SC 137 - Human Biology

Offered Usually in Fall and Summer

The following is for Summer 2017:

Professor M. McDarby                   Office: C-239 (The Lab).
Telephone: 762-4651.    Ext 8864.
E-mail will be acknowledged - if you send one and get no reply, assume it did not get through! 

Class: Tuesday - Thursday, C - 217.
    C - 239.



About the Course...

Human Biology, SC 137, is intended to be an introduction to the workings of the human body, with a focus on basic concepts and situations that cause our systems to malfunction: the processes of various diseases, common and uncommon, will be used to illustrate the class materials. When the class is over, you should have at the very least an understanding of the basics of the many things that can go wrong with our human bodies. We will try to keep technical language to a minimum, but it's impossible to learn this material without picking up a fair number of new words - you'll pick up the basic language of human anatomy and physiology. We will also cover the biology of most disease causes, living and not, and cover treatment options and other aspects of health care. Our laboratory exercises will back up and extend this information, and will include hands-on work (including dissections of preserved fetal pigs) and directed discussions. This course won't make you any sort of medical expert, but you should be able to follow an expert's nontechnical explanations when you need to. Plus, you should have a better idea of just what the current state of the medical "art" is, including the limitations of what can be done.

Here's a link to the FMCC Catalog Description of the Course, and the course learning outcomes This course fulfills the SUNY Education Guidelines for Natural Sciences.

Also, How to Succeed in the Course.


The Book:   

The American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide, published by Random House. It's actually cheaper than a typical textbook, but it is organized like one and will probably serve much better as a reference afterward. The book will be supplemented by many handouts and lots of notes.

  Classes and Exams:


Classes are pretty much a classic lecture format, following the order given elsewhere in these handouts. Photocopy handouts are given with or just before lecture topics to expand and deepen the information available - try to stay up with what's being covered.

Exams: This course has take-home exams, which can be more difficult than people generally expect. Exams will be generally given out on a Thursday (covering that week's material) and are due the following Tuesday.  Questions on the exams will address lecture material, handouts, the book, and laboratory materials, and will follow roughly the order that the information is given out. Everyone is expected to do their own exams, putting answers in their own words, although it is okay to help each other with source hints (but no more) occasionally. If you donít understand the difference, do nothing. Clear evidence of shared answers will result in severe deductions!!! There are five 100-Point exams, which together account for almost half of the points possible for the course.

Here is the link for the online handout page.

Lab Reports: Each of the thirteen laboratory sessions has a write-up, each worth 30 Points, for a total of 390. Formats will vary. Many can and will be handed in the day of the lab, but due dates are usually the next class day. Lab Reports may be handed in during class or into the Lab Report Box in the Lab, or into Mr. McDarby's mailbox in C-231.

Research Papers: One proposals and one paper, worth a total of 110 Points, are to be done. The proposal is due Wednesday of the second week, and the paper is due Thursday of the next-to-last week.  Proposals can be submitted early, and papers can be submitted early for precorrection and return.  More information is below.

Academic Integrity Policy.



Lecture Exams (5)     100 Points Each - 500 Points - 50%
Lab Reports (13)         30 Points Each - 390 Points - 39%
Paper Proposal             10 Points -          10 Points -   1%
Research Paper           100 Points  -         100 Points - 10%

Notice that the course grades add up to 1000 total Points, 
so each 10 Points gained (or lost) is the equivalent of 1% of your final grade, 
which will be figured this way:

90 - 100%........... A .......... 891 - 1000 Points.

87 - 89% ........... A- .......... 861 - 890 Points.

84 - 86% ........... B+ .......... 831 - 860 Points.

80 - 83% ........... B .......... 791 - 830 Points.

77 - 79% ........... B- .......... 761 - 790 Points.

74 - 76% .......... C+ .......... 731 - 760 Points.

70 - 73% .......... C .......... 691 - 730 Points.

60 - 69% .......... D .......... 591 - 690 Points.

0 - 59% ...........  F ..........    0 - 590 Points.

"D" is considered passing, 
but often only "C" or higher are accepted as transfer credits!

Grades may also be severely affected for students violating FMCCs Academic Integrity Policy.


 Attendance & Make-Up Policies:


Lectures are not marked for attendance per se, but exams derive as much from the lectures as from written materials, so it is extremely difficult to do well if you miss many classes. Laboratory classes all have associated marked reports, so missing them will lead to lost points. Make-ups are usually possible if set up immediately - several labs use perishable materials and may not be available if you wait too long. All marked assignments and exams are scheduled in advance and those dates are on these sheets - hang on to them and/or mark your personal calendar.

Due materials (exams, lab reports, proposals up to their papersí due dates, papers) may be handed in past the due date, but will lose 5% per FMCC day, down to 25% for a complete and appropriately done but really late assignment. However, proposals will not be accepted on or after the due date of the paper they are for, and NO LATE MATERIALS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER 1 PM ON JUNE 29th (THURSDAY).


Topics to be Covered:



Book Pages

Molecules Important to Human Health

1 - 5

Cells, Tissues, and Organs

6 - 7

Causes of Disease - Organisms, Genetics, Chemicals

8 - 29

257 - 327

Reproduction - Cells

30 - 32

Reproduction - Systems -
& Sexually-Transmitted Diseases

33 - 35

716 - 809

Life Changes & Aging

36 - 45

810 - 872

Blood & Immunity

46 - 50

396 - 469

Hormone Systems

51 - 52

670 - 693

Digestive System

53 - 55

606 - 669

Respiratory System


470 - 507

Urinary System

694 - 715

Muscles & Skeleton


570 - 595

Skin & Hair

362 - 395

Nervous System -
Senses, Processing, Mental Health

58 - 69

508 - 605



SC 137 - Human Biology - Summer 2017 Schedule

Date     Scheduled Topics

May 30 -  Introduction, Lecture;  Introduction, Lab.

May 31 -  Lecture;  METACOGNITION LAB (1).

June 1 - Lecture;  MICROSCOPE LAB (2).


           - 1ST EXAM GIVEN OUT.

June 6 - Lecture;  INTERNET RESOURCES LAB (3).

           - MICROSCOPE LAB DUE.

           - 1ST EXAM DUE.


June 7 - Lecture;  CELLS & TISSUES LAB (4).


           - PAPER PROPOSAL DUE.

June 8 - Lecture; DISEASE ORGANISMS LAB  (5).

           - CELLS & TISSUES LAB DUE.

           - 2ND EXAM GIVEN OUT

June 13 - Lecture;  GENETICS LAB (6).


           - 2ND EXAM DUE.

June 14 - Lecture;  REPRODUCTION LAB (7).

           - GENETICS LAB DUE.

June 15 - Lecture; ANATOMY LAB ONE (8).


           - 3RD EXAM GIVEN OUT

June 20 - Lecture; ANATOMY LAB TWO (9).

           - ANATOMY LAB ONE DUE.

           - 3RD EXAM DUE.

June 21 - EPIDEMIOLOGY LAB (10);  Lecture to follow.

           - ANATOMY LAB TWO DUE.

June 22 - Lecture;  HEALTH GUIDE LAB (11). (Need Book!)


           - PAPER DUE.

           - 4TH EXAM GIVEN OUT

            - 5TH EXAM GIVEN OUT

June 27 - ETHICS LAB (12); Lecture to follow.

             - HEALTH GUIDE LAB DUE.

             - 4TH EXAM DUE.

June 28 - Lecture; PROCESSING LAB (13).


June 29   -  Lecture if needed.  Otherwise, work day.




Laboratory Schedule - Summer 2017



Skills Stressed

June 1


Familiarity & Safety.

June 2

Metacognition.  (1)

Self-analysis & Application of concepts.

June 3

Microscopes.  (2)

Use of Lab Instruments.

June 6 Internet Resources  (3) Use of Library Databases & Internet Information.
June 6 Genetics Prelab Given

June 7

Cells, Tissues, & Organs.  (4)

Connecting subfunctions to overall functions; Recognition of tissue types.

June 8

Disease Organisms.  (5)

Analysis of symptoms from the actions of organisms; prevention and avoidance;  recognition of organism types.

June 13

Genetics.  (6)
Genetics Prelab Due

 Principles of dominant/recessive crosses;  Applications. Other genetic processes.

June 14

Reproduction.  (7)

Recognition of egg, sperm, and embryo-producing cells.

June 15

Anatomy I (Fetal Pig)  (8)

Recognition of organs and structures;  functions applied to real world situations.

June 20

Anatomy II   (9)


June 21

Epidemiology  (10)

Applying scientific principles to outbreaks of disease.

June 22

Using the Health Guide  (11)

Analysis of symptoms, with follow-up confirmations.

June 27

Ethics  (12)

Applying moral judgments to medical and scientific questions.

June 28

Mental Processing  (13) 
Calculator is useful!

Recognizing patterns to memory and sensory processes.

List is subject to change.

   SC 137 Research Papers  
  General Information:  

This course requires papers, using your choice of subjects but addressing a specific topic taken from the list found here and in the handouts. These papers will include at least four type-written, double-spaced, reasonably-margined pages of text (text does not include titles, reference lists, or empty space). Most of the paper will be made up of your own collected and restated research on your subject, applied to your chosen topic.

The papers must be based upon at least four proper references, listed at the end of the paper with the format given below. Note: things like abstract compilations, dictionaries, and encyclopedias are not considered proper references - you must list them if you used them, but they will not count toward the papers required four.  Also, at least one of your references must be recent, from the last three years!



Proposals for the Papers:

It is required that, by the dates given in the course syllabus, you hand in proposals for your papers. These can be handwritten. Three important items will be in your proposals: 1) Which of the listed topics (see topics sheet) have you chosen to address? 2) What subject are you going to research, applied to that topic? 3) What two references have you found that you expect to help you write your paper? Here, you need to give specific references, but not in full paper format. Proposals will be returned promptly with advisory comments and sometimes reference suggestions. They may have to be redone if unclear, or with a subject that can't fit the topic. Late proposals will be accepted only up to the due date of their papers.


It is very important that your papers be proofread - the seemingly small deductions for spelling, grammar, and organizational errors can really add up in a mistake-filled paper. You can submit papers early, up to three days before the due date, for precorrection. All mistakes, including everything that would be marked on a completed paper, will be marked, and the paper will be available for you to pick up and correct. If leaving papers in the lab box or mailbox, include a note indicating that you want precorrection. Usually, theres only a day turnaround for precorrection. You can submit a paper early as many times as you wish, but after the due date, marks are final - you cannot redo a paper after the deadline has passed and its been returned to you.

Problems and Extensions:

If you are running into difficulties, keep Mr. McDarby informed - he may be able to help. Perhaps more importantly, if hes made aware throughout the process, he may give you extra time to finish the paper, which is almost never true if the first he hears about problems is on or just before the due date of the paper!




Overall Format for the SC 137 Research Paper:

First Page / Title Page.
  • You can have a full separate title page, or use the top half of your first text page for the title.

  • The title must be specific enough to get an idea of whats in the paper clearly across to the reader.

  • The title must be followed by the chosen topic number in parentheses!!! See the topics list for their numbers.


  • Minimum four pages of text, double-spaced (leaves room for notes and corrections) - make a note if your word processors idea of "double-spaced" looks unusually wide. Margins should not be too wide.


  • General information or information available from multiple sources does not require footnotes, so don't overdo it. Specific or controversial information, or direct quotes (which also require attribution - tell who's talking, and why they are quotable!), things that you could only have gotten from particular sources, do require footnotes. Format: at the end of the passage, in parentheses, put the last name of the lead author (or whatever the reference is listed under) from your reference (your reference list at the end is alphabetized by author's last name, so a reader can easily find the full reference title if they want to). No other information is needed unless you have more than one reference from that author - then, use year of publication or second author or first words of title to specify which reference youre footnoting. References without authors can be footnoted according to how you listed it at the end.

  • Do Not Copy without citation!  You should only use quotes when you absolutely have to.  Copying without acknowledging a quote is against Academic Integrity Policy  and could have serious repercussions.


Reference Page.

  • NOTE: These papers require a specific science-style reference listing format!!!!!!

  • References are listed as follows. The entire list is alphabetized by authors last name. Make notes in your list of information that was not available.

  • Paper Sources: In this order: Author(s), last name first, full names, full list; Year (only) of publication; Title of actual reference; reference source if part of bigger whole, like a magazine article or a separately-written book chapter would be; Volume and Issue Numbers for a magazine, Date for a newspaper, or Publisher for a book; Page Numbers if applicable.  If the reference came from a database such as the Library's, put which database you used to find it.

  • Internet Sources: Use ONLY sources that can be shown to be reliable! List as: Author(s), last names first, full names, full list (this will often be an organization and may wind up being repeated in the website name);  Year of writing or last update;  Title of specific webpage accessed;  Website name if page is part of larger site (they usually are, and it may be a repeat of the "author");  Full Internet addressDate(s) that you accessed the information.

  • Other Sources: Check with Mr. McDarby on formats for unusual references, such as pamphlets or interviews.  Don't make assumptions!


   Topics List.
1.) A current human-health-related media "crisis." Pick a subject that has recently been pushed by the general media - TV, newspapers, popular magazines - as some near-emergency situation that we all should be concerned about. Your job is to describe the media frenzy, with sources there, and then to research more "scientific" sources to see if the crisis is all its being portrayed as.

Common mistakes for this topic: People ignore that this is basically a comparison between general media and specific expert sources; they don't really go into media treatment, which should set up the whole paper.

A current human-health-related ethical issue. These are the moral issues that surround decisions about human health. You might find proper subjects in such areas as medicine, research, public policy or the environment. You must find a subject that has at least two sides, and you must present all sides of the issue adequately. You may express your own opinion is you wish, but all sides must be treated fairly despite your personal feelings.    Have sources for all sides!

Common mistakes for this topic: People pick a subject they feel too strongly about, so the "other side" is presented very poorly; these papers may be difficult to organize properly - people sometimes just go over and over the same territory.

Health technology. Here you'll address some new developments, in equipment or techniques; describe the technology, give a background of what it's replacing or changing, and make projections of the sorts of changes it might bring about.

Common mistakes for this topic: People miss one of the three main aspects of the topic: describe the technology, give a general idea of how it's to be applied (including current techniques), and project its future effects.

4.) New developments for a particular type of health-oriented research. You'll describe how that type of research gets done, with multiple examples to show variations and issues.

Common mistakes for this topic:
This is about process - how do researchers do their research?  You'll probably need to read and understand some fairly technical sources.

An interview with a health professional. Discuss their background, including education and motivations, their current duties, and their opinions about the system they're a part of. Most importantly, put their particulars into context with general research of their profession.

Common mistakes for this topic: The interview is fairly easy, although some people forget to ask all of the questions the topic requires - it's finding the information to put it into context that's difficult. An example: your interview subject went to a trade school; you need to find out how common that is in that profession.

Review of a health-oriented business. You'll need to find out how the business was set up and how it runs, but you also need to track down information on how such businesses operate in general or on average. Charities or public institutions can be used if they have a health function.

Common mistakes for this topic: Getting all of the information can be difficult, especially the general information about the type of business you're researching.

A detailed individual case-history with full background. A case history would be one person's experience with a disease or condition. You'll need to trace the development, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of the case, but you need to do the research to explain things - why does that symptom appear, or why is that test run, or what is that medication supposed to be doing?

Common mistakes for this topic: Giving the history is fairly simple - it's the research and explanations that people have difficulties with. Virtually every aspect of the case should be explained - its not enough to just say what happened, you have to say why, so far as anyone knows.

The overall history of a disease or health-related topic. You need a subject that not only has a history, but one whose history you can actually track. Give early background and descriptions, discoveries, political / social aspects and impacts, all in a historical framework, including development of responses.

Common mistakes for this topic: Finding such information is almost impossible for some subjects. Although you would think otherwise for something that's essentially a timeline, many people cant seem to organize these papers properly.

9.) Comparison of two books
on the same health-related topic. These books should look, to a glance, like they're on the same subject. Your job is to compare them - how are they similar? How are they different? This topic does not require four references - just the two books.

Common mistakes for this topic: People sometimes forget to tell at the beginning of their papers what their books are; they get bogged down just reviewing the books, and give almost no real comparisons. Sometimes it's clear that they didn't really understand the books, which makes it hard to compare them!



   Research Paper - Common Mistakes.  
Title is misleading or missing.

Topic Number is missing or wrong.

Paper doesn't really address chosen topic, or misses much of the topics requirements.

Organization of the paper is poor - things are discussed in widely separate sections. NOTE: outline, and don't be afraid to use a word processor to move things around.

Points you've already discussed are repeated.

Spelling and Grammar:

Overall proofreading was not done and needed to be. (Computer checkers are better than nothing, but will still miss a lot of mistakes.)

Apostrophes are not used on possessives. (Exception: possessive "its" gets no apostrophe; "it's" is a contraction meaning "it is.")

Colons and semicolons are misused. (A colon sets something up, often a list; a semicolon breaks things apart a bit more strongly than a comma.)

Verbs don't refer to their nouns (singular, plural) properly, or change tense for no reason.

Confusion among "there/ their/ they're," or "your/ you're," or "two/ to/ too."

Effect and affect are confused. (Effect is almost always a thing, affect is a verb.)

Proper usage is "try to do whatever," not "try and do it," as most people speak.

Paragraph breaks don't make sense. (They come when you make a major subject change - there is no magic sentence count.)

Footnotes are overused, or not used when needed, or done improperly. (See earlier section on footnotes.)

Quotations are overused (you're paraphrasing, mostly, not copying) or are not attributed (Who said this, and why are they quotable?).  At most, maybe 20% of your paper can be quotes.

In quotations, periods and commas are put outside the quotation marks. (Punctuation at the end of quotations go inside the quotation marks unless putting them there would change the meaning of the quotes.)

Style results in confusion or changes for no apparent reason.

Paper isn't long enough. (Text alone has to be at least 4 pages!)

Reference format is wrong, and/or information that's supposed to be there is missing, or there aren't enough acceptable references. 





Research Papers Marking Deductions (in %):


Topic Number missing or wrong. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -1

Other mistakes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  -1


Omissions from topic requirements:

Some omissions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -1 to -10

Off the topic somewhat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -8

Way off the topic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -12 to -25

Topic not even recognizable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  -20 to -45


Within one page of minimum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5

Over one page short. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  -10

Over 2 pages short. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  -25

      Spelling and grammar:

First 3 mistakes per page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

Each mistake after the first 3 per page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -1

So many mistakes as the be virtually unreadable. . . . -4 to -40

Quote without saying who is being quoted & why . . . . . .  -2

Organization is poor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -2 to -10


Footnote format is wrong. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5

Footnote to an unlisted reference. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  -4

Footnote required but not present. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -4

Inappropriate Source. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5

Fewer than required number of proper references, each .   -5

Errors from required format, each. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -1

Listing format completely wrong. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -10 to -20

      Other problems:

Dishonesty - Plagiarism, Falsified Reference, etc . . . . . . . . . .        -25 to -100

Form (good and bad), readability, other subjectives. . . . . . . . . . .    +25 to -40