Pedagogical approaches in Biology
Peer Feedback and Grading A key goal of the Biology curriculum is to help students develop excellent oral and written communication skills. Beginning in first year, students are encouraged to gain experience in presenting small group seminars and writing short reports and articles. Depending on the course, you may be required to provide peer feedback to your fellow students. In providing peer feedback, students are expected to offer fair, constructive comments. The feedback from your peers can contribute to your grade, in combination with grading from the instructor. In turn, the peer comments that you provide may also be evaluated.
Apart from formal peer evaluation, working together with your peers can be a valuable experience that enhances your learning beyond the classroom. Consider getting involved with a group, whether you are working through an assignment or prepping for a test or exam.
Computers Queen’s Information Technology Services (ITS) based in Dupuis Hall provides a one-stop locale for all your computing needs, with reasonable pricing and helpful service. Typically the two most common problems that students encounter in completing course assignments are (1) failing to back up their work, and (2) leaving things to the last minute. The latter can be especially challenging if you need to learn new programs to complete assignments. Don’t wait to ask for help from your Instructor or TA!
If you have a technical query within Biology, you can approach an IT Admin Rep for advice: Julie French (Admin), Davin Carlson (Admin/PC), Robert Montgomerie (Faculty/Network Systems). Alternatively, you can contact Queen's ITS directly via this ITS Help Form.
Academic Advising The Calendar is the ultimate source of information for all courses, academic programs and regulations in the Faculty of Arts and Science. We have also compiled a list of Fequently Asked Questions that can be helpful. If after consulting these resources you still have a question, please feel free to contact Julie French, the Undergraduate Assistant.
Exam conflicts Students may apply to write a make-up or deferred exam if: 1) they have an exam conflict due to scheduling as defined in the Academic Regulations of the Faculty (see Calendar ) , 2) if the regularly scheduled exam conflicts with a legitimate request to observe a designated religious holiday, or 3) if they have an exam conflict with off-campus travel associated with a field course (e.g BIOL-307/3.0 or 407/3.0) that is held during the fall or winter terms.
In case (1), the student should report to the Exams Office first to verify that there is a genuine scheduling conflict. Biology professors will not consider your situation to be a conflict unless it meets the criteria set out by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Depending on the circumstances, the instructor may require you to submit your assignments or write your exam prior to the regularly scheduled date. Students are expected to be available to write scheduled exams at any time during the December examination period. Applications to write a make-up exam because of conflicting holiday plans plans will not be considered except under extraordinary circumstances. Students are advised to wait until the final December exam schedule is posted before making any holiday travel arrangements.
Extenuating Circumstances Can’t Write an Exam or Meet a Deadline? To ensure that guidelines for academic integrity are applied equally to all students, the Biology Department has developed a form that must be completed by any student who experiences a situation that causes/will cause the student to miss an exam, presentation or assignment. Students must bring 2 completed and signed forms plus appropriate documentation to the course co-ordinator within 72 hours of the scheduled exam or deadline. Dispensations based on legitimate excuses may be granted at the discretion of the course co-ordinator.
Documentation appropriate to the circumstances may include certification by a licensed health professional of: serious long-term illness or injury, current or recent treatment from a licensed psychiatrist, or counselling by Queen's Student Services; a disability certified by Queen’s Disability Services; evidence of death or serious illness or injury to family or close friend. If any documentation is determined to be fraudulent, the Department will consider this to be a breach of academic integrity. When students know in advance they will miss the exam or deadline, they should contact the co-ordinator 72 hours before the date. When students unexpectedly miss an exam, presentation or assignment deadline, they must contact the course co-ordinator within 72 hours and submit the forms.
Note that students should not visit a health professional simply to obtain documentation. Once an exam has been written, the Department of Biology will not change a grade based on subsequent information about extenuating circumstances. In such circumstances, students may request an appeal to the Faculty of Arts and Science.
Sources for Academic, Career and Personal Support
Accessibility Hub You can find out information about services, support and spaces for persons with disabilities at the Accessibility Hub.
Queen's Learning Commons (Stauffer Library) The Learning Commons houses the Adaptive Technology Centre, IT Services, Student Academic Success Services and the Writing Centre.
Career Services (Gordon Hall) A wide range of careers events, workshops and advice can be found at Career Services.
Q-Success is a transitional program for first year undergraduates in fall term, run by upper year peers, to help students engage successfully in their programs. See here for more information.
Q-Thrive offers videos and tips on residence life.
Bounce Back Is an individualized, peer-focused support program in winter term, for any first year undergrad Arts & Science student with a GPA of < 1.6 in first term. See here for more information.
Biology Peer Writing Assistants Program Skilled upper-year Biology student volunteers are available to provide science writing guidance to Biol 102 and 103 students completing their writing assignments. See here to book an appointment. Select Biology Peer Writing Assistants in the “Choose a Schedule” drop-down menu.
Getting Help in Serious Situations
Some students will encounter serious challenges during their undergraduate experience. Queen’s provides a number of places to turn for both urgent situations and for those instances where your personal or academic situation is affecting your ability to fulfill course obligations. Some of the key point-contacts are listed below.
Health, Counselling & Disability Services Offers a full suite of services. See here for general information, or call 613 533 6000 ext 78264. AFTER HOURS EMERG 613 533 6111 (Campus Security)
Crisis Counselling Services http://www.queensu.ca/studentwellness/counselling-services
Sexual Assault Centre 24 hr 613 544 6424
AMS Peer Support 613 533 6000 ext 75111
Academic Integrity and Code of Conduct
What is Academic Integrity? As laid out by Queen’s Senate, academic integrity is based on five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Academic integrity is essential to the entire core educational mission of the University, which is based on the free exchange of ideas among individuals in a respectful manner. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism (see below), use of unauthorized materials, facilitation (enabling others to commit a breach of integrity), and falsification. As a Biology student, you are expected to become familiar with the regulations supporting academic integrity (see “Academic Integrity” on masthead section in the Arts and Sciences calendar ). Consistent with the principles of academic integrity, students are also responsible for adhering to the Queen’s Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct Broadly speaking, acceptable conduct does not infringe upon the rights of other members of the University community. For example, during instructional sessions (eg lectures, tutorials, labs), disruptive conversations or other excessive noise from cell phones, computers or other sources unrelated to class, infringe on others’ rights and are therefore unacceptable. Students are also expected to remain in lectures and labs for the duration of instruction except in the case of medical or security emergencies. In cases where a student knows they must leave a lecture early, they are expected to inform the course lecturer ahead of time, and sit where they may depart without disturbing the on-going class. Penalties for non-compliance to the Code of Conduct are outlined in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences calendar under Academic Regulation 17.
Plagiarism Plagiarism is the act of passing off someone else’s ideas, writings, etc as one’s own. Plagiarism constitutes a very serious breach of academic integrity. To help you avoid this mistake, your introductory Biology courses provide extensive information on how to make sure you give credit appropriately for others’ work. Penalties for plagiarism and other breaches of academic integrity are outlined in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences calendar under Academic Regulation 1. Students against whom there has been an allegation of plagiarism will be notified in writing and will be given an opportunity to respond. The penalty for a finding of plagiarism on assignments, reports or examinations will normally result in a grade of zero, often additional grade penalties, and will go on record in the Faculty of Arts and Science office.
Common examples of plagiarism in assignments and reports include:
- Identical word-for-word sections from two or more students. The penalty in this case will normally be applied to all of the students involved. Unless otherwise instructed, each student is expected to write his/her own assignments / reports in his / her own writing. Do not allow other students to copy your assignment or report.
- Taking credit for written material obtained from the internet.
- Failing to cite the original source of information or ideas from the published literature used in your assignment or report. By citing the source, you are acknowledging that the material is not your own and you are giving credit to the original author(s).
- Copying sections, word-for-word, from the published literature without indicating quotation. Regardless of what you may have learned before starting University, it is not acceptable to copy paragraphs, whole sentences or even long strings of words directly from any publication. Even if you cite the article at the end of the text that you have copied, this is still a form of plagiarism because you would be giving the false impression that you had constructed these sentences / paragraphs yourself. Make the point you want to make in your own words using the cited work as the source of support for your argument. If you have any questions about how to credit the work of others correctly, ask your TA or Instructor.