Biology 48 - Course Syllabus - Fall 2018
CRN #75192 & 75193

Welcome to Biology 48! Please read through the following information carefully. In this syllabus you will find descriptions of what you can expect from this course, from me as your instructor, and perhaps most important, what is expected of you.

Instructor: Mr. Nathan Norris
Office: SM 55E
Phone: (408) 741-2634
E-mail: Nathan Norris Click to Contact

Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 10:30-12:00 or by arrangement. If you cannot make the above times, feel free to drop by, or make an appointment.

As your instructor I am here to facilitate your education by (1) presenting you with the material that you need to learn, and (2) by assisting you in your learning of the material. I will try to make it fun and I will do everything I can to help you, however, I cannot learn it for you - that is your responsibility. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. With effort you will learn and be successful - the effort, however, is up to you.

General Course Info | Texts | Student Learning Outcomes | Nature of the Course | Evaluation | Writing Assignment | Grading | Academic Dishonesty
Attendance | Dropping | Miscellaneous Notes | Tips for Success | Student Resources on Campus | Lecture Schedule | Lab Schedule

General Course Information (return to top of page)

Biology 48 is a five (5) unit semester length lecture and laboratory course. It is designed to satisfy the requirements for degrees in Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Human Performance, Nutrition, Dental Hygiene, and others. It is acceptable for credit by the University of California and the California State Universities (caution: if you plan to transfer it is your responsibility to confirm with the department / institution to which you wish to transfer that this course meets their requirements, they have the final say). As a transferable course the academic rigor of this course will be comparable to a "University Level" undergraduate human physiology course. Although you will be held accountable for meeting this standard, it need not be overwhelming. The material will be presented from the perspective of this being the first college physiology course you have ever taken. You will need to know the required prerequisity knowledge and you will be challenged, but you can be successful. However, if you are looking for an easy A, this is not the class for you.

Human physiology is an exciting and dynamic field of study that brings together multiple disciplines leading to the understanding of the function of the human body. Over the semester the function of the various systems making up the human body will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on the physiological principles of normal function, the mechanism of action, and the regulation of function. As each of the individual systems are covered a progressively more comprehensive understanding of the functioning of the human body will be acquired. There is a lot to learn and it will be challenging, but I hope you will find it as exciting as I do.

Prerequisites: Completion of a college anatomy course (i.e. Bio 47) and college chemistry course (i.e. Chem 2, 30A, 1A) with a grade of C or better. Students are expected to read and write at the college level and know enough mathematics to use elementary algebra, graphs and charts to solve problems.

Note: If you have a learning or physical need that will require special accommodations in this class you need to notify me in writing of your accommodation needs. West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request. Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.

Texts and Support Materials (return to top of page)


Silverthorn, D.U. Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach, 7th ed., Pearson, San Francisco, CA, 2016. (note: older editions may be acceptable, check with the instructor. The newest edition is available in the West Valley College bookstore in both hardbound and loose leaf formats).

Norris, N. Biology 48: Human Physiology Procedures Manual. (note: The lab procedures manual is required for the lab and is only available from the West Valley College bookstore)

Note: Some copies of the textbook (Silverthorn) may be available through the Books for Food Program.


In addition to the required books it is recommended that you have a calculator, USB Flash Drive and medical dictionary. You may also find that a three ring binder will be helpful for holding and organing all of your materials.


Kapit, Macey and Meisami. Physiology Coloring Book. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA.

Sackheim, G. Introduction to Chemistry for Biology Students. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA.

Layman, Dale. Physiology Demystified. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

Web Pages:  

Instructor Web Page:
Course Web Page:

Note: your best learning resources are the materials in the lab, your textbooks and your instructor, use them all to your advantage and ask questions!

Purchasing Course Books:
West Valley Campus Bookstore: You can Purchase all of the books listed in the course syllabus directly from the bookstore located on West Valley campus. The bookstore also provides an online service in case you do not want to go there in person (WVC bookstore). You can reserve the books to pick them up later or make arrangements for home delivery. Note: bookstore profits help fund the campus center - purchasing your books from the campus bookstore will help support the campus center.

Books for Food Program: Borrow a copy of the book from the Books for Food program in exchange for 10 cans of donated food. See the Books for Food website ( for a list of available books and bring your donation to the WVC Library to borrow your book.

Digital Editions: The textbook may also be purchased as a stand alone digital subscription or as an eText coupled with Mastering Biology (not used in this course). Ask about this option in the bookstore of visit the Pearson website:

Ordering online (new or used): I am aware that book prices are high and that this can place an undue burden on student budgets. One option to save money is to order books online from discount suppliers. The down side to this option is that, depending on the vendor, it can take several days, or possibly weeks, for your books to arrive, and you will need the "required books" on the first day of class. Consequently, unless you have ordered your books several weeks in advance, this option may better serve you for the purchase of the "recommended and optional books" listed in your syllabus.  The following online vendors may prove to be good resources:

Alternative Texts: In some instances the use of an older edition or even a different textbook may be possible. In general this is not an ideal option for several reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in identifying the appropriate reading assignment. However, if this is an option you would like to pursue please contact the instructor to see if your alternative text is suitable for this course.

Other Local Bookstores: A less commonly successful but useful alternate is to search the local new and used bookstores in the area (including other campus bookstores) for the books you need. I have periodically found useful resource books at a significant discount at used bookstores. Several options are available to you.

Student Learning Outcomes (return to top of page)

This course is intended to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of the structure of the human body.  Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that the student will be able to:
    a. Explain a disease process, including changes that happen to normal function,
    b. Outline a normal negative feedback loop, identifying sensor, integrator, and effector,
    c. Explain the functional interrelationship between organ system function and the maintenance of homeostasis.

Nature of the Course (return to top of page)

The Human Physiology class meets for 9 hours each week, 3 hours are scheduled for lecture while 6 hours are devoted to lab activities. The amount of time you spend in and outside of class will, in large part, determine how well you do in the course. In addition to the scheduled class meetings plan on spending time in the library and in study groups reviewing class material. To get the most out of this class you should plan on devoting as much as 15-25 hours of your time each week, both in and out of class. Physiology is a demanding discipline that requires hard work and diligence to master. The rewards are, however, well worth the effort.


During lecture the concepts of Human Physiology presented in the textbook will be discussed, and expanded on where appropriate. Although this portion of the course will follow a traditional lecture format, questions and class participation are encouraged. If, during the lecture you have a question raise your hand and I will try to get to you (If you don't understand something it is likely that others don't also). Asking questions not only ensures that you get the information you need, it can also help create a more dynamic and interesting lecture. Your participation, in effect, can enhance your interest in the course.

To best prepare for each class meeting it is expected that you read through the assigned reading in your text and/or supplementary material prior to the class meeting time and that you take good notes. To assist you with this you will be provided with lecture outlines to use as a guide to the assigned reading, the lectures and the material you are expected to learn. Lecture outlines used effectively can be a beneficial study aid and are highly recommended. Lecture outlines will also serve as the primary "study guide" provided for each topic of study. Generally you will not need to bring your textbook to class, however, you might find it beneficial to have it available.

If you feel it will be helpful you may tape the lectures, however, I have found that students who tape the lectures may not listen as attentively and must spend additional time listening to the taped lecture again. Your time would most likely be better spent reading the assigned material and studying your notes rather than listening to a lecture you have already heard. If you do choose to tape the lectures, DO NOT substitute the tapes for attentive participation and note taking in class.

Finally, be considerate of other students in the class. Please turn off cell phones and refrain from talking during the lecture (other than to ask questions). Even minor disturbances can significantly impact the ability of others to concentrate on the lecture and such behavior is inappropriate for a college level course. Disruptive behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.


During lab you will further your understanding of material discussed in lecture through hands on experience. The principle reason for laboratory work in physiology, as in other disciplines, is to become personally involved in the subject. In fact, our current understanding of physiology comes principally from laboratory investigation. Working as a group and/or individually, you will physically explore the function of the human body through experimentation with live animals and/or human volunteers*. Thoughtful, disciplined hands on work in the lab is often the most effective method for learning physiology, for most students this is where things start to make sense. How much you gain from this depends on your involvement and participation. Participation is, in fact, required for successful completion of the course.

*Note: Physiology is concerned with the functions of living animals and of necessity the material studied in this course must be alive. For many of the experiments conducted in lab you will serve as the experimental subject. Depending on the particular experiment, some individuals with medical conditions should not volunteer as a human subject, participation as a subject is voluntary.

For a several experiments live animals will be used - this is not a right but a privilege, one which can be granted only if certain moral and ethical responsibilities are understood and accepted. The animals with which you will work are sentient beings; they can be used only if extreme care is taken to ensure that they are handled gently and feel no pain. The taking of life should be done with high purpose. In this case, the knowledge and experience that may be gained.

In addition to exploring basic physiological principles, a secondary aim of the lab is to introduce you to the methods and techniques of physiological exploration and research. This will include activities that involve learning to use laboratory equipment (spectrophotometers, chart recorders, oscilloscopes…), performing mathematical analysis of laboratory data and searching and reviewing primary research literature. It is not expected that you become "expert" in any of these techniques, however each individual should familiarize themselves with all of the activities in the lab. Do not shy away from procedurally challenging or equipment intensive activities. You can only learn by participating and by doing it.

Just as it is important to prepare ahead of time for each lecture, it is equally if not more important to prepare for each lab. It is expected that you read through the assigned reading in your proceedures manual and/or handouts prior to the lab meeting time. You will need to bring your proceedures manual and handouts to every lab meeting. During the introduction to the lab verbal modifications to the lab proceedures are sometimes given as well as important supplemental information. An important laboratory objective for you to learn is to integrate multiple sources of information.

One feature of physiology that students often find frustrating is the variability inherent in physiology. The concepts that will be presented in lecture and the text are based on statistical analysis, meaning they apply in general but cannot always be demonstrated in each experiment. For this reason inter-table interaction and discussion is strongly encouraged. Prior to each exam, time has been set aside for discussion and review of the lab experiments (see "Review" labs in the lab schedule). During these lab periods the data collected during preceding labs will be reviewed and discussed. It is expected that all students will have worked through all of the data from the preceding labs and be ready to participate in the discussion. Note: Review labs are a class activity, this is your last chance to get your questions answered before the exam. Attendance and participation in review labs is mandatory.

At the end of the lab it is your responsibility to be sure that all materials are clean and put away, and that the tables are wiped down. Please leave the laboratory cleaner than it was when you came in. The following guidelines may be helpful:

  1. wash all glassware with an appropriate detergent (i.e. alconox, not hand soap) and rinse thoroughly
  2. turn off all electrical equipment (coil cords and put away as appropriate)
  3. wipe off any equipment that is soiled (unplug first)
  4. clean, rinse and dry all surgical instruments
  5. clean lab tables with a damp sponge and disinfectant
  6. dispose of all waste IN THE APPROPRIATE CONTAINERS

Note: Eating, drinking, applying cosmetics and smoking within the lab room is strictly prohibited. These are health and safety issues - violations may result in loss of points. No visitors in the lab.


Studying is hard work that requires time. To be successful students should anticipate studying for 2 or more hours each week for every unit of classwork that they are enrolled in. For full time students (i.e. ~15 units/semester), a rule of thumb is to study 25-35 hours each week. If you can't do this you may be setting yourself up for academic suicide.

Evaluation (return to top of page)

Each student is required to turn in one formal written report. The writing assignment is worth 35 points. See the "Writing Assignment" section below for details.

Eight labs are designated as "report labs" in the lab schedule. Lab reports (aka worksheets) are worth 7 points each and will be due on the next scheduled "review" lab listed in the schedule (approximately 1-2 lab meetings after completion of the laboratory activity). Each lab report will consist of graphic presentation and analysis of class data. You will be expected to answer questions based on the class data and solve related case history problems.

There will be eight quizzes given during the course. Four of the quizzes will be given at the beginning of lecture on dates indicated in the lecture schedule by a "Q", and four of the quizzes will be given in the lab on review days. Each quiz will be worth 15 points. Your one lowest quiz will be thrown out (only seven quizzes will be counted towards your final grade). Quizzes will consist of true/false, multiple choice, fill-in, and short essay questions.

Note that quizzes will allow you to determine how well you understand the material before the exam is given. If you are doing poorly on the quizzes be sure to request help before the exam.

There are three practical midterm exams that will be given on the dates listed on the lab schedule and a comprehensive final exam (approximately 60-70% new material and 30-40% comprehensive). Exams are composed of true-false, multiple choice, fill-in, and essay questions including stations (with displays that you will need to be able to identify, name, describe, manipulate and/or explain). Exams will cover material from both the lecture and the lab.

Please bring a scantron (form #882) and #2 pencils to each exam. They can be purchased at the Bookstore. No exams will be dropped.

Exam Guidelines:
  • Arrive early so that you may start the exam on time.
  • Bring all items needed for the exam with you (scantron #882, #2 pencils, an eraser, and a calculator).
  • Turn cell phones off and put them away (cells phones may not be in your possession during exams).
  • Put all materials not needed for the exam (i.e. books, binders, notes and other loose materials) away inside your backpack. Put your closed pack out of view under your seat or at the front of the room. Leave anything you don't want in the classroom in your car.
  •  Sit far apart (i.e. in the lecture hall sit in alternating seats).
  •  You may not leave the room for any reason once the exam has started. Use the restroom before the exam starts. If you must leave the room you must turn in your exam and forfeit your remaining time.
  •  Once the first person leaves the room, no latecomers will be admitted to take the exam.
  •  Cheating will result in a zero on the exam and probable failure of the course.
  •  Put your name and exam form number on both your exam form and your scantron (#882).
  •  You may write on your exam.
  •  READ the questions! If you don't understand a question, ASK.
  •  Erase mistakes completely.

Warning: DO NOT miss an exam! Make ups are typically NOT offered. Only rarely, under extreme conditions, are make up exams given. To qualify for a make up exam you must contact the instructor immediately and provide a documented reason for missing the exam (i.e. doctors note). At the instructors discretion and convenience a make up exam may (or may not) be offered. If given, make up exams may include oral and/or essay components. Exams cannot be made up after grades have been posted. Note: Missing an exam will most likely result in failure of the course.

Participation shall be evaluated through attendance records and periodic checks of lab activities. Some ways in which to lose participation points are 1) violation of lab procedures, 2) leaving the lab work area in disarray or dirty, 3) demonstrated lack of preparation for labs, 4) failure to complete lab activities, and 5) poor attendance. Note: gross lack of participation may result in additional point loss (see attendance section).

Extra credit assignments are not offered. If you are not performing as well as you would like, increasing your workload with extra credit assignments will not help. If you are having trouble please come see me and we can discuss possible alterations in your current study practices that may help.

Writing Assignment (return to top of page)

A written research paper is a requirement of this course. This assignment will be broken down into three parts (1) identification of possible topics, (2) preliminary literature research and preparation of an annotated bibliography and (3) preparation of the final paper (papers are worth a total of 35 points - grading rubric).

(1) Identification of Possible Topic Questions:

This paper may cover any physiological topic that you find of interest as long as it is narrowed enough to be covered in detail effectively in a short paper. Start by thinking of several questions you would like answered. For example, you might be curious about the effects of caffeine leading to the question "How does caffeine work?". Since caffeine has a significant number of physiological effects answering this broad question could easily become overwhelming. Do some basic research to get an overview of the effects produced by caffeine. Start by referring to your textbook, and learning what you can about caffeine and all of your other possible topic questions. You will likely find that your initial broad question(s) can be broken down into several smaller questions such as "how does caffeine effect pregnancy?". Next do some preliminary literature searches (see instructions below) to see what is available relative to each of your topic questions. Use this information to help develop your topic questions list. Be sure you will be able to emphasize the physiological aspects leading to the answer to your topic questions. Will you be able to explain what happens, and more importantly how it happens. From your preliminary research you may decide to reject some of your initial topic ideas while refining others or identifying new topic questions. For example you may decide to drop an earlier idea about "caffeine and pregnancy" while refining your topic to now ask "How does caffeine stimulate the nervous system?" or "How does caffeine stimulate the heart?"

Your overarching goal on this assignment is to identify a topic question that you are interested in, find a minimum of three peer reviewed scholarly articles that provide information that directly pertains to your question and to write a two to three page paper summarizing the information from the articles and explain how it helps to answer your question (note: your goal is to find as much as is known, even though it may not fully answer your question). Your first goal is to determine your topic question.

Examples of Topic Question Types:
Dissorder or Disease - what is not working, how does this produce symptoms? (ex: cystic fibrosis)
Treatment or Proceedure - what is altered, how does the treatment produce the alteration? (ex: cold therapy)
Chemical or Drug - what effect does it have (desired or contraindications), how is the effect produced? (ex: caffeine)
Physiological Process - what is the physiological process, how is it produced? (ex: childbirth)
Environmental Condition - what effect does it have, how is the effect produced? (ex: microgravity)

Turn in: a single typed page with your name, lab time, and list of topics (each phrased as a question). Before you start writing, you need to see me for approval of your topics/questions. Usually this just means ensuring that the topic/question is not too broad and that it is appropriate to the assignment. Narrowing your topic is very important, as is selecting an exciting topic. You will be bound to the selected topic once approved, so be sure you have done some preliminary research for each of your possible topics.

(2) Preliminary Research and Annotated Bibliography:

At this point you are ready to start your literature search in earnest. This is not something you can do in a single sitting, it can be time consuming and require multiple returns to the search. Do not wait to get started. I suggest that you begin by referring to your textbook, and learning what you can about your selected topic. Look for key words that you can use during your literature search. Use of appropriate key words while conducting an online literature search is essential, thus review of the text (and other sources) for key words can have a big impact on your success finding articles.

Before you start your literature search, review the libraries basic literature search tutorial. This tutorial will introduce you to the libraries online database and how to search for scholarly articles. Go to the library website ( and watch the tutorial on searching scholarly articles using Academic Search Complete. Select "Research Guides" then "Search Academic Search Premier (Basic Search)" and watch the tutorial.

Once you have viewed the tutorial, get started. The Academic Search Complete database (others may also be used) can be accessed online from campus or home through the library webpage: (select the "Find Articles (Databases)" button). For our purposes I recommend that you utilize the libraries Academic Search Complete (EBSCOhost) database as your primary search tool. Note: when you start your search be sure to select the "limit search to scholarly journals" checkbox.

Alternative online databases include MedlinePlus, PubMed, and Google Scholar. These can be excellent resources, however, full text articles may not be available or require a fee for access. Do not pay for any articles, you don't need to - see not below (but it may be necessary to visit the reference section of a brick and mortar university library to read the full text article).

There are a lot of sources of information out there, thus there is a lot of information available. Some sources are appropriate, some are not. For this assignment you are likely to need multiple resources, but you are only required to include a minimum of three scholarly peer reviewed research articles and/or review articles as primary resources, and at least one must be less than 5 years old. These will be found in scholarly research publications such as:

Types of Scientific Journals where information may be found (a brief list):

  1. American Journal of Physiology -
  2. Journal of Physiology -
  3. Annual Review of Pharmacology -
  4. Journal of Neurophysiology -
  5. Annual Review of Physiology -
  6. Physiology Reviews -
  7. New England Journal of Medicine -
  8. Nature -
  9. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) -

Note: full text articles often are not available without paying a fee. DO NOT pay for any articles! Read the available abstract (i.e. preview) that is available online. If the article looks appropriate and worthwhile, copy the full citation for the article. To read the full text article try to search for it through West Valleys Academic Search Complete (EBSCOhost) data base. If it is not available in this format it will be necessary to visit the reference section of a brick and mortar university library.

Types of Journals / resources that will not be counted as primary references in a scientific report (and will not fulfill the scholarly article requirement). Note: most clinic journals (i.e. J. Nursing) will not provide the physiological mechanisms needed for your report and therefore are often not acceptable as a primary reference. These publications may be used as sources of information but the information should be confirmed through review of scholarly resources. The following is an example of resources that will not count as primary references:

  1. Textbooks (they are good sources of information, but are NOT scholarly articles)
  2. Newspapers
  3. Time / Newsweek or similar popular magazines
  4. Handouts, pamphlets, product brochures...
  5. Web Sites (i.e. WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia....)

Finding articles should not be a problem, however, sifting through them to find articles that will help you answer your specific question might be. You will most likely discover that you cannot find a definitive answer to your question(s) easily in any single article. You will need to consult several articles to get a complete answer to your question (the broader your question, the more articles you will need to consult).

Beware, most of the scientific literature is heavy reading, but you can learn to pick through it with practice. Don’t wait to start. Read abstracts for an overview to sort through the articles you find. When you find an article that looks promising turn to the body of the article. You will find that you can often skip reading the methods sections of most papers and focus on the introduction and discussion sections primarily. Review articles are also a great source of comprehensive information but often are not as current as research articles.

Note: Not all articles are available in full text from the Academic Search Complete database or other online sources. If you find a reference to an article that is not available or is not full text on any of the online databases you may have to visit the reference stacks in a brick and mortar library. Peer reviewed scientific journals can be found in most college libraries (including West Valley, San Jose State, Santa Clara, UCSC etc.) as well as various health and medical libraries in the area. Some articles may also be accessed online directly from the publisher (see the course resources webpage for a list of libraries and journals). Note: most publishers charge a fee to read and print articles - DO NOT pay for any article, use Academic Search Complete or go to a library instead of paying for the article.

Turn in: provide a typed 1-2 page "Annotated Bibliography" with your name, lab time and topic question clearly identified. Include a list of, at minimum, 3 scholarly peer reviewed research articles (one must be less than 5 years old). Include a complete and correctly formated bibliographic citation (APA format) for each article. Please see the APA guide available on the library website for information on APA citation style (or click here for a printable style guide - "APA Style"). Following each citation, provide a summary of the information you have obtained from the article that applies to your topic. Summaries must be in the form of a bullet point list of facts/information presented in the article that applies to your topic. Hint: this summary should represent your notes of the relevant information provided by the article cited.

Example Bibliography Citation Format for a journal article:
Lastname, F.I., & Lastname, F.I. (year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume#(issue#), page range. doi:#if available

Cratchet, B, & Marley, J, (1995). Cold Stimuli Intefere with Micturition. British Journal of Micturition, 12(7), 121-127.

Note: The requirement of 3 scholarly peer reviewed articles is a minimum requirement. The articles listed in your annotated bibliography do not have to represent your final list and the minimum requirement is in addition to secondary sources such as the text book. You will need more than 3 reference sources for an above average final paper.

(3) Final Paper:

Once you have found the necessary articles and deciphered the relevant content from each, write a two to three page paper summarizing the information in the articles and explain how it helps to answer your question (note: your goal is to find and report as much as is known, even though it may not fully answer your question).

As you prepare to write your paper keep in mind that science papers are essentially presentations of facts and figures and as a result science writing is predominantly presented in a formal third person format. A good paper will present the information that is known with reference to the origin of each fact. For example, much of what you will include in your paper will come from your literature research - be sure to cite the source of all facts. DO NOT, quote your sources, instead you should paraphrase what you have learned from your sources (and cite the source). A big part of preparing your paper will be finding and organizing the information you acquire from your literature research and presenting that information in a cohesive fashion. See the instructions below for the proper paper format.

Format: Term papers should range from 3 to 4 pages in length (7 at most) not including the bibliography. All papers must be neatly typed and double spaced with one inch margins and a font size not to exceed the print on this page (12 point). Papers must be proof-read for grammar and spelling. Papers with excessive grammatical and/or spelling errors will not be accepted.

Your paper should consist of the following components (each section should be clearly identified):

Note: Please do not use report covers or include a formal title page. The first page should include the title of your paper, your name, date and lab time, followed by the text of your paper (beginning with an abstract of your topic).

ABSTRACT: Abstracts are like movie previews, they provide enough information to permit a reader to decide whether or not to read further. In your abstract you should briefly summarize the entire paper, including conclusions. This is often the last part of the report that is written and should be no more than 1/2 - 3/4 page in length.

INTRODUCTION: The introduction should be no more than one page in length. It should present the topic/question that will be discussed in the paper and provide a brief physiological background/review to provide the reader with a sufficient physiological foundation to understand the topic (i.e. prepare the reader for what you are about to discuss).

DISCUSSION: This is the most important part of the paper. In this section the details of your topic should be discussed including a detailed discussion of the physiological phenomena involved. In this section you should provide the evidence needed to "answer" your topic question. Each of the points and/or ideas that you discuss should be supported by descriptions of the underlying physiological principles in an understandable fashion. There should be a logical and organized flow to your ideas. Hint: write your paper for readers with some physiology background (i.e. your classmates).

You will need to use several sources (see below) to put your paper together. Cite your sources / references liberally throughout your paper with in-text citations (aka parenthetical citations) in APA format (see in-text citation guide). IMPORTANT: ALL statements of fact must be cited in the text of your report as follows:

Example Parenthetical Citation Format for a journal article:
- Cratchet et al. (1995) found that cold toilet seats interfere with micturition.
- Exposure to cold toilet seats interferes with micturition (Cratchet et al., 1995).

Citing sources is very important as is proper citation format. Please see the APA guide available on the library website for more information. Go to the library website ( ), select "Research Guides" then "Citation Styles" (or click here for a brief style guide - "APA Style" & "In text APA Citations").

A minimum of three refereed scholarly scientific articles should be cited as references, and at least one must be less than 5 years old. Note: This is a minimum requirement and is in addition to any other primary as well as secondary sources that you use (including the text book).

CONCLUSION: This section can be as short as a paragraph or as long as a full page. In this section you should recap the main points of your paper, explain the significance of your findings relative to the original question and effectively answer the original topic question to the degree it is currently known. You should also suggest any limitations to your conclusion and what further investigation is necessary (i.e. what is still unanswered).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: This section should consist of an alphabetical listing (by primary author) of all references cited in your report. Each listing should include author(s), title, journal name (if applicable), pages, and date. See the format used by the journals cited for examples and refer to the APA Style guidelines (

Example Bibliography Citation Format for a journal article:
Lastname, F.I., & Lastname, F.I. (year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume#(issue#), page range. doi:#if available

Cratchet, B, & Marley, J, (1995). Cold Stimuli Intefere with Micturition. British Journal of Micturition, 12(7), 121-127.

WARNING: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Copying any material word for word is plagiarism. Even borrowed ideas and statements of fact that are reworded must be acknowledged. Plagiarism is cheating!

Need a printer? (upload your paper from anywhere to print it out later at the WVC Library):

Writing Assignment

(1) Topics - a list of possible topics must be turned in by: Tuesday October 2nd, 2018.

Provide a single typed page with your name, lab time, and list of topics (each phrased as a question).

Sample Topics / Questions:

  • How does caffeine stimulate the nervous system?
  • How does dietary sodium raise blood pressure?
  • What is happening when my foot “falls asleep”?
  • How does aspirin reduce the risk of heart attacks?

(2) Annotated bibliography must be turned in and approved by: Thursday October 25th, 2018.

Provide a typed outline with your name, lab time, topic (phrased as a question) and list of preliminary research articles. Include a bullet point list of pertinent facts from each article detailing the information contained in the article that contributes to the answer to your question.

(3) Final Papers are due by the start of the lab period on Thursday November 8th, 2018.

Note: late papers will have 3 points deducted for every day after the deadline that they are late, up to Thursday November 15th, 2018. Papers will NOT be accepted after this date.

Writing Assignment Grading: (papers are worth a total of 35 points - grading rubric)

The following is an approximate breakdown of writing assignment point distribution:

(1) Topics List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

(2) Annotated Bibliograpy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

(3) Final Paper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

(1) Followed Directions
presented question / topic clearly
(2) Grammar / Style / Format (sentence structure, spelling, grammar )
(3) Organization / Development
coherent flow of ideas, concise presentation of information
(4) Content (appropriate discussion of material in each section as described above)
reviewed significant physiological concepts relevant to the topic
presented current information on the topic
explained topic in terms of physiology involved
physiological mechanisms explained in appropriate detail
points out significance to original question

TOTAL (see grading rubric here) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35


Grading (return to top of page)

Your grade will be determined by the number of points you earn, not on how hard you work. Effort is expected, not rewarded. However, you are not in competition with other students, your course grade will be based on the total number of points you earn from the following: 

Point Breakdown (estimate) Points: % 
Note: Exact point values may vary
Writing Assignment (35 pts.): 35 5%  
Lab Reports / Worksheets (8 at 7 pts. each): 56 8%  Points earned will be converted
Quizzes (7 at 15 pts. each): 105 15%  to a percentage score as follows:
Practical Exams (3 exams at 100-125 pts. each): 350 48%  (pts. earned / pts. possible) x 100 = %
Participation  15 2%
Final Exam (165 pts., ~35% comprehensive): 165 22%
Total Points Possible: 726 100%  

Your final course grade will be based on the following scale:

Letter Grade
Percent Total Points
A 90-100% 654 - 726
B 80-89% 581 - 653
C 70-79% 508 - 580
D 60-69% 436 - 507
F below 60% less than 436

Periodically I will post your grades. This gives you the opportunity to confirm where you stand in the course, if you are missing any work or if I have made any errors recording your grades. Be sure to look it over. If you have any questions regarding any grade you receive and/or the grading method please feel free to talk to me. Note: you will need to provide a "secret identity" for posting of your grade. Remember, you are not entitled to a passing grade, you must earn it…make the effort and you can be successful.

Recommendation: Review and keep all returned assignments. Record earned scores on the "grade tracker" worksheet to keep abreast of your progress in the course:

Notes: Because of the importance of the lab, credit by examination is not possible. In rare instances if unforeseen circumstances prevent your completion of the course an incomplete grade may be given by arrangement with the instructor. In accordance with school policy, the incomplete must be made up by the end of one year following the semester in which the incomplete is given. This course may be taken again if the final grade is a D or an F.

Academic Dishonesty (return to top of page)

The college policy on cheating is clearly spelled out in the college catalogue and will be strictly enforced. Use of any method other than your knowledge and memory (such as using cell phones, notes, looking on other students papers, communication between students etc...) to answer questions on an exam or quiz constitutes cheating and will result in failure of that exam or quiz and/or failure of the course. Such behavior is disrespectful of other students and more importantly, of yourself. No dictionaries of any kind may be used during the exams or quizzes. Caution: Cheating will result in a zero on the exam/quiz /assignment, an incident report to the dean of instruction and likely failure of the course.

Attendance (return to top of page)

It is your responsibility to attend ALL class meetings. Class will start on time and last the entire time. It is expected that you are present at the start of class and attend the entire period. Your success depends on your attending regularly, taking good notes and studying. Please do not schedule appointments during scheduled class time or plan on leaving early. Unexcused absences may result in a loss of points and/or failure of the course. Failure to attend the equivalent of 10% of the labs (approx. 3 lab meetings) for ANY reason may result in disqualification from the course (i.e. failure).

It is critical to your success that you come to class prepared, having read the assigned material ahead of time, and that you take good notes. Failure to attend lecture or lab will result in missing announcements and valuable information that may not be covered in the text. Reading the text alone will not substitute for attendance. Students who attend, take good notes and study, have a good chance of doing well in this course. Remember, full time students should plan to spend 25-35 hours studying each week in addition to attending class regularly.

Dropping (return to top of page)

If you decide to drop the course it is up to you to fill out the appropriate paperwork and inform the instructor. Do not assume that if you stop coming to class that you will automatically be dropped. Students who fail to attend but do not inform the instructor may receive a failing grade.

Miscellaneous Notes (return to top of page)

CELL PHONES: Due to the disruptive nature of cell phones and pagers all cell phones and pagers should be turned off while in class. If for some reason you must leave your cell phone on please switch it to silent mode and leave the room before answering it. Note: ringing cell phones and/or pagers may result in failure of quizzes or exams. Cell phones must be off during quizzes and exams. If, for any reason, you answer a cell phone during a quiz or exam you must turn in your quiz and forfeit your remaining time.

WVM ALERT: West Valley College has a mass notification system which informs all college users of emergencies via the mode you select (e.g., text, cell phone, email, work phone, home phone). Please sign up at:

NON-SMOKING POLICY: West Valley College is a Smoke Free Campus and we thank you for honoring the college policy and supporting a healthy campus! Smoking is prohibited on campus with the exception of the numbered parking lots around the perimeter of College Circle. FREE and Confidential Smoking Cessation Support, including Nicotine patches and gum, is available in Student Health Services, No Butts About It!

HEALTH / STRESS MANAGEMENT: All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do – for yourself and for those who care about you. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. West Valley College Health Services offers free confidential personal counseling to all students. Call 408-741-2027 or drop by the Health Services office Monday – Thursday 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM.

ACCIDENTS ON CAMPUS: If you experience an accident while on campus the College requires the following:
Claim must be filed within 90 days of the incident - a specific form needs to be completed!
Claimant's own insurance plan is considered Primary; District Plan is only used after the primary plan Claimants are expected to pay a $50 deductible (Athletes may pay a higher deductible)
Maximum benefit is $50,000 per injury (Athletes may receive higher maximum benefit)
Maximum time allowance for submitting claims is one year from date of incident
Questions? Contact Health Services @ 741-2027

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. The Disability and Educational Support Program (DESP) coordinates accommodations and services for all students who are eligible. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodations and have not already done so, please contact DESP as soon as possible. The DESP office is located in the LS building; their phone number is (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY). Information about their services can be found at You may also contact me privately in regard to your needs in this course.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: The District, and each individual who represents the District, shall provide access to its services, classes, and programs without regard to national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex, race or ethnicity, color, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, or military and veteran status, or because he/she is perceived to have one or more of the foregoing characteristics, or based on association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION / SEXUAL HARASSMENT: If you have a complaint or someone has shared information with you as a student or employee that is unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment, contact the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at West Valley-Mission Community College District, Human Resources Department, (408-741-2060). If the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources is not available, contact the President of the college in which you attend or are employed.

Tips For Success (return to top of page)

There is a lot of information to be learned in this class and how you utilize your time will greatly influence how much you learn. Everyone can succeed in this course. However, to do so you must make the effort. You must be willing to work hard. This includes attending regularly, coming to class prepared, asking questions when you don't understand, taking good notes... in general, developing good study habits. These skills can be developed. If you don't have these skills the instructor may be able to provide some suggestions. (Note: For an average class you can expect 2 hours of study outside of class each week for each unit the class is worth. Full time students should plan to spend 25-35 hours studying each week!)

Each student must find what works best for them, however, some hints may be helpful. These include preparing for class (by reading your assignments prior to class so that you may get the most out of the time you have in class) and regularly studying/reviewing the information presented. In addition to studying the material on your own I suggest that you form study groups to review the material.

To assist you in your preparation and review of physiology, lecture outlines will be provided as a guide to the lectures and as a study aid. During the lecture take notes on your own paper, not on the outline supplied. After the lecture (not the night before the exam) sit down with your notes, the book (pay particular attention to the figures), and the lecture outline. Fill in the blanks on the outline from both your notes and the text - if it is not on the outline don't emphasize it. Once you feel comfortable with the material get together with a small study group and go over it (the library has rooms available for group study). Answer the questions at the end of the chapter and in the lab materials. Use your filled in lecture outline as a reference when needed. If you can apply the facts and concepts presented in the lecture, and learn the language (you will learn lots of new terminology) you will be well prepared for the exams. Remember, the lecture and the lab make up one course thus they support each other.

It is just as important, if not more so, to be well prepared for lab by reading through your assignments ahead of time. Proper preparation will increase your ability to get the most out of the lab activities and discussions. The lab is also your chance to ask questions, take advantage of it, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Note: This is a challenging class. Those of you who do not put in the effort to study hard and attend class regularly most likely will not pass. You are responsible for meeting the requirements of the course and therefore for your own success. You are not entitled to a passing grade, you must take ownership of your learning and earn it. Remember, as your instructor I am here to assist you with your understanding. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask and I will do my best to help you, however, I cannot learn it for you - that is your responsibility. With effort you will learn and be successful - the effort, however, is up to you. Remember, learning is work but it can also be a lot of fun. I hope you find the study of physiology as exciting as I do.

How effectively you study can have a significant impact on your learning. Look over the reasources listed below to get ideas to improve your study practices, save time and improve your grade:

Student Resources on Campus (return to top of page)

As a registered student you have a host of resources on campus that are available to you, many free of charge. The following is a partial list (for a complete list please refer to the college catalogue or the student services section of the college web page).

Admissions and Records (408) 741-2001
- Apply for Admissions (
- Register for Classes (

CANVAS Learning Management System
- service supporting online classes, may be used for broadcasting course announcements

Health Services (408) 741-2027
- provides limited medical treatment, health assessment, counseling and referrals

Tutorial Services (408) 741-2038
- tutoring is available without charge to students in academic and/or vocational subjects

Financial Aid (408) 741-2024
- program to assist eligible students in meeting education costs while attending school

Counseling Center (408) 741-2009
- provides academic, career and personal counseling for students

Disability & Educational Support Program (DESP) (408) 741-2010
- program to integrate students with disabilities into classes and equalize educational opportunities

Extended opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) (408) 741-2023
- support services for students who have historically experienced language, social, financial barriers

Biology 48: Human Physiology (return to top of page)
West Valley College - Fall 2018
CRN #75192 & 75193

click here for reading schedule for previous editions of Silverthorn - 5th ed., 6th ed.

Wk Date ! Lecture Topic (Q indicates tentative quiz dates) Text Chpt (7th ed. Silverthorn)
1 28-Aug Introduction / Homeostasis 1: 1-18, 3: 58-61, 6: 182-191

30-Aug Biomolecules 2
2 4-Sep Cell: Cell Chemistry / Metabolism 4: 92-112 (rec 2: 46-53, 4 :112-118)

6-Sep Q1 Cell: Membrane Transport / Potentials 2: 42-44, 3: 61-65, 5 (rec 3 all)
3 11-Sep Cell: Membrane Transport / Potentials 2: 42-44, 3: 61-65, 5 (rec 3 all)

13-Sep Cell: Signalling 6
4 18-Sep Q2 Cell: Signalling 6

20-Sep E1 Muscle Physiology I 11: 371-373, 12
5 25-Sep Muscle Physiology II 11: 371-373, 12

27-Sep Muscle Physiology III 11 :371-373, 12
6 2-Oct Neurophysiology I (topics due) 8, (rec 9: 299-302, review 6)

4-Oct Q3 Neurophysiology II 8, (rec 9: 299-302, review 6)
7 9-Oct Neurophysiology III 8, (rec 9: 299-302, review 6)

11-Oct Nervous System: ANS 11
8 16-Oct Q4 Hematology 16, 18: 571-580

18-Oct E2 Immunology 24
9 23-Oct Cardiovascular Physiology I (bibliography due) 14, 15

25-Oct Cardiovascular Physiology II 14, 15
10 30-Oct Cardiovascular Physiology III 14, 15

1-Nov Q5 Respiratory Physiology I 17, 18
11 6-Nov Respiratory Physiology II 17, 18

8-Nov Digestive Physiology I (term paper due) 21 (rec 22)
12 13-Nov Q6 Digestive Physiology II 21 (rec 22)

15-Nov E3 Renal Physiology I 19, 20
13 20-Nov Renal Physiology II 19, 20

22-Nov Thanksgiving Holiday - No Classes -
14 27-Nov Endocrine Physiology I 7, 22: 708-720, (rec 6, 22, 23)

29-Nov Q7 Endocrine Physiology II 7, 22: 708-720, (rec 6, 22, 23)
15 4-Dec Reproductive Physiology I 26, append C

6-Dec Q8 Reproductive Physiology II 26, append C
E4 FINAL EXAM (165 pts.) (study guide)
All Sections (75192, 75193) - Tue, Dec 11th from 7:30AM-9:30AM in SM 36
† Note: the scheduled time for the final is based on the start time for the lecture.

Biology 48: Human Physiology(return to top of page)
West Valley College - Fall 2018
CRN #75192 & 75193

click here for reading schedule for previous editions of Silverthorn - 5th ed., 6th ed.

Wk Date ! Topic ( * indicates report lab) Lab Chpt Text Ref (7th ed.)
1 28-Aug Introduction: Homeostasis 1, App. A, E 1: 8-18, 6: 182-191

30-Aug Bioinstrumentation 2, App. F -
2 4-Sep Data Presentation and Analysis 3 1: 18-23

6-Sep * Cellular Chemistry: Enzyme Activity 4 4: 92-102
3 11-Sep Cellular Metabolism: TCA 5 4: 102-112

13-Sep * Membrane Transport: Diffusion / Osmosis 6, App. B, C 5, App. B
4 18-Sep Review I / Quiz#2 / Lab Reports Due - -

20-Sep Practical Exam I (100 pts.) (study guide) - -
5 25-Sep Muscle Physiology I: Human 12 12

27-Sep * Muscle Physiology II: Frog 12 12
6 2-Oct Reflexes (topics due) 8 13

4-Oct * Neurophysiology: Action Potential 7 8
7 9-Oct Sensory Physiology I (lab period includes lecture + lab) 9, 10, 11 9: 291-294, 10

11-Oct Sensory Physiology II (lab period includes lecture + lab) 9, 10, 11 9: 291-294, 10
8 16-Oct Review II / Quiz #4 / Lab Reports Due - -

18-Oct Practical Exam II (125 pts.) (study guide) - -
9 23-Oct Hematology / Blood (bibliography due) 13, 14, App. E 16

25-Oct Cardiovascular I: Heart Sounds & ECG 15, App. E 14, 15
10 30-Oct Cardiovascular II: Blood Pressure & Flow 16, App. E 15

1-Nov * Cardiovascular III: Pharmacology 17 11, 14
11 6-Nov * Respiration 18, App. E 17, 18

8-Nov Digestive Physiology (term paper due) 19 21
12 13-Nov Review III / Quiz #6 / Lab Reports Due - -

15-Nov Practical Exam III (125 pts.) (study guide) - -
13 20-Nov Renal Physiology I: Urinalysis 20 19, 20

22-Nov   Thanksgiving Holiday - No Classes - -
14 27-Nov *
Renal II: Volume Reg / *Endocrine Physiology: GTT 21, 22 6, 7, 19, 20, 22

29-Nov Exercise Physiology / Physical Fitness 23 25
15 4-Dec Nutrition (Pot-Luck!) 24, App. D 4, 22

6-Dec Review IV / Quiz #8 / Lab Reports Due - -
  FINAL EXAM (165 pts.) (study guide)
All Sections (75192, 75193) - Tue, Dec 11th from 7:30AM-9:30AM in SM 36
† Note: the scheduled time for the final is based on the start time for the lecture.

Important Dates   Holidays:  
Last day to Add Sep 9 Labor Day Holiday Sep 3
Last day to Drop without a "W" Sep 9 Veterans Day Holiday Nov 12
Last day to Drop with a "W" Nov 18 Thanksgiving Holidays
Nov 22-25
Final Exams Dec 10-15