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BIOL122 – Biological Basis of Behaviour

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Ken Cheng
Contact via biol122@mq.edu.au
E8B 111
by appointment
First Year Teaching Co-ordinator
Kate Barry
Contact via email
E8B205
10am-3pm weekdays
Tutor
Susie Hewlett
Contact via email
Tutor
Jenny Plath
Contact via email
Tutor
Kaja Wierucka
Contact via email
Tutor
Cody Freas
Contact via email
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
The greatest show on the Planet. This unit is a suitable introductory science unit for all students. It offers an integrative approach to the amazing world of behaviour. Basic mechanisms are covered, together with function and evolution. Lecture topics include: micro- and macro-evolution; evolutionary origins of behaviour; basic neuroscience; learning, brain and behaviour; and topics in animal behaviour. Lectures culminate with some reflections on the lives of humans in our modern world and the role of culture in human evolution.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the basic functioning of the nervous system in animals, including the senses
  2. Explain the principles of evolution by natural selection and sexual selection
  3. Outline basic concepts and principles of animal communication, sexual selection, human evolution, genetics, epigenetics, learning, and the topics of animal behaviour presented in class
  4. Extract and relate key theoretical ideas concerning the special topics on the evolution of human behaviour
  5. Understand and present collected scientific data
  6. Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  7. Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

General Assessment Information

Assignment submission, Turnitin and Plagiarism

This is a paperless unit so no assignments or quizzes will be physically handed in. You will be required to submit all assignments through iLearn via a Turnitin link. Turnitin is an online program that detects plagiarised pieces of work. It compares not only work between students in the current year but also across previous years, across institutions, with all published materials, and the internet. It is an incredibly effective tool. It is a requirement for all assignments in the course that they be written in your own words. Do not under any circumstances lend your work to another student. If that student plagiarises your work you too will be liable. Do not copy and paste text into your document with the thought you will modify it later – you will forget! Lastly do not leave things to the last moment, as that is when the urge to plagiarise hits you most.

The penalties imposed by the University for plagiarism are serious and may include expulsion from the University. ANY evidence of plagiarism WILL be dealt with according to University policy.

Plagiarism involves using the work of another person and presenting it as one's own. A full outline of the Universities policy on plagiarism is found at http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/ academic_honesty/policy.html. The website includes a general discussion of plagiarism, definitions, examples drawn from concrete cases, procedures that will be followed by the University in cases of plagiarism, and recommended penalties. Students are expected to familiarise themselves with the website. 

Lateness penalties

  • Quizzes for review questions and Lab exercises 1 and 2 (part 1): mark will be halved for any late submissions
  • Draft commentary: the entire 1% forfeited for any late submission
  • Part 2 of Lab exercises 1 and 2, final commentary: 5% of assignment per day or part thereof, including weekends
  • Last day for submitting quizzes is Sunday 19 November

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Weekly quizzes 18% Weeks 2-13
Lab exercise 1 4% Week 4
Lab exercise 2 6% Week 6
Draft commentary 1% Week 8
Final commentary 25% Week 12
Final exam 46% exam period

Weekly quizzes

Due: Weeks 2-13
Weighting: 18%

Quizzes for review questions

For each week’s lectures, a set of review questions are posted on the course web site. You should download the questions and answer them because the quizzes are based on them. You can and should treat the review questions as a test initially, because that helps you learn. But then you should of course check to make sure that you have the right answers. Keep the questions, and lecture slides and notes before you in doing the quizzes: it’s open-book, don’t handicap yourself. If you have answered the review questions, you should be near perfect on the quizzes. But be very mindful because any small error (e.g., misspelling in one letter) will be scored as incorrect, iLearn being pedantic and ruthless.

 

Due date for the quiz for Week n review questions is end of Week n+1, defined as Sunday midnight. Thus the quiz for Week 1 review questions are due Sunday of Week 2. We suggest not leaving the task till late on Sunday because the internet is not totally reliable, and iLearn won’t know or care about your trials and tribulations. Late submissions will have the marks halved. The last date for quizzes is Sunday 20 November after which they will be closed. The motivation for including this component is less evaluative and more pedagogical (graduate capability 1). The idea is to force you to review course material week by week. We emphasize that performance on this component of assessments correlates highly with overall performance on this course.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the basic functioning of the nervous system in animals, including the senses
  • Explain the principles of evolution by natural selection and sexual selection
  • Outline basic concepts and principles of animal communication, sexual selection, human evolution, genetics, epigenetics, learning, and the topics of animal behaviour presented in class
  • Extract and relate key theoretical ideas concerning the special topics on the evolution of human behaviour

Lab exercise 1

Due: Week 4
Weighting: 4%

Short assignment in two parts, with fuller instructions separately provided in pracs. Part 1 is a quiz based on the lab exercise, and Part 2 is a document with 1 paragraph that you upload via turnitin in iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand and present collected scientific data
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience

Lab exercise 2

Due: Week 6
Weighting: 6%

Short assignment  in two parts, with fuller instructions separately provided in pracs. Part 1 is a quiz based on the lab exercise, and Part 2 is a document with 1 graph and 1 paragraph that you upload via turnitin in iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand and present collected scientific data

Draft commentary

Due: Week 8
Weighting: 1%

Commentary article

The commentary article is a short commentary on a recent article, meant as an opinion piece for a popular audience. Further instructions are be provided separately. This writing assignment has a due date for a draft (worth 1%) and the final product. The purpose of the draft is to get you some feedback from the tutor. Both first drafts and final submissions should be uploaded via turnitin onto iLearn. Every submission is electronic in this class.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience

Final commentary

Due: Week 12
Weighting: 25%

Commentary article

The commentary article is a short commentary on a recent article, meant as an opinion piece for a popular audience. Further instructions are provided separately. This writing assignment has a due date for a draft (worth 1%) and the final product. The purpose of the draft is to get you some feedback from the tutor. Both first drafts and final submissions should be uploaded via turnitin onto iLearn. Every submission is electronic in this class.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Final exam

Due: exam period
Weighting: 46%

Final exam

The final exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, on lectures from Week 1 to Week 12 (Week 13 being a review). You must present yourself for examination at the time and place arranged for the exam.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the basic functioning of the nervous system in animals, including the senses
  • Explain the principles of evolution by natural selection and sexual selection
  • Outline basic concepts and principles of animal communication, sexual selection, human evolution, genetics, epigenetics, learning, and the topics of animal behaviour presented in class
  • Extract and relate key theoretical ideas concerning the special topics on the evolution of human behaviour

Delivery and Resources

The Greatest Show on the Planet

BIOL122 is a suitable introductory science course for all students. It offers an integrative approach to the amazing world of behaviour. Basic mechanisms are covered, together with function and evolution. Lecture topics include micro- and macro-evolution, evolutionary origins of behaviour, basic neuroscience, learning, brain and behaviour, and topics in animal behaviour. Lectures culminate with some reflections on the lives of humans in our modern world and the role of culture in human evolution.

Questions and requests about this course should be directed to the course coordinator: biol122@mq.edu.au

 

3 credit points                                                                          Semester 2, 2017, internal offering

 

Lectures

Tuesdays 2–4 p.m. in Lotus Theatre

 

Practicals

Practicals take place at E5A 220, every 2 weeks on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00-18:00. Most will attend in even weeks (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12), while some will attend in odd weeks (3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13). Details of pracs will be supplied at each prac.

 

You must wear closed-in shoes to pracs. And no food or drink is allowed in labs for pracs.

Bring your laptop if you have one: you can use it during pracs and our supply is limited.

 

It is now University policy that the University issued email account will be used for official University communication. All students are required to access their University account frequently.

 

Textbook

The required textbook is custom made for the course, called Biological Basis of Behaviour, 5th edition compiled by Ken Cheng, published by McGraw-Hill, 2016, ISBN-10 1-30-897443-4, ISBN-13 978-1-30-897443-9. We recommend that you get this newest version, as new material has been added, in the form of two chapters written by Ken Cheng.

The relevant chapters for each week are listed on the unit’s iLearn page.

 

An electronic version of the text (in colour and cheaper than the black-and-white hard copy) may be purchased from the publisher: http://www.mheducation.com.au/biological-basis-of-behaviour. Support from McGraw-Hill: www.mhhe.com/support.

 

What is new this year?

Except for two recorded guest lectures, Ken Cheng is giving all the lectures this year. Hopefully, this will give a unified voice to the lectures. The textbook has been updated, with new chapters written by Ken Cheng on history and on writing. The lecture contents, however, stay similar, with the usual updates from year to year. If anything can be said, more infotainment is being injected into lectures. The formats for assignments have stayed similar, but assigments have been updated in the usual renewal of materials from year to year.

 

Teaching Staff

 

Chair

 

Ken Cheng     Dept. of Biological Sciences               ken.cheng@mq.edu.au            98508613

E8B 111          Consultation by appointment

 

Guest lecturers (recorded lectures)

Greg Downey Department of Anthropology             greg.downey@mq.edu.au

 

Danielle Sulikowski  Department of Psychology, Charles Sturt University

                                    danielle.sulikowski@ymail.com

 

Tutors

Ken Cheng

Cody Freas                  freascody@gmail.com

Susie Hewlett              Susie.hewlett@students.mq.edu.au

Jenny Plath                  jenny.plath@students.mq.edu.au

Kaja Wierucka             kaja.wierucka@hdr.mq.edu.au

Unit Schedule

Week

Lecture

Topic

 

 

 

1

1.1

Overview and introduction

31 July–

1.2R

How science 'works'

 

1.3R

Ethics

 

1.4

Good study habits

 

 

 

2

2.1R

Brief history

 7 Aug–

2.2

Tinbergen's explanations

 

 

 

3

3.1

Darwin and Evolution

 14 Aug–

3.2R

Evolution on a small scale

 

 

 

4

4.1R

Evolution on a large scale

 21 Aug–

4.2

Evolution of behaviour

 

 

 

5

5.1R

Genetics and epigenetics

28 Aug–

5.2

Nervous system 1

 

 

 

6

6.1

Nervous system 2

 4 Sept–

6.2R

Senses

 

 

 

7

7.1

Perception (a ‘folk musical’)

 11 Sept–

7.2R

Learning 1: Basics

 

 

 

Midsemester break 18 September–2 October

 

 

 

8

8.1

Learning 2: Cognitive approaches to learning

 2 Oct–

8.2R

Animal behaviour 1

 

 

 

9

9.1

Animal behaviour 2

 9 Oct–

9.2R

Communication

 

 

 

10

10.1

Sexual selection

 16 Oct–

10.2R

Human evolution, with Greg Downey

 

 

 

11

11.1R

Human mating, with Danielle Sulikowski

 23 Oct–

11.2

Food and humans

 

 

 

12

12.1R

Culture, altruism, morality

 31 Oct–

12.2

Rise of civilisation and its influence on the Planet

 

 

 

13

13.1

Summary and review

 6 Nov–

13.2

Course song!

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the basic functioning of the nervous system in animals, including the senses
  • Explain the principles of evolution by natural selection and sexual selection
  • Outline basic concepts and principles of animal communication, sexual selection, human evolution, genetics, epigenetics, learning, and the topics of animal behaviour presented in class
  • Extract and relate key theoretical ideas concerning the special topics on the evolution of human behaviour
  • Understand and present collected scientific data
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Assessment tasks

  • Weekly quizzes
  • Lab exercise 1
  • Lab exercise 2
  • Draft commentary
  • Final commentary
  • Final exam

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand and present collected scientific data
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Assessment tasks

  • Lab exercise 1
  • Lab exercise 2
  • Draft commentary
  • Final commentary

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand and present collected scientific data
  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Assessment tasks

  • Lab exercise 2
  • Draft commentary
  • Final commentary

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Extract key points from scientific papers and accurately communicate these to a general audience
  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Assessment tasks

  • Lab exercise 2
  • Draft commentary
  • Final commentary

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Comment critically on scientific papers with regard to life on our Planet today

Assessment tasks

  • Draft commentary
  • Final commentary

Changes from Previous Offering

What is new this year?

Except for two recorded guest lectures, Ken Cheng is giving all the lectures this year. Hopefully, this will give a unified voice to the lectures. The textbook has been updated, with new chapters written by Ken Cheng on history and on writing. The lecture contents, however, stay similar, with the usual updates from year to year. If anything can be said, more infotainment is being injected into lectures. The formats for assignments have stayed similar, but assigments have been updated in the usual renewal of materials from year to year.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
25/07/2017 General assessment info updated