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General botany courses

Ken Klemow kklemow at wilkes1.wilkes.edu
Mon Nov 11 09:53:33 EST 2002

>Dear Plant-edders,
>For a number of years I have been giving a "Biology of Plants" course at
>the second year level at Trent. It is basically an introductory full
>year (24 weeks) course, covering the plant kingdom, but including
>cyanobacteria, algae and fungi, along with some anatomy, and a six week
>section of plant physiology. I have been very happy with the course
>material, and the preparation it gives students for upper year botany
>Two of us have been teaching the course, but have been asked (told!) to
>make the course into two 12 week half courses. The dilemma we face is
>that under the present system, it takes us 14-16 weeks to reach the
>flowering plants. Clearly the course does not split easily into two
>parts.  I would be interested in knowing how others have or would divide
>material into two 12 week sessions. We plan on using the same text
>(Raven, Evert and Eichorn) for both halves, and perhaps making the first
>half a prerequisite for the second.
>The other problem will be finding titles for the courses.
>We would welcome any advice.

I subdivide the material into a "Plant Form and Function" course that 
I teach in the fall and a "Plant Diversity" course that I teach in 
the spring.  Each course is fourteen weeks long, and is taught as 
twenty-eight sessions that run for 3 hours each.  Each session is a 
stand-alone "workshop" covering a separate topic (though a few topics 
require 2-3 sessions, each focusing on a given sub-topic), and 
includes both lecture and hands-on student activities.  I also use 
Raven, Evert, and Eichhorn for both courses, but activities are 
guided by a workbook that I have authored..

Each course enrolls 8-20 upper-level biology majors, about half of 
whom intend careers in medicine or allied health sciences.  Student 
satisfaction is high, based on evaluations and on comments from 

As a more general question, why are your students taking a full year 
of botany at the introductory level, and not a more comprehensive 
"Principles of Biology" course?

Ken K.
Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology and GeoEnvironmental Science
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
email: kklemow at wilkes.edu
phone: 570-408-4758
fax: 570-408-7862
homepage: http://wilkes1.wilkes.edu/~kklemow

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