapters from previous editions of the textbook are available from the instructor. Reading the text both before and after lecture is strongly suggested. ISBN 0-07-252842-7 (4th), 978-0-07-297006-7 (5th).

World Wide Web Page: Lecture notes/outlines and additional information are available on the web.  A general outline of each topic can be accessed from a list of topics on the main web page. These notes are not intended to be used as a substitute for attending lecture; these are a general guide only and the actual lecture material will cover additional material. There are links on these topics pages which lead to other sites that more fully explain the material or provide illustrations.  Copies of the lecture outlines passed out in class can be found under “web link for section 2001”. These outlines are specifically for my lectures.


 Blackboard Site: This will have grades, Powerpoint slides (mostly pictures), discussion forums and links to the website with class handouts. Class announcements will be made on Blackboard. The entry URL for Blackboard at UMD is:


Email: You can email Dr. Straney at for questions that you do not wish to ask on the Blackboard discussions.



All examinations will be held on the days given on the lecture schedule. Four examinations will be given, each worth 100 points.  Any request for regrading must be made in writing and submitted within one week after the return of the exam. All exams start on time. No one will be permitted to take an exam if any student has completed an exam and has left the room, however the make-up exam can be scheduled, which will be an essay format.

Pre-exam reviews: A special review session will be held prior to each examination at which the lecturer will answer questions relative to the examination. Time and place will be announced approximately one week prior to the examination

Grading: The total number of points available in this class from the exams is 400 points. The plant project provides 5 extra credit points on each exam, and 10 extra credit points for the final journal.  The following are the grades assigned to the cumulative number of points.

394-400 A+

352-359 B+

312-319 C+ 

272-279 D+ 

369-391 A

329-351 B

289-311 C

249-271 D

360-368 A-

320-328 B-

280-288 C-

240-248 D-




< 240      F

Makeup examinations: No make-up examination will be granted unless you have an official, university approved excuse accompanied by appropriate written and verifiable documentation. Make-up examinations must be arranged, in writing, prior to the regularly scheduled examination. If you are sick, notify me of your inability to take the exam within 24 hours after the exam. The make-up exams are essay format.  


A plant will be given to each student to study as an extra credit project.  Keep a journal that records the growth, flowering, and perhaps the death of your plant. It is important to combine your ability to make observations, hypotheses and experiments in how you approach this project.   Make notes regarding problems you encounter (e.g. yellowing leaves, wilting, insects, temperature extremes, accidents) and solutions you try.  Did any of the solutions tried reverse the problem? Even if there are no apparent problems, is there some change that may make the plant grow better? Try it. Be creative! You can incorporate pictures, drawings or graphs to clarify observations. Also, record the results of any questions about the plants posed in class.

    Five points of extra credit will be available on each exam from questions pertaining to your plant. Another 10 points of extra credit will be based upon the journal turned in on the last day of class (May 13). Extra credit will be added to the 400 possible points.


"The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council.  This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all  undergraduate and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism.  For more information on the Code of
Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit"

Eating and drinking are not permitted in the lecture hall. Private conversations during the lecture period are disruptive to the whole class.  Students who are disruptive will have to leave the classroom.