Biology IA

February 2013 Newsletter

In this issue...

Welcome to students and parents who have just joined us, and hello to those who are reading our second newsletter installment for this course! Our first newsletter may still be accessed here.

As we bring a close to February, we will be examining everything from the Scientific Method to Cells and on to Biochemistry. Those topics seem to be too small of scale to be relevant to their daily lives, but in reality, they aren't in the least. Many students have already demonstrated on our Discussion Boards that solving everyday problems is not too far off from using the Scientific Method. Students are learning that cells, like our body systems, have structures that each play a role in keeping us alive - even on such a small scale. Finally, in our approaching Biochemistry module, we will be learning just how what we eat can determine what we are, in fact, made of.

By now, you or your student already know that enrolling in an online course takes the same amount (or more) of dedication, thought, organization and effort that a regular school course would take. One of the biggest mistakes students can make is assuming that because a course is offered online it is easier or has different standards than a regular school course - this is very far from the truth! This biology course meets the same standards and prepares students to take the same End Of Course Test (EOCT) that a regular school would. It just does it through a different medium: online. That said, you still have a teacher for this course to help you through - utilize me by asking questions, reading my feedback on your assignments, or discussing your progress in the course and how you could improve! I am here for you.

Parents, always feel free to contact me - I am here and available for each of you. I look forward to a productive semester!

Attention Students: Tips and Hints for Keeping Up With the Course

Successful students typically....

  • Check email, feedback, news announcements daily.
  • Read feedback before taking next quiz/test – I often give pointers, extra help or offer other opportunities. You won’t know if you don’t look! If you don't know how to find your feedback, click here to learn how.
  • Pace themselves to the course schedule. This is essential to completing assignments on time. Please do not think that you will be able to do two weeks worth of work in one day - you will fail yourself for not learning the material, and your grade will likely suffer.
  • Print out the content and do any possible reading/studying while not on the computer (if you can); you can log back in later and watch the videos, do the activiites, etc.
  • Take advantage of bonus opportunities – they can raise your test scores significantly!
  • Attend/watch weekly chats to see practice questions for upcoming tests/quizzes.
  • Maintain ongoing contact with teacher about course questions, issues with technology, and general course progress.

Weekly Classroom Chats

Each week, we meet in an interactive online classroom to discuss one of the current topics we are covering in the class. We collectively dig deeper into the material required, and students have direct contact with the teacher and their classmates in a learning environment.


I highly recommend attending chats for success in the course. If you cannot attend the weekly chats (typically 4:30 Mondays), recordings of each chat are provided on our Course Homepage.


What goes on at weekly chats?

  • Watch topic-related music videos and discuss
  • Talk "Biology" with each other
  • THINK about the content collectively
  • Ask questions about the content
  • View video clips and analyze problems
  • Play games!
  • Review upcoming projects: ask questions, get pointers
  • Study for tests: analyze possible test questions; practice taking test questions

Students, ask any classmate that has attended a chat – were they glad they came? Was the chat worth their time? Did they have fun?

Try to join us – or at least watch back the recordings (User Links Widget.)


Parents: Do You Have A Parent Auditor Account? Has Your Email Address Changed?

Parent Auditor Accounts allow parents to view student progress and grades within a course. If you need to create an account with us, link it to your student, or want to know more about how to use it, click on the helpful links below:

How do I create a Parent Auditor Account?

How do I link my Parent Auditor Account to my student?

How do I use my Parent Auditor Account to monitor grades and student progress?

Parent Account/Email Address
The following should clarify GaVS policy on Parent Auditor accounts:
  1. If there is a change of address, the parent needs to edit that in the parent auditor account themselves.
  2. If the parent wants to add an additional address (such as a second parent) the parent will need to create an additional parent auditor account.

Upcoming Important Dates

Next Benchmark/Assignment Due Date:
March 1, 2013

D2L Help Sessions:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11 AM

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 7 PM


A link to the Help Session is located below.

Click here to enter the Help Session.

Helpful Links:

GAVS Helpdesk/Knowledgebase - student and parent can find answers to questions about how to navigate courses
Online Biology Textbook - fantastic additional resource to our online content from Estrella Mountain Community College
How to Read Feedback - unsure of how to find what feedback your teacher has left on quizzes, tests, dropbox assignments and discussions? The answers are here!
Cells Resources Pinboard - our class' pinboard of great supplemental resources for the Cells module.

Stay tuned for next month's newsletter!