MCDB 397 - Writing in Biology
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Department: LSA Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in EEB 301 or MCDB 301.
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
MCDB 300 or 400, or EEB 300 or 400, or permission of instructor.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is designed to be an introduction to the types of writing engaged in by biologists. The students will learn by reading, discussion, writing, rewriting, presenting, and more discussion. Students must have prior or ongoing experience working in a biological research laboratory. This will provide each student with a specific research topic to focus on and access to a “working professional biologist” (the Principal Investigator of their research lab).

We will consider a variety of types of texts, with the goals of understanding how these texts are written and what their roles are in the broader scientific community. The two over-arching goals of this course are 1) to help students learn how to read, write, and present science research, and 2) to consider various purposes and processes required for communication in science. Students should understand that scientists must communicate in a variety of formats, that much of our writing is critically evaluated (by peer reviewers, grant study panels, students, and the general public), and there are accepted formats, conventions, and ethics involved in these processes.

Course Requirements:

Most in-class projects will be done in groups; out-of-class assignments will be done as individuals. The sequencing of discussion and assignments is designed to begin with the most specialized audiences and move gradually towards more mixed audiences and then finally to broaden our focus into the public domain.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for juniors or seniors concentrating in any biological concentration (biology, CMB, EEB, neuroscience, microbiology, plant biology, general biology), or with an interest in biology. Non-science concentrators are welcome, as long as they have research experience in an appropriate lab setting.

Class Format:

Class time will be spent actively engaging in the processes scientists use to communicate: reading, writing, discussing, evaluating, critically reviewing, and analyzing.

There are two 1.5-hour class meetings per week. The entire course is taught by active participation of the students. Each unit that is covered includes a variety of types of activities and exercises. Many of the exercises are performed as small groups during class.

MCDB 397 - Writing in Biology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780205616718
Writing in the sciences : exploring conventions of scientific discourse, Author: Penrose, Ann M., Publisher: Longman 2010
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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