Jessica Sewald

The following information comes from the named instructor and should describe characteristics general to courses as taught by this instructor. Individual sections of specific courses will deviate from this description in some respects.

Class Format

At this time, I only teach sections of BIOL 121 in face-to-face format.

BIOL 121 – Introductory Biology for Non-Majors – has two components: lecture and lab.

The lecture format comprises 3 hours per week.  I do minimal lecturing during class; lectures will be used to clarify more difficult points in the reading. The remainder of class will be devoted to you working through problems or concepts in groups and on your own, with my support. It is also more important to learn how to learn than to learn any particular set of facts. Active learning, rather than passive note taking, has been shown to be one of the best ways to promote this learning.

The lab generally includes hands-on activities that lead the student through problems that have been introduced in the lecture. 

Resource Use


In-class active learning requires the student to use the textbook as an integral part of the course.  I expect students to come to class having read the assigned chapters (as outlined in my syllabus) and ready to ask questions regarding the more difficult concepts.


The D2L will serve as a central resource for: copies of the power point slides, relevant documents handed out in class, unit study guides, timely announcements and an updated calendar/schedule as well as a running record of your grade in the course. Students are expected to check their account regularly and often.


Students earn their grade through 4 unit exams (40%), a cumulative final (20%) 3 lab practical exams (15%), and daily quizzes (25%).  Quizzes are delivered using “clickers” and I supply this for the class every day. They are used in both lecture and lab. These quizzes are designed to help make the student an active participant in their learning and give daily feedback regarding the understanding of the concepts. 

Homework Policy

Homework is given to assist students in learning the course material.  Most homework will be used in the next class periods and will be required for group work.  Therefore, to be respectful to classmates, it is necessary that all homework assignments are completed. 

Attendance Policy

It is essential that students make a conscientious effort to attend every class and lab and be prepared to participate. Students who perform best are the ones who attend lecture and lab on a regular basis, and participate while present.

I take attendance for every lecture and lab session. Lab sessions meet once per week, lecture sessions meet 3 (MWF) times per week.  Since quizzes are given daily and are 25% of your grade, missing class will significantly impact your grade. 


I am available by appointment.  I also check my JCCC email on a regular basis and generally respond to email within 12 hours. 

Additional Information

I do not allow electronic devices in the classroom (with the exception of approved computer use for note-taking). All electronic devices need to be shut off (or silenced) and put away for the duration of the class. During assessment (exams and quizzes), the electronic devices cannot be on your person. Failure to comply with this policy will result in your removal from class during non-assessment times, or a zero on the exam or quiz during assessment times.