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Biology LibreTexts

1.1: Welcome to BIS2A

Welcome to BIS2A

Welcome to Biological Sciences 2A at UC Davis. BIS2A is a 5-unit course with either three 50 minute or two 1 hour and 50 minute lectures (depending on the quarter) plus a 2-hour discussion each week. BIS2A is the first of three courses in the lower division core sequence in the biological sciences. BIS2A provides a foundation in key biological concepts that are of use across a broad spectrum of majors. Students are introduced to the fundamental chemical, molecular, genetic, and cellular building blocks of life, biological mechanisms for the recruitment and transfer of matter and energy, basic principles of biological information flow and cellular decision making, and core concepts underlying the relationships between genetic information and phenotype.

It is important to realize that BIS2A is not a survey course in biology. Biology is an exciting, broad, and dynamic field. It is critical for students in biology or related fields to develop a strong conceptual foundation and to demonstrate their ability to use it in contexts that may be novel to them. Students in BIS2A will be asked to begin developing the ability to identify and articulate the key scientific and biological questions that are at the core of the course content. Students will be expected to learn and use correct technical vocabulary in their discussions of course content. Students will be expected to begin conceptualizing course content from a question-driven and problem-solving perspective.

Yes, BIS2A will require you to work hard, but we also hope that you will have fun discovering new aspects of biology and exploring the many unanswered questions concerning what it means to be alive.

The main course learning objectives include:

  • Apply principles of chemistry and bioenergetics in the context of biological systems to describe how cells acquire and transform matter and energy to build and fuel various life sustaining processes, including chemical transformations of elemental compounds, cellular replication, and cellular information processing.
  • Explain the relationship between genotype and key genetic processes that create phenotypic diversity.
  • Describe the processes regulating the management of cellular information; how information is stored, read, rearranged, replicated; how cells interact with their environment and how these processes can control cellular physiology.

Who should I ask when I have questions about the course?

  1. General information about the course: The syllabus provides most of this type of information. For the quickest answers to many of your questions, we highly recommend looking at the syllabus before contacting one of the staff.
  2. General information about topics in BIS2A: The BIS2A Learning Center (BLC), which is in RM 2089 SLB, is a resource center for all BIS2A students. The BLC is staffed by the instructors and teaching assistants associated with all BIS2A sections. Any BIS2A instructor or TA having office hours in the BLC should be able to answer general questions about the lecture and discussion material. If they can’t answer your questions, they will be happy to refer you to someone who can.
  3. Lecture material and Nota Bene assignments: Your Lecture TA is a great source of information about the lecture material and any lecture related reading specific to your section of BIS2A.
  4. Discussion material: Your discussion TA is the best source of information about the discussion material present in your specific discussion section.
  5. All course content related material: Your instructor is a great resource for questions about course related material. Find your instructor after class and go to their office hours whenever possible.

Some of your responsibilities

BIS2A is a team effort. Several professors are involved in developing the course content and assessment materials. There are also teaching assistants, who not only run the discussion sections, but also provide insights into which concepts students find the most difficult.

Please keep up with your responsibilities as a student. Do the assigned reading and start to learn new vocabulary before coming to class. Come to class prepared to engage - your instructor will assume that you have read the material before class and that the lecture will not be your first exposure to the content. After class, review your notes, the podcast, and the post-study guide. Seek out assistance immediately when you need it. If everyone in the class can conscientiously do these things, we’ll all have fun this quarter (even while working hard) and be a happy and smarter bunch at the end of the term!