About the Course
Note: This page is formatted so as to be also prinbtable as a 'Word' style document for general distribution in paper at the first lecture
A) About this course - objectives, viewpoint, philosophy
Welcome to Comparative Vertebrate Physiology 2013! Unusually, this year the official registrar's course description addresses the above overview issues very nicely. To quote from it directly -
"The course provides a systems focused view of the "function and structure of the major systems of vertebrates considered principally from the perspective of their ability to meet environmental demands."
The overarching goal of the course is for students to gain an understanding of "vertebrate (and representative invertebrate) evolved adaptation strategies including:
i) cellular and metabolic mechanisms;
ii) systems level mechanisms ;
iii) select populations level mechanisms
iv) adaptation to extreme environments (high altitude, deep sea, flight demands, etc.)."
The methods by which we work toward these goals and viewpoint(s) are mainly via interactive lectures but "while the course has no scheduled lab, at least several 'lectures' are planned to be held in whole class participatory lab-like activities and space."
The crucial place to look at for the most up-to-date source on this course is the course web site* itself part of which (The About the course section) you are reading right now .
And since "this is a lecture-only version of BI244", the most crucial and central part of that web site is Lectures page itself.
B) Lecture topics and associated Readings
1) Required Materials-
We are 'lecture only' in this edition of the course so all that is required is the course text Schmidt-Nielsen. Animal Physiology, Adaptation and environment; 5th edition (available at the bookstore or your favorite on-line supplier). Note that
used 5th edition copies are ok and that
in the Lecture outline page of the website this is often abbreviated as SN.
since we are "lecture-only" I will supply you with any lab-related materials that prove useful (as appropriate).
2) Location and nature of the reading assignments
Reading - Location - all readings can be found on the most current version of the web site Lecture page [a.k.a. Outline of Lecture Topics] . You have in your hand the version of that page as of 22 Jan., 2012 (see immediately below for more).
- Primary readings (i.e. required or central to an aspect of that topic) (see column 3) are drawn from the text (SN),
[here pages 5-20, Appendix B(418-19) and 284-287], sometimes from other texts (see H & W and its link) and from other sources. They are listed above in the Primary Reading column. Be alert for changes in the primary readings. Such changes will be listed in the updated version of the web site and announced in class and/or via email.
- Supplementary readings, while not required, in many cases may prove quite helpful or interesting or both [see Supplementary Reading - TBA, last column]. This example above is a link to Carey's original Tuna paper and a link to the popular press article how human eating habits may spell the end of a physiologically marvelous creature.
3) Lecture topics, lecture notes - Lecture [Outline of Lecture Topics] web page
Lecture topics and notes - The centrality of the Lecture [Outline of Lecture Topics] web page to the course.
Note also from our example above that the topic of the lecture and its date of consideration are listed in the first
- [Date] and second [Topic] columns.
Full, screen by screen notes, of the completed lecture are mounted for your use as soon as possible after the lecture via an activated [link]. And these final screen by screen notes are the result of an interaction between myself, the Smartboard projection and your own comments and sometimes drawings.
You may sometimes also find preliminary lecture notes available under Topic available via a link.
You will also find the dates of all exams listed under Date and Topic.
4) The web site is dynamic; that is expect it to change!
Readings may change, topics may shuffle according to our needs and interests, the final version of the lecture has, by definition(!), not yet mounted via a link, sample exams may be posted and more. So get used to using the web site to your advantage; keep up with it.
- The only item category I guarantee I will not change are the exam dates.
Reading- a bit more - on the choice of SNas the text.
At first glance SN may seem somewhat dated given its lack, by current standards, of multiple color figures, focus boxes, discussion issues and much more of the ethos and current Weltanschauung of the science textbook world. But I guarantee you that many (perhaps the preponderance) of Comparative Physiology courses offered in the world, and a good number of the Animal Physiology courses, still choose SN as their text.
The text is uniquely valuable in multiple dimensions including clarity of presentation, focus on the systems level (which is where adaptations are tested, in the end!) and, most importantly,
- presentation of the strong link between these systems as they now are and how they became that way to be adaptive to that particular environment for that particular species or animal group.
In addition, an impressive portion of the findings presented were determined by the experimental studies of either Knut Schmidt-Nielsen himself and his collaborators or Schmidt-Nielsen's students and their collaborators.
C) Lab-like activities
Lab-like activities - where and when
There is no question in my mind that the hands-on (lab) aspects of the Comparative or Animal Physiology course experience are crucial and utterly valuable. An unfortunate confluence of factors has made it a necessity to offer this version of the course lecture only.
But recall that even the registrar's course description makes an explicit provision for a lab experience ...
i.e. "While the course has no scheduled lab, at least several 'lectures' are planned to be held in whole class participatory lab-like activities and space".
lab - where?
1) Lab-like activities - where
Such activities will occur in DA lab 316B, which was prepared by myself as a combined Lecture-Demo room in late December. Such classes will contain a perhaps 10 minute lab-type demonstration (or hands on) period as an integral part of that day's lecture topic.
These Lecture-Demo sessions will be held in space DA Lab 316B during the scheduled Comp Vert lecture time for that day.
As they ARE the lecture for that day, they replace the DA 240 scheduled session for that day.
As they are "Lecture-Demo", their generated Smartboad notes ARE the final web lecture notes for that day.
lab - when?
2) Lab-like activities - when
Recall that I have only very recently set up and trouble-shot Dana Lab 316B explicitly for this purpose. And, I thus far have developed or assembled only a modest prototype number of such lecture-demo combinations. So it is likely you will not yet find these listed on the Lecture web page (I am writing this 31 Dec.).
They will be introduced into the Lecture web page Topic schedule on a rolling basis.
Their exact dates and topics may be partially dependent on factors beyond my immediate control and so must remain flexible as to date even when some are indeed listed on the Lecture web page next to certain Topics.
You will be pre-informed of when we are meeting for a Lecture-Demo session on a topic and so should go to DA 316B instead of Dana 240. This "informing" process will occur, of necessity, via, in decreasing order of preference notice as follows:
announcement at the previous class plus posting on the Lecture page - one or better, both as the best option.
posting on the Lecture page of the web site and an email to the class - second best option
email only - this will occur only if the decision is quite late but this scenarion may well occur.
While I apologize for the level of uncertainty, I do think it is worth the lab experience.
Realistically, at the worst, if you show up at DA 240 and see no Comparative Physiology there, simply walk up the stairs to the 3rd floor, turn right as you enter the Biology corridor, walk about 15 steps and you will find Lab DA 316B (it is about the 4th door down on your left). We are roughly across from Josh Ness' office.
Some additional more nuts and bolts issues of the course follow.
D) Electronic mail
The course will have a mail list that will sometimes be employed quite actively [possible email sample exams, change of class meeting to Da Lab 316, more].
list name and membership - All people on the registrar's list at the beginning of the course will be placed on this list. Note that the list name may be strange [possibly bi236-list; so not Bi251-list as one might expect].
Uses for the list - use is variable in intensity- it has been sometimes used to post notices, answer questions about the material and distribute literature in addition to the exam and class location uses listed above.
Check your email frequently to keep current. A sent email from myself is considered to be part of the material/information officially distributed for the course.
Using your Smart phone [i.e. web-enabled phone] smartly!
Incoming - Be certain to arrange to forward your Skidmore mail if you use a non-Skidmore email account (e.g. hotmail.com, msn.com, etc.). To arrange for forwarding, setting are available for you on an IT sub-page. Or, contact the help desk in the library for how to proceed [ext. 5900, email@example.com].
Outgoing - For very practical reasons (self-defense!) I only read from you (and only contact you) electronically via your Skidmore email address. That is, messages from your non-Skidmore email providers are not replied to. I have no desire to map 50 or so new contacts per semester and then make certain to trash those contacts at semester's end.
E) Web site
Is very central to the course's daily operation. Monitor it.
the web site's central rolehas already been discussed at length above in this document as has its address and key Lecture page.
recall that the web site is the OFFICIAL current version of the course outline & that it changes (is dynamic). As noted above, It is updated (i.e. changed) almost daily.
Note that the site may contain some links from either previous versions of the course or material not yet completely decided upon but intentionally placed there (e.g. a pre-lecture version of the Topic) for your convenience. ==> Note well that on the web pages nothing below the '==>not updated<==' marker is official until made so.
Attendance in lecture is required and is usually taken daily via a circulating signature sheet. 'Required' means that one unexcused absence can result in failure and that the only valid official excuse is a signed medical note. Sounds harsh, yes!? If you are a serious Comparative Physio student, don't be afraid; simply read below.
- Explanatory notes (in paper only, preferably hand-written, always hand-signed) for absences can/should be submitted and will be attached to the day's attendance sheet. While not an official excuse I do expect some such circumstances to occur (summer job interviews, graduate school visits, more of the like) and will make allowances accordingly.
1) The 3 in-class hour exams have their dates (and much more about them)listed on the Lecture schedule itself. Except for seniors taking exam #3 (if necessary) there are NO early exams. Generally, there are also no late exams allowed either but if you have utterly compelling and justifiable reasons to ask for one be certain to have a conversation with me well-before the exam. "I also have an exam in Xi 3xx that day" is unfortunate for you but not "compelling".
2) Final numerical grades are determined by an average of the 3 examinations and, since there is no independently scheduled lab, there are no other factors weighed in numerically (e.g. lab average). Attendance & sometimes participation are also weighed as additional factors.
3) Final letter grades are determined in the standard manner. e.g. 70.0-71.9 = C- / 72.0-77.9 = C / 78.0-79.9 = C+ / 80.0-81.9 = B- etc.
There is no extra credit work available to factor into your grade.
H) Preparation for Lecture or demo
The purpose of lecture is not to repeat the reading but to complement it. I work on the assumption that you are reading ahead [-; of the lecture. Recall that the Lecture page schedule already lists most of your reading assignments for the entire course, Topic by Topic.
I) It is possible that we may still do some student run or active (learning) participation classes, based on pre-handed out data packets and associated orienting text. If so, these will be indicated as Group Presentations (GP) under the lecture Topiccolumn.
J) The web-HUMAN model
Which may be employed in lecture and in demo-lab, is located http://placid.skidmore.edu/academics/
K ) Instructor contact info/office hours
|Roy S. Meyers||DA345||ext. firstname.lastname@example.org||Office Hrs. - TBA|