Introduction to Biology

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
07 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C521 Ecology and Environmental Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C111 Biotechnology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C220 Human Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C511 Global Sustainability (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C556 Microbiology (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The module aims to provide students with a general understanding and curiosity about biology with a balance of plant biology, animal biology and microbiology.

This involves an understanding of the diversity, lifecycles and evolution of life on Earth, together with the biological processes that enable organisms to live, sense and adapt to the ecosystems that they inhabit. It will develop an appreciation of the relevance of sustainability to all aspects of scientific developments relating to biological sciences.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To ensure that students obtain a broad understanding of basic concepts and terminology relating to the biology of living organisms and the ecosystems they inhabit.

  • To enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding by conducting practical experiments.

  • To enable students to describe, explain and analyse at the entry level fundamental concepts relating to biology of plants, animals and microbes.

  • To enhance students' knowledge of and interest in biology by preparing them for undergraduate study of the subject.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of biology of plants, animals and microbes.

  2. Synthesize, interpret and present biological information from a range of sources.

  3. Record, analyse, interpret and present scientific data relating to biological sciences.

  4. Demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the fundamental principles of biology by clearly communicating ideas in writing.

  5. Express complex concepts usingaccurate terminology in an appropriate academic style.

  6. Demonstrate competence in (a) the analysis and interpretation of data and (b) written and verbal communication of experimental results.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, you will have been offered opportunities:

  1. To improve your literacy and numeracy skills.

  2. To develop skills in preparative and analytical biology through practical experimentation in the lab and field.

  3. To develop your IT skills by learning to work with the Microsoft Office packages (e.g. Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and laboratory simulation software programs.

  4. To develop skills in statistical analysis for the biosciences and the use of statistical software programs.

  5. To improve your awareness of bioscience in the real world by engaging with and familiarisation with current topics and research in Life Sciences.

  6. To enhance your communication skills through participation in class discussions and scientific writing.

  7. To develop your abilities in goal setting and time management when undertaking practical experiments, coursework assessments and examinations.

  8. To enhance your reflective practice using feedback.

Module information


Biological molecules
Cell Biology

Exchange and transport
Control systems

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered over 22 weeks via:

  • One 2-hour lecture and one 3-hour lab practical (alternate weeks)
  • One 2-hour lecture, one 1-hour class and one 1-hour tutorial (alternate weeks)

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competences to study at undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

Learning support

There are web, Moodle and library resources provided for the various topics covered in Introduction to Biology. Summarized lecture material is provided using PowerPoint presentations, online formative interactive activities are available for every lecture and practical sessions allow the students to better understand the concepts discussed in lectures with experiments covering t specific topics. Information on each practical is provided in a lab protocol (which students will be instructed to have read prior to attending the lab). This ensures that students are appropriately prepared for the practical. Students can also contact the Module Leader for 1:1 assistance or during Academic Support Hours, details can be found on the IA102 Moodle page.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 1     10% 
Coursework   Post-Lab Moodle Quiz 1     5% 
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 2     10% 
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 3     10% 
Coursework   Post-lab Moodle Quiz 2     15% 
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 4     10% 
Coursework   Participation    10% 
Coursework   SPF Lab Report 1    10% 
Coursework   SPF Final Lab Report     20% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

Moodle quiz in week 2, practice exam under examination conditions in week 30.

Summative assessment

Four online Moodle assessments (4 x 5% each, 20% in total). These will consist of 50 questions that will test the students grasp of material covered during lectures.

Participation mark (Labster quiz marks during classes 5%). Within the Labster platform (an online virtual laboratory simulation) there are a number of multiple-choice questions that are given. These are adaptive, with students gaining full marks for the correct answer on the first attempt, and reduced marks if it takes them multiple attempts. The marks from this are integrated into the Gradebook function of Moodle. These marks will only be given to students who have completed the simulations and the Labster simulations for each term must be completed before the beginning of the following term.

Two post-lab Moodle quizzes (2.5% and 7.5%, 10% in total). These will consist of approximately 25 questions that will test the students grasp of the experiment performed in the practical lab sessions.

A scientific paper format lab report to assess scientific writing and communication as well as data analysis and presentation skills (version one worth 5% and the final report 10%; 15% in total). This will consist of a lab report written in scientific paper format based on information gained in practical sessions and will assess key skills relating to research, scientific experimentation and methodology, literature review, scientific communication, data analysis and presentation.

A three-hour in-person, open book (restricted) examination (50%) – to include two sections: short answer (answer 4 of 6) and longer format questions (answer 2 of 6) to cover all topics covered in the module.

Reassessment strategy

Failed Exam - Resit the exam which is re-aggregated with existing coursework mark to create a new module mark.

Failed Coursework - Resubmit a lab report (1,500 words) which will be re-aggregated with existing exam mark to create a new module mark.
The reassessment task will replace the coursework component and will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.

Failed Exam and Coursework - Resit the exam and resubmit a lab report (1,500 words) and which are aggregated to create a new module mark.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Aygun Azadova, email: a.azadova@essex.ac.uk.
Miss Aygun Azadova
Helen Hearn (hhearn@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872842)



External examiner

Dr Austin Tomlinson
University of Birmingham
Available via Moodle
Of 28 hours, 19 (67.9%) hours available to students:
9 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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