Mary Harmon

Class Format

Face-to-face sections are typically moderate to fast-paced, whole group sessions with an emphasis on conceptual understanding.  Advanced readings and other applications of the material will enhance subject understanding.  Students are encouraged to participate and be prepared with questions during daily lectures, will sometimes have “clicker” quizzes embedded in the lecture slides, or may sometimes have an activity in lieu of lecture that requires pre-class preparation.

Hybrid/8-week sections of Biol 135 depend on the textbook, with lecture videos in every section.  The online homework can be repeated for mastery.  Deadlines are enforced.  Most communication with the instructor will be by email, as weekly lab sessions will be very task oriented and are not designed to be simple face-to-face time where you can ask me about your online homework assignments.

Resource Use

Textbooks are essential in any section of Biol 205 or Biol 135 for learning the content.  It is often helpful to bring these with you to class.  Textbooks also supplement the lecture, provide practice problems, and are a 24/7 resource for class information.  In all classes, some exercises from the textbook or associated online material, may be part of the graded homework.

Laboratory Manuals and/or Laboratory Notebooks are required and should obviously come with you to campus each laboratory period. 

Calculators are used frequently in Biol 205, and periodically throughout the semester in Biol 135.  A graphing calculator is not required, and will not be allowed during exams.

Computer software, whenever needed, will be available for student use in the Science Resource Center.  All students should have access to a computer with word processing capabilities for typing homework assignments.    

Online homework is used extensively in all of my Biol 135 sections.  All students (135 and 205) should have access to the Internet for watching additional videos and investigating related course subjects on your own time. 


All classes have homework in some form, 3-5 unit exams, and a final exam.  Roughly 60% of the grade will be determined by the unit and final exams, and 40% by participation and the in-class work during lecture and lab, as well as the homework and other (non-exam) material in the course.

Homework Policy

Due to fairness considerations, late work is NOT accepted.  Each student will be given ONE homework “coupon” in the first week of class to be used, if needed, for the one time exception to the rule stated in the previous sentence.

Attendance Policy

Your absence may affect your grade because of your subsequent lack of knowledge and understanding.  If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to obtain any missed assignments, as they will not be posted online.  However, absences are NOT part of the grading formula.  Makeup unit exams are not given after the exam date.  The final exam percentage will replace any missed unit exam.


I am never on campus in the early morning or on Fridays, but I do have plenty of office time in the late morning or afternoons Monday through Thursday.  You can always email your questions!  Responses to emails normally occur within 8 hours, but possibly longer on weekends.