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Learning Outcomes


Biology, Environmental Studies, Forensic Biology, & Molecular Biology

The Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences has developed seven Specific Learning Objectives (SLOs) to assess four (biology, field/environmental biology, forensic biology and molecular biology) of its five major programs. Note that the fifth major program, medical laboratory science, has its own set of SLOs.

To assess the unique features of the biology major program (“Bachelor of Science in biology”), the program-specific learning objectives (PSLOs)(lettered a, b, c, etc.) are listed under each appropriate departmental SLO. After completing the biology undergraduate major program, graduates will be able to:

  • SLO 1. Competently use the scientific method in solving a biological question.
  • SLO 2. Demonstrate proficiency in the most common and important biological concepts and principles.
    • PSLO 2a. Apply and use the following basic concepts of the cell: the structure and function of macromolecules, organelles, membrane transport, enzyme kinetics, respiration, photosynthesis, mitosis and meiosis.
    • PSLO2b. Use the following basic genetics concepts to accurately predict patterns of inheritance: meiosis, molecular basis of inheritance (Mendelian genetics), gene structure, expression and regulation.
    • PSLO2c. Explain the following basic ecological concepts and how human interaction impacts their outcome: biogeochemical cycles (hydrologic, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles), energy flow through the trophic structure.
    • PSLO2d. Describe how evolution via natural selection leads to biodiversity and the role of the fossil record in elucidating the evolutionary process and classification of organisms using taxonomic hierarchy.
    • PSLO2e. Compare and contrast the following major physiological processes in plants and animals: respiration, digestion, reproduction, movement, support, immunity, sensory perception and signal transduction, homeostasis and transportation. 
    • PSLO2f. Compare and contrast the morphological/anatomical features in plants and animals involved in the following: respiration, digestion, reproduction, movement, support, immunity, sensory perception and signal transduction, homeostasis, and transportation and integrate these with their corresponding physiological functions.
  • SLO 3. Demonstrate increasingproficiency in the most common and important biological laboratory skills and techniques.
    • PSLO3a. Correctly perform the following microcopy and sample-preparation skills: prepare a wet mount, a simple stain and a differential stain for use on a compound light microscope 
    • PSLO3b. Correctly perform the following skills: precisely and accurately pipet, perform straight and serial dilutions, and use a spectrophotometer.
  • SLO 4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in written format.
  • SLO 5. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in oral format.
  • SLO 6. Demonstrateprofessionalism and interpersonal skills throughout their capstone experience.
  • SLO 7. Apply discipline-specific biological concepts throughout their capstone experience.

    Forensic Biology

    To assess the unique features of the forensic biology major program (“Bachelor of Science in forensic biology”), the forensic biology program-specific learning objectives (FPSLOs) (lettered a, b, c, etc.) have been developed and are listed under each appropriate departmental SLO. After completing the forensic biology undergraduate major program, graduates will be able to:

    • SLO 1. Competently use the scientific method in solving a biological question.
    • SLO 2. Demonstrate mastery of the most common and important biological concepts and principles.
      • FPSLO 2a. Apply principles of general biology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and statistics/population genetics to the analysis of biological materials. Biol 3571 and 2191.
    • SLO 3. Demonstrate mastery of the most common and important biological laboratory skills and techniques.
      • FPSLO 3a. Understand how to interpret and compare analytical data generated from the analyses of physical/chemical evidence and known exemplars. Biol 2191 and 2291.
    • SLO 4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in written format
      • FPSLO 4a. Understand andeffectively communicate scientific concepts and results through written forensic reports. Biol 2291 and 3571.
    • SLO 5. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in oral format.
      • FPSLO 5a. Understand legal processes, including courtroom testimony, relevant legal decisions and concepts. Biol 2191, 2291 and 2591.
    • SLO 6. Maintain a professional demeanor by demonstrating sound interpersonal skills.
    • SLO 7. Participate in a capstone experience enhancing application of biological concepts.

    MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

    • SLO 1. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN & DATA ANALYSIS
      MB SLO 1 is in alignment with the Biology Major SLO 1 – Competently use the scientific method in solving a biological question.
      Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology should demonstrate the ability to:
      • Competently use the scientific method in solving a biological question.
      • Implement observational strategies to formulate a question.
      • Generate a testable hypothesis, design and implement an experiment using appropriate controls and appropriate sample sizes.
      • Determine the appropriate technique necessary to answer an experimental question.
      • Gather and evaluate experimental evidence, including qualitative and quantitative data.
      • Generate and interpret graphs displaying experimental results.
      • Apply statistical methods when analyzing their data, and use patterns to construct a Model.
      • Utilize current primary literature in the field to inform their own experimental design and future work.
      • Given a body of experimental data, be able to communicate the results in visual, written and oral formats. (See SLO 3 below.)
    • SLO 2. KNOWLEDGE OF CORE CONCEPTS AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
      MB SLO 2 is in alignment with the Biology Major SLO 2 – Demonstrate mastery of the most common and important biological concepts and principles.
      Students graduating with Bachelor of Science in molecular biology should demonstrate mastery in each of the following core concepts of molecular biology:
      • 1.1 Evolution: The diversity of lifeforms that have evolved over time through mutations,selection and genetic change.
      • 2.2 Information Flow, Exchange and Storage: The influence of genetics on the control of the growth and behavior of organisms.
      • 2.3 Structure and Function: The basic units of biological structures that define the functions of all living things.
      • 2.4 Pathways and transformations of energy and matter: The ways in which chemical transformation pathways and the laws of thermodynamics govern the growth and change of biological systems.
      • 2.5 Systems: The ways in which living things are interconnected and interact with one another.
    • SLO 3. PERFORMANCE OF STANDARD LABORATORY SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE OF COMMONLY UTILIZED TECHNIQUES IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
      MB SLO 3 is in alignment with the Biology Major SLO 3 – Demonstrate mastery of the most common and important biological laboratory skills and techniques.
      Students graduating with Bachelor of Science in molecular biology should demonstrate proficiency in the laboratory with respect to the following standard laboratory skills commonly encountered in scientific laboratories in the discipline:
      • Use of a compound light microscope in order to view specimens at multiple magnifications.
      • •Make a solution of a specified molarity and pH concentration using proper solution making technique, including the proper use of a balance and pH meter.
      • •Proficiency in pipetting using multiple instruments: Serological pipettes and micropipettes
      • •Centrifugation
      • •Nucleic Acid Isolation
      • •Use of a standard spectrophotometer to determine the quantity of an unknown nucleic acid or protein
      • •Spread Plating
      • •Polymerase Chain Reaction
      • •Agarose gel electrophoresis
      • •Gram Staining
      • •Maintenance of a laboratory notebook
      • •Working safely individually and in team in a laboratory
        In order for students to effectively analyze and critique primary literature, design an experiment or present scientific findings, they must be acquainted with a standard set of techniques utilized within the discipline. Molecular biology students will be able to describe the equipment and utilization of the following techniques:
      • •Spectrophotometry
      • •Microscopy (compound light microscopy and fluorescent microscopy)
      • •PCR
      • •RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase – Polymerase Chain Reaction)
      • •Quantitative Real-Time PCR
      • •Agarose Gel Electrophoresis
      • •Standard Molecular Cloning (Restriction Digestion, Ligation, Transformation)
      • •Western Blotting (SDS Page and Immunoblotting)
      • •Immunohistochemistry
      • •Standard Bioinformatic Analysis (BLASTn, BLASTp, CLUSTLW)
    • SLO 4. WRITTEN & ORAL COMMUNICATION
      MB SLO 4 is in alignment with the Biology Major SLO 4 – Effectively communicate scientific concepts in written format and SLO 5 – Effectively communicate scientific concepts in oral format.
      Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology should demonstrate the ability to communicate science in a variety of written and oral formats, including, but not limited to:
      • RESEARCH PAPER: Students should be able to locate, read, comprehend and synthesize literature (primary and/or secondary) in genetics, molecular biology and cell biology in order to write and/or present a research paper on an assigned topic in the discipline for a variety of audiences, including peers, scientific professionals and the general public.
      • •PRIMARY LITERATURE SUMMARY and/or CRITIQUE: Students should be able to write and/or orally present a summary and/or critique of a primary literature research paper with respect to the paper’s major findings.
      • •ORAL PRESENTATIONS: Students should demonstrate proficiency in oral communication skill to a variety of audiences.
      • •FORMAL LAB REPORT: Students should be able to write a formal laboratory report consisting of the following components: title, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results (including proper data figures), discussion, and citations. Students should also be able to orally present the findings of their research following an outline similar to that utilized in a formal lab report.
      • •POSTER PRESENTATION: Students should be able to generate and orally present a poster on their research.
      • •POP SCIENCE: Students should be able to write and/or orally present a scientific topic to a general audience as a means of disseminating research and discoveries in molecular biology.

    Environmental and Field Biology

    The environmental and field biology program, housed within the Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences, has developed student-learning outcomes. After completing the major in environmental and field biology, graduates will be able to: 

    • SLO 1. Demonstrate proficiency in the most common and important biological principles related to ecology, evolution, biodiversity and organismal biology.
      • Describe the following ecological concepts: population growth and dynamics; species interactions; community structure; niche models; species richness and diversity; succession; energy flow and nutrient cycling; productivity; food webs; biogeography; biomes; anthropogenic effects on resources, pollution, habitats and disease
      • Describe the following evolutionary concepts: natural selection; genetic variability in populations; Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; genetic drift; heritability, fitness and adaptation.
      • Describe the following biodiversity concepts: phylogeny, classification, morphology and life histories of animals, plants, fungi, protists, archaea and bacteria; fossil record and patterns of evolution; systematics and taxonomy; organismal adaptations.
      • Compare and contrast the structure, function and organization of the following processes in animals: digestion and nutrition; excretion and osmoregulation; respiration; circulation; support and movement; nervous and endocrine systems; integuments; immune systems; metabolism.
      • Compare and contrast the structure, function and organization of the following in plants: roots, stems and leaves; water movement; metabolism; mineral nutrition; translocation and storage; reproduction; gametogenesis and sporogenesis; alternation of generations; meristems and growth.
    • SLO 2. Demonstrate proficiency of the most common and important ecological and environmental field skills and techniques.
    • SLO 3. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in written format.
    • SLO 4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts in oral format.

    Medical Laboratory Science

    Upon completion of the prescribed course of study, the student will be able to:

    • Demonstrate entry level competencies necessary to perform the full range of clinical laboratory tests in areas such as Clinical Chemistry, Hematology/Hemostasis, Immunology, Immunohematology/Transfusion Medicine, Microbiology, Urine and Body Fluid Analysis and Laboratory Operations, and other emerging diagnostics.
    • Develop and evaluate test systems and interpretive algorithms.
    • Assume responsibilities in clinical decision-making, regulatory compliance, education, and quality assurance/performance improvement in clinical and research laboratories.
    • Demonstrate basic knowledge and skills in:
    • Application of safety and governmental regulations and standards as applied to clinical laboratory science
    • Principles and practices of professional conduct and the significance of continuing professional development
    • Communications sufficient to serve the needs of patients, the public and members of the health care team
    • Principles and practices of administration and supervision as applied to clinical laboratory science
    • Education methodologies and terminology sufficient to train/educate users and providers of laboratory services
    • Principles and practices of clinical study design, implementation and dissemination of results
    • (Adapted from the NAACLS Standards of Accredited and Approved Programs “Description of Entry Level Competencies of the Medical Laboratory Scientist,” 11/2014.).
    Department of Biological & Allied Health Sciences

    Jane Brown

    419-772-2325
    j-brown@onu.edu
    Meyer 118
    525 South Main Street
    Ada, Ohio 45810
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