BSC1930 - Biological Issues

3 hours Lecture, 3 credit(s)

Lower-Division College Credit

Prerequisite(s): Placement at the college level in reading and writing, or completion of required college preparatory courses in reading and writing

Course Description:
This course provides students with an opportunity to investigate current biological issues through background research and classroom discussion. Students research, investigate, present, and write about selected biological issues during this course. Issues may include, but are not limited to, methods of science, ethical issues in biology, genes and genetics, DNA technology, evolution, nutrition, and ecology, as well as the biological basis for cancer, AIDS, and other diseases.

This course is also offered in Honors format. For Honors Program sections, Honors Program permission is required.

Academic Dean's Contact Information

LAKELAND DEAN’S OFFICE: LLC 2255              PHONE: (863) 297-1024
WINTER HAVEN DEAN’S OFFICE: WSC 101      PHONE: (863) 297-1020


Polk State College Mission and Core Outcomes

Polk State College is a quality-driven educational institution providing access to affordable associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates, and workforce development programs, delivered by diverse, qualified faculty and staff who are committed to student learning and achievement through consistent practice of collaboration and focus on excellence. In line with this purpose, Polk State College’s General Education courses develop competence in the areas of 1) Communication, 2) Critical Thinking, 3) Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning, 4) Information Literacy, and 5) Global Socio-Cultural Responsibility. Students should review the Polk State College Catalog for a complete description of these outcomes. A primary focus of this course is the development of competencies related to the areas of:

1. Communication

 Demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and listen effectively, utilizing standard English.

2. Critical Thinking

Demonstrate the ability to reflect on, analyze, synthesize, and apply information through problem solving.

3. Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning

Apply mathematical and scientific principles and methods to solve abstract and real-world problems.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply the scientific method in defining, analyzing and solving problems throughout the course and in life situations. (3)
  2. Identify, analyze, and participate in discussions related to selected biological issues of relevance to society. (1)
  3. Critically evaluate scientific issues as a basis for informed decision-making. (2)

For Honors Program sections, the following Course Objectives also apply:

  1. Utilize primary sources to research, write and/or create original academic work.
  2. Interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data from a variety of sources.

Course Content:

  • Scientific Methods
  • Biodiversity” Classification of Organisms, Endangered Species
  • Population Biology: Overpopulation
  • Communities and Ecosystems: Human Disturbance, Natural Management
  • Genetics: Predicting and Controlling Traits, Genetic Screening
  • Evolution: Natural Selection, Insecticides and Antibiotics, Human Biological and Behavioral Evolution
  • Disease: Societal Reactions, AIDS, Ebola
  • Biological Warfare: Anthrax, Weapons Programs
  • Animal and Human Behavior: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Global Change: Global Warming, Climatology

Textbook and Other Requirements

Textbook information is provided in the course syllabus, at the campus bookstore, and on the campus bookstore website at:

The Gordon Rule

The Gordon Rule, State Rule 6A-10.30, requires each AA degree program student to complete six credits of college-level mathematics; taking the appropriate General Education mathematics courses will satisfy the mathematics portion of the requirement. In addition, State Rule 6A-10.030 requires each AA degree program student to complete six semester hours of English and six semester hours of additional courses in which the student demonstrates college-level writing skills through multiple assignments. Because PSC uses a "Writing across the Curriculum" approach to meeting the writing requirement, in addition to the required composition courses, any of the required Social Sciences and Humanities courses will fulfill this writing requirement.

This is not a Gordon Rule writing course, but it may include writing assignments as a part of course requirements.

A minimum grade of C is required for all courses used to fulfill the Communications and Mathematics areas of the General Education requirements.

Student Help

The professor is available for help during posted hours and by appointment during other non-class hours. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the professor. To further the educational process, the campus Learning Resources Centers, comprised of the Teaching/Learning and Computing Center (TLCC) and library, are available for student use. Each resource provides qualified staff and up-to-date equipment and facilities to promote students’ academic success. The TLCC provides tutoring services, computing resources, and other instructional support. The library provides information resources, individual and group study space, research assistance, information literacy instruction, and computing resources. Each facility provides free wireless access to the Internet. Polk State College Library and TLCC hours of operation and tutoring schedules are posted at each facility and on the Polk State College website.

Withdrawing From a Course

Students may officially withdraw from course(s) during any given term, provided they follow the appropriate policy and procedure. Following the conclusion of the Drop/Add Period, a student may officially withdraw without academic penalty from any credit course, provided he or she has submitted the appropriate forms to the Student Services Office no later than the published deadline. The published deadline reflects approximately (but no more than) 70% of the term, based upon the course's scheduled duration. It is the student's responsibility to submit these withdrawal forms; failure to do so may result in a grade of F in the course. Under the Forgiveness Policy, a student is allowed only three attempts in any one course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. A student is not allowed to withdraw from a third course attempt. Limited admission programs may have specific guidelines regarding withdrawing from courses that vary from this policy. Please see the student handbook for that program for more information. If a student stops attending class, the grade earned, usually an F, is assigned and posted. Prior to withdrawing from a course, the student should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, withdrawal from the course will have on his or her financial aid status. A student cannot use course withdrawal to avoid academic dishonesty penalties. A student who has been penalized for academic dishonesty in a course is not eligible to withdraw from the course.

Repeating a Course

Under the Forgiveness Policy, a student is allowed only three attempts in any one college credit course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. Under certain circumstances, a student may petition to repeat a credit course beyond the three attempts. Limited admission programs may have specific guidelines regarding repeating courses that vary from this policy. Please see the student handbook for that program for more information. The student should be aware that repeating a course may result in a higher course cost. A course cannot be repeated unless the previously earned grade is a D, F, or W (the Polk State College Catalog provides further details regarding this process). Prior to repeating a course, the student should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, repeating the course will have on his or her financial aid status.

Academic Dishonesty

Each student is responsible for his or her work. It is assumed that each student is honest and will abide by this standard; however, in the event that there is an indication or suspicion of cheating/plagiarism, the situation shall be dealt with in accordance with the published College policy. Copies of this policy are available in the Student Services Office. Students should also refer to the course syllabus for more specific information.

Information Technology Access/Use Policy

All individuals who employ the information technology resources provided by Polk State College (this includes, but is not limited to, telephones, computers, the Polk State College  Local Area and Wide Area Networks, and the Internet) must use these resources for academic purposes only. Use of these resources is a privilege, not a right. Inappropriate use can result in revocation or suspension of this privilege.

Equal Access/Opportunity

Polk State College is an equal access, equal opportunity institution committed to excellence through diversity in education. The College complies with all state and federal laws granting rights to applicants for admission to the College. Polk State College is committed to the equitable treatment of all students in a learning environment free of discrimination and harassment. Polk State College’s Equity Officer ensures compliance with federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination and sexual harassment. Students who believe they have been a victim of discrimination or sexual harassment should contact the Polk State College Equity Officer, Ms. Valparisa Baker, at 863-292-3602 or

Equal Opportunity For Students With Disabilities

The College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provides equal educational opportunity for qualified individuals. A student with a disability who requires special accommodations or auxiliary aids under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Student Services Office on either campus and speak with the Coordinator of Academic Advising.

Evaluative Criteria:

Grades will be determined using a combination of assessment methods. These will include exams, quizzes, written assignments, projects, presentations, and Internet research.

The following scale will be utilized to determine letter grades:           
A    =   90   - 100%
B    =   80   -    89%
C    =   70   -    79%
D    =   60   -    69%
F    =     0   -    59%



Regular attendance is the student's responsibility. A student may be dropped from class for excessive absences (more than 3 hours). A student dropped before the no-fault drop deadline will receive a grade of “W” (unless it is a third attempt of the class). Withdrawals are not permitted on the third course attempt. A student dropped AFTER the no-fault drop deadline OR dropped on his/her third attempt of the class will receive a grade of “F.”


Work Missed:

Procedures for work missed are determined by the instructor.


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