Non-Majors Biology


The Non-Majors Biology course is no longer available. Unfortunately we are unable to support this course because many of the hyperlinks/resources are no longer functional and we are unable to find replacement content that is suitable. Current members who have the course installed may continue to use it but must recognize that we unable to support or correct any issues. We are maintaining access to the instructor and student resources on this page for any current users who may need them.

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biologyThis one-semester course will introduce you to the grand sweep of life on Earth and provide you with a basic understanding of the processes that shape and sustain it. You will learn about the ecological ties that bind organisms to one another and to their environment and explore the promising, perilous dance of humans and nature.

Topics include the science of biology, the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, cellular processes, cell division and the life cycle, principles of inheritance, evolution, the diversity of life, and ecology.

Description of Course Elements

This course is organized according to chapters, and each chapter includes the following elements:

  • Readings – This section includes learning objectives and textbook readings. Students read the assigned pages in the textbook prior to viewing the corresponding lesson. The lesson builds upon concepts presented in the book.
  • Lessons – Each chapter contains text-based lesson(s) that provide the “lecture” portion of this online course. The lessons will both summarize and complement the materials presented in the textbook, although some information presented in the lessons cannot be found in the textbook. Glossary terms are provided throughout each lesson and are highlighted in blue. To view the definition of the glossary term, click on the word.
  • Assignments – Most of the lessons include assignments designed to enhance students’ understanding of the course material. Some of these will help prepare students for follow-up assignments as well as assessments.
  • Discussion Questions – There is a discussion question for each chapter that will enable you to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic.
  • Virtual Urchin Project, Epel Lab, Stanford University – Four of the chapters within this course provide animations that will expand on the lessons within the specific chapter to give students a deeper understanding of the topic. Special thanks to Dr. David Epel and the staff at Epel Lab, Stanford University, for generously allowing NROC to distribute these materials.
  • Lab Resource – The instructor may require students to complete wet labs that would provide a hands-on opportunity to gain a better understanding of topics throughout this course. We provide a correlation guide that suggests labs for 17 of the 24 chapters.
  • Assessments – This section includes chapter exams, mid-term and final.

After completing this course, students should understand:

  • The scope and methods of biology
  • The internal organization of living organisms
  • The life cycle of cells
  • The flow of energy and matter through organisms and ecosystems
  • The evolution and diversity of life on Earth
  • The principles of ecology

Instructor Resources

Essential Instructor Resources

Supplemental Instructor Resources

While not necessary to use the course, these additional materials are available to supplement the course or provide more context.

Student Resources