biomi final

Syllabus (tentative):

Weekly quiz:

There will be 30-35 minute quiz every Friday.  There are no make-up quizzes.  If you miss a quiz, you have to take it prior to the next class meeting.  The sixth quiz can be taken only on Friday, the last day of classes. The quizzes are inclusive.  Your grade is based on the quizzes, homework, class participation.  


Final is optional.  You can have your grade entirely based as stated above.  Each quiz is worth 20 points.  There are six quizzes, all of which you have to take. We take out the lowest grade. If you wish to take the final, the grade of the final is combined with 5 quizzes. We split the total in half. 


This course uses Ayers’ Bioscientific Terminology as its chief resource.  The Greek and Latin bases presented in the 40 chapters and the rules of combining the bases with prefixes, suffixes, and other bases will be explained by Professor Roisman. Professor Bowman will discuss the current meanings of the various biomedical terms with examples from science and biology, especially from parasitology, which is his expertise.  The meanings of the bases will be reinforced through the presentation of illustrations that will connect the bases taught in the course to words that are regularly used in the medical and scientific literature of today.  Students will be able to recognize unknown words through the combinations of different bases and the application of the skills acquired from base recognition, and use this knowledge in reading scientific and medical literature and associated material.

This course requires memorization.  All the studies on memory agree that short, frequent periods of study are more effective in achieving long-term memory than longer but less frequent study.  Memorizing the bases Thursday night may get them into short-memory (adequate for Friday’s quiz), but you will soon forget them.  Since this course is intended to help you in your future work, both in later courses and in your future profession, it will be more beneficial for you to achieve long-term memory.  All the quizzes are cumulative (prefixes or bases from chapter 1 will show up on quizzes for chapter 17, for example), but it is more important to consider that all these roots continue to show up in your everyday life and work for the rest of your professional career in the biological sciences.

Your goal is to learn the Latin and Greek bases, prefixes and suffixes with their meanings.  If you have done this, you will be able to determine the “etymological” meaning of any word, i.e., what the meanings of the elements add up to.  In the sciences, this will always tell you an important part of the definition of the word, and will help you to remember it and spell correctly.  It will not tell you, obviously, everything there is to know about the word, and you are not expected, in this course, to know more than the etymological meaning.  This course is not a course in biology, and in this respect the student who has had many courses in biology does not have an advantage over the student with very little background.  The textbook gives definitions for the words, and Professor Bowman will expand on these definitions; the value of this is that you can relate the etymology of the word to its definitions.  You will not be examined on the definitions, but only on the etymology; therefore words from a variety of specialties, words not in the book, and occasionally words which do not currently exist, will appear on quizzes.  New words are being coined daily, and we have coined words which are now in use, while some of you will almost certainly have the opportunity to create an “official” word at some point.

We shall explain every new chapter and we shall go over the exercises together.  Please come to class prepared, and bring questions.  Questions about etymology and meaning of vocabulary outside the textbook, including non-scientific words derived from bases we are studying, are welcome, and if we cannot answer them immediately, we will research the word and report back to the class.  At some point later in the course, we will tell you how to do this sort of research yourselves — some of you will find word histories a fascinating hobby.

It is Cornell policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, or systemic) that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Student Disability Services and their instructors for a confidential discussion of their individual need for academic accommodations. Student Disability Services is located in 420 CCC. Staff can be reached by calling 607.254.4545.


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