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BIOL 177

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BIOL 177, Section 001: BIOLOGY OF SEX Fall WEB 2014

Instructor Dr. Nanette J. Tomicek
Title Lecturer
Office Phone 814-865-3150
Office Address 005 Thomas University Park, PA 16802

Required Text

1. Sex/gender, Biology in a Social World, by Fausto-Sterling. You will be assigned readings from this text. This book is available in paperback and also an electronic version. Either version is acceptable. ISBN-0415-88146-3
2. Biology of Sex/ Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology by Martini, Nath, and Bartholomew (Chapters 3, 18, 28, 29) and MasteringAandP Without etext is REQUIRED for this course.  
PACKAGE ISBN-13: -9-7-8-1-2-6-9-7-0-2-0-1-0- The correct package is ISBN-- 9781269702867

ALERT: You will need to use your PSU access ID, provided by Penn State, to register for and use Pearson's Mastering products


Online Course Materials: Course materials can be accessed through ANGEL. I expect you to read all supplied articles and text. A Penn State access ID username and password is required to access materials. 

Consistent/Stable Internet Access – Lack of internet access is not a legitimate excuse for late submission of any assignment. If your computer breaks down or your internet access is disrupted, you are responsible for going to a friend, public library, etc. in order to submit your assignment(s) on time. 

Speakers or headphones- some of the lessons will be a narrated powerpoint presentation. If you have a technical problem with Angel or other PSU supported products you can contact the World Campus Help Desk. If you have a problem with your proctor, please visit "Taking Exams and Securing a Proctor". More info on proctors can be found in the lessons tab. 

Course Description

This course presents a background on the basic structure and function of the human reproductive system.  Student evaluation is based on participation in on line activities, discussion boards, and performance on quiz and exam assessment. All quizzes and exams are to be taken "closed book."
This course will incorporate readings, writing assignments, and group discussions. By completing the course orientation under the lessons tab, you will practice navigating ANGEL and explore functions utilized for the course. Each week you will be expected to…

*Read the presented material/or listen to lectures

*Complete assignments related to the lessons. Example assignments include quizzes, online discussion, and exams.

*Complete all assignments by 11:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday for each week. Course materials can be accessed through the course site in ANGEL. You may NOT use your course materials while taking a quiz or exam assessment.

Course Objectives


This course presents a thorough background on the basic structure and function of the human reproductive system. Goals are to provide the student with sufficient knowledge to understand and discuss sex-related topics and make informed personal decisions. Through online presentations and class discussion students will be exposed to information that will clarify their understanding of the ways that their own body functions in sexual behavior and reproduction. Importantly, students will examine the roles of reproductive physiology and sexuality in a historical, cultural and social context, with particular emphasis on cultural and gender differences in anatomical forms, sexual expression, and disease. The course will present current research on human sex and reproduction, and explore the biology behind human sexuality and medicine. Student evaluation is based on participation in on line activities, discussion boards, written assignments, and performance on quiz and exam assessments. All quizzes and exams are to be taken "closed book". Exams will be taken at a proctoring facility.

Learning Objectives

Trace the pathway sperm must take through the male and female reproductive system to complete successful fertilization.

Diagram gametogenesis, including both mitotic and meiotic cell divisions; describe when these processes occur (fetal development/puberty/maturity).

Diagram the uterine and ovarian cycles; explain how hypothalamic, pituitary, and ovarian hormones coordinate both cycles to create the menstrual cycle.

Describe the physiology of the endocrine system at it pertains to reproductive biology including regulation using negative feedback loops.

Be able to clearly explain in your own words the difference between sex and gender. Explain how chromosomes, hormones, and gonads interact to create each.

Describe sexuality, behavior and attraction in humans and the function of pheromones, and hormones.

Be able to identify specific points during development where intersex phenotypes can arise.

Be able to identify which STDs are curable, incurable, and what the consequences of each are in terms of reproductive health and mortality.

Compare and contrast menopause and andropause; be able to analyze data and describe and benefits and risk of hormone replacement therapy in your own words.

Compare and contrast the human sexual response cycle in males and females.

Be able to identify key events occurring during developmental embryonic and fetal stages and understand how these events fit with maternal changes during each trimester.

Describe the process of parturition.

Describe hormonal regulation of lactation and the physiology of nursing.

Tentative Schedule

The schedule is subject to change. Students are responsible for checking the syllabus weekly submitting assignments/assessments before the due date Sunday 11pm EST.  The most up to date syllabus can be viewed on ANGEL under the syllabus tab. Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility.

Reading guide: If you have the paperback custom Pearson Biology of Sex Book that you purchased from MSB Direct read the pages marked in green. 
Everyone must also purchase the Sex and Gender Biology in a Social World by Fausto Stearling.

Course Calendar and Schedule




First Date Lesson is available


Assignment/Assessment Due by 11:00pm Sunday NOTE EXAMS must be Proctored and have different due dates

 Week 1

Jan 12


Intro Activities: 3 Syllabus/Academic Integrity Quizzes, Discussion Board (8 points total)

 Week 2

Jan 19

Male Reproductive System

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 103-120

Quiz 1: Male Anatomy (10 Points), Circumcision Discussion Board (2 points)
Mastering (1 point)

 Week 3

Jan 26

Female Reproductive System

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 120-133; stop at hormones

Quiz 2: Female Anatomy (10 points) Mastering (1 point)

 Week 4

Feb 2

Sex Determination

Read Fausto-Sterling Chapter 1-3

Quiz 3: Sex Determination (10 points)

 Week 5

Feb 9

Gender vs. Sex

Read Fausto-Sterling Chapter 5

Quiz 4:  Gender vs. Sex Discussion Board (2points)

 Week 6

Feb 16

Sexuality/ Behavior and AttractionRead Fausto-Sterling 4,6, 8-10

Quiz 5: Sexuality/Attraction (10 Points) Pheramone/Aphorodisiac Discussion Board (2 points)

 Week 7

Feb 23

Sexology/Human Sexual Response

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 139-140

Sexual Dysfuntion (on Angel)

Quiz 6: Sexology/Human Sexual Response (10 Points)
Mastering (1 point)

 Week 8

Mar 2

STDs will be the start of EXAM II material.

EXAM 1 (proctored exam 100 Points) March 3-7

Mar 9


 Week 9

Mar 16


Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 55-71 (skip second messengers and G-proteins) Page 92 Clinical note

Quiz 7: Endocrine (10 Points) Endocrine disrupter discussion Board (2 points)
Mastering (1 point)

 Week 10

Mar 23

Menstrual Cycle
Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 133-139

Quiz 8: Menstrual Cycle (10 Points) Mastering (1 point)

 Week 11

Mar 30

Puberty/Reproductive Senescence HRT paper Assigned

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 176-178, 140-143; 77-80 (zona reticularis of adrenal cortex)

Quiz 9: Puberty/Reproductive Senescence (10 Points)
Mastering (1 point)

Week  12

Apr 6

Oogensis/Spermatogenesis/ Fertilization

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 39-46, 108-113, 122-125, 151-155

Quiz 10: Gametogenesis/Fertilization (10 Points) HRT discussion board  (2 points)
Mastering (2 point)

Week 13

Apr 13


Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 155-170

Quiz 11: Gestation/Pregnancy(10 Points) Morning Sickness discussion Board (2 points) Submit exam request form 2.
Mastering (1 point)





Week 14

Apr 20

Read Martini's (Pearson) Pages 170-176

Quiz 12: Parturition/Lactation (10 Points) Breast vs Bottle Discussion Board (2 points)
Mastering (1 point)

Week 15

Apr 27


Quiz 13: Contraception (10 Points)

Finals Week

May 4

 No new lessons

EXAM 2 (proctored exam 100 Points) May 1-6



Course Requirements

Consistent/Stable Internet Access – Lack of internet access is not a legitimate excuse for late submission of any assignment. If your computer breaks down or your internet access is disrupted, you are responsible for going to a friend, public library, etc. in order to submit your assignment(s) on time.

World Campus: General Technical Requirements

Course Prerequisites


Course References

As an additional reference, I recommend Human Reproductive Biology 3rd ed by Jones and Lopez, Elseiver 2006 ISBN 012088465. Many of the posted articles come from Jones and Lopez. I will give you everything I expect you to read from this title. 

Grading Policy

All quizzes and Exams are to be taken closed book.  All exams and assignments are worth approximately ~280 total points. Weekly assignments and/or quizzes are due on Sunday at 11:00PM Eastern Standard Time. There will be a dropbox for written assignments which will close Sunday at 11:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Quizzes cannot be accessed after 11:00pm Eastern Standard Time (NO EXCEPTIONS). Failing to allow enough time to complete and submit the assignment is not a valid excuse and does not qualify as an emergency.  Missed quizzes will count a a dropped grade (you get 2). Quizzes cannot be reopened after they close for any reason including hospitalization, deaths, or other emergencies.


2 Proctored Exams, one midterm and a final  70 points each  50%

13 Quizzes assigned weekly, Best 11 of 13; 10 points each 40% Lowest 2 quiz grades will automatically be dropped.

6 Discussion Boards 2 points each ~5%

Syllabus and AI quizzes 5 points each ~5%

Mastering A and P up to 10 bonus points. 

Assignment of Grades:

A 92 - 100%

A- 90-92%

B+ 87 - 89%

B 83 - 86%

B- 80 - 82%

C+ 77 - 79%

C 70 - 76%

D 60 - 69%

F > 60%

If the class mean is below 70%, then grades will be assigned with the mean being a "C".

Exam Policy

Quizzes consist of 10 multiple choice, ordering, multiple select and true/false questions based on the weekly lectures and web assignments. These will be available in ANGEL in the weekly lessons folders. You can submit the quiz anytime during the week, but you will be given 15-20 minutes to complete the quiz and only one attempt. Do not open the quiz until you have viewed all the course material for that week.  You will be presented with 13 quizzes, but only your top 11 quiz scores will be considered in the final grade calculation. There are 16 weeks in the semester so there will be some weeks where no quiz is assigned. If you fail to take a quiz in the allotted time for any reason it will be counted as one of your dropped scores.

Exams consist of 50-60 multiple choice/ short answer questions and are worth 100 points each. You are responsible for all material presented online and assigned articles and readings. You many not use your notes when taking exams or quizzes.  The final is not cumulative. Exams will be taken using ANGEL. You may open an exam only one time and must submit your answers within a 75 minute period. You will need to go to a prearranged testing facility and arrange for a proctor to administer the exams.

Arranging a Proctor

Exams in this course are online and must be taken in the presence of a "proctor." A proctor is a person in your area with whom you arrange to access your exam via a computer. It is your responsibility to find a proctor as soon as the course begins. A proctor will NOT automatically be assigned to you; rather, you must make the necessary contact to secure a professional who will serve in this capacity.

Since the exams are only available online, the proctor you select must have a computer with access to the Internet. Verify with your proctor that they have a computer that meets the World Campus Technical Requirements.

Finding a Proctor 

1. Contact a person who meets the qualifications and ask him or her to proctor your exam.

2. Student Services must approve your proctor before any exams can be taken. Please see instructions for securing a suitable proctor. While many proctors will serve on a voluntary basis, you are responsible for paying any expenses incurred in retaining a proctor.

3. You must submit your proctor for approval or schedule your exams at a testing center using our online proctored exam portal. You will need to enter your proctor's contact information and submit proctor verification documentation. Note: If your proctor has been previously approved by the World Campus during a prior course within two years, you do not need to obtain verification. World Campus retains proctor information on file for two years.

4. If your proctor does not meet the required specifications, Student Services will notify you within 5 to 7 business days.

5. If you are a graduating senior requesting a final exam, please see additional information about early deadlines for course completion and exam scheduling.

6. Contact Student Services if you cannot take a scheduled exam.

7. Unless you have received permission to take your exam at an alternative time, your proctor will only allow you to take the exam during dates specified in your course.

If you have additional questions about securing a proctor, please contact SES (Student Enrollment Services) TEL: 814-865-5403; or by e-mail at

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity/Academic Dishonesty:  Academic dishonesty is not limited to simply cheating on an exam or assignment. The following is quoted directly from the "PSU Faculty Senate Policies for Students" regarding academic integrity and academic dishonesty: "Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students." All University and Eberly College of Science policies regarding academic integrity/academic dishonesty apply to this course and the students enrolled in this course. Refer to the following URL for further details on the academic integrity policies of the Eberly College of Science. Each student in this course is expected to work entirely on her/his own while taking any exam, to complete assignments on her/his own effort without the assistance of others unless directed otherwise by the instructor, and to abide by University and Eberly College of Science policies about academic integrity and academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty can result in assignment of "F" by the course instructors or "XF" by Judicial Affairs as a student’s final grade.

Disability Policy

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site. In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see the documentation guidelines). If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.”