Course Syllabus - Fall 2016

Lecture/Lab - 100% Online
The University of Texas at El Paso

Instructor: Michael Kolitsky, Ph.D.

Virtual Office Hours: Anytime via course e-mail or Blackboard Course Bulletin Board

Course Description

Course is a survey of tissue structure at the light and electron microscopic level, with emphasis on human specimens and identification. Not a course in preparative technique.

Important Dates

Aug. 26 - Brief Bio (1%) and Scavenger Hunt (1%) Deadlines
Sept. 12 - Lecture Exam 1 (15%)
Sept.21 - Lab Exam 1 (15%)
Oct. 24 - Lecture Exam 2 (17%)
Oct. 26 -  Lab. Exam 2 (16%)
Dec. 6- Lab. Exam 3 (17%)
Dec. 8 - Comprehensive Final Exam (18%)

Histology Text

Histology- A Text and Atlas by Michael H. Ross and Wojciech Pawlina (2010), 6th Edition, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. (ISBN 13: 978-0-7817-7200-6 ISBN 10: 0-7817-7200-1) This text is now available in the UTEP bookstore at

Course Objectives

1.    To understand the structure of human tissues and organs and relate structure to function.

2.    To gain a sound understanding of biological principles which will serve as a solid foundation for more advanced biology courses.

3.    To utilize computer-simulated microscopy to understand and explore tissue and organ structure.

Student's Responsibility

Students are expected to complete lecture and laboratory modules in a timely fashion. If you miss a scheduled exam or presentation, only a serious personal emergency will be considered as an excuse and you must apply in writing or email to the instructor to explain why an exam was missed.

The lecture and lab modules may be completed from any computer terminal that has web browsing capabilities and an updated Flash plugin. You may interact with the instructor using the course e-mail or discussion board tool. You are expected to complete lecture and lab modules as indicated in the course calendar set up in Blackboard. All work for a lab and lecture module assigned for a week should be completed by the end of the week of the scheduled classes.

This course is an online course with the professor being more at a distance from UTEP and Texas than most of the students. In this case, the instructor is a virtual adjunct professor but is nonetheless interested in your success and is available by e-mail and the course Discussion Board. Although online courses are becoming more commonplace, an online Histology course is still a novel way of learning about human tissue and organ structure and function. All microscopy is simulated with the use of high quality digitized images and techniques to simulate study of light and electron microscope images.

Instructor's Responsibility

To provide students with a challenging environment for learning which also encourages questioning and respects individual opinions.

Testing Conditions

All exams must be taken using Respondus, a video-based proctoring tool in Blackboard. You must download the Respondus software to your computer in order to take the lecture and lab exams. You may download the Respondus software by going to this link ( No other books, notes, other computers or anything else that can be considered as providing help in taking the lecture or lab exams should be available during testing. You should also take the exam in one sitting and not leave the room while the exam is being taken. A practice short exam using Respondus will be set up prior to the first exam to give you some experience taking exams using the video proctoring software.

The computer you use to take lab and lecture exams must have a video camera available. If your own computer does not have a video camera, then you should take exams in the library computer lab where there are video cameras for many stations. If you take exams with any approved accommodations, please let me know so I can work with you to adjust exam conditions.

If any assignment deadline or exam is missed without an instructor approved excuse, one/half credit for the missed assignment can be obtained by completing the assignment within one week following the deadline. After one week has passed beyond the deadline for an assignment, no credit will be able to be earned for that assignment or exam. The only exception is Lab Exam 3 and Lecture Exam 3, the comprehensive final exam, which must be taken by 10 PM MT during the day they are assigned during finals week..

All exams listed in the syllabus must be taken on the day indicated for full credit. The exams will be posted in the exam folder on the day indicated in the syllabus and must be completed by 10 PM MT of that day.

The College of Science deadline for dropping a class is Oct. 28, 2016. After that date, the College of Science will not approve any course withdrawals unless a student withdraws from all courses for medical or other serious reasons.

A grade of Incomplete is only used in extraordinary circumstances confined to a limited event such as a missed exam, project, or lab.  If the student has missed a significant amount of work (e.g. multiple assignments or tasks), a grade of Incomplete is not appropriate or warranted.

Self Testing Opportunities

A special effort has been made to modularize this online material with self-testing opportunities to provide you immediate feedback about your understanding of the material covered in the lecture portion of the course. The questions in these quizzes named "quizlets" will not count for a grade but are designed to give you an understanding of the types of questions that you will see on the scheduled lecture exams and will provide you with feedback to let you know your level of mastery of the material covered. And, because the quizlets are timed, taking the quizlets will also provide you experience in taking a timed exam. The quizlets will also show you if your computer set-up and Internet connection are adequate for the testing process in Blackboard. Use the quizlets as a way of determining if you may have a problem in taking online exams from your computer so that you can make arrangements to take the exams in the University computer labs or library labs. The Quizletz will not utilize the Respondus Lockdown browser.

Past course data indicates that students who do these quizlets more times get better grades than students who do the quizlets fewer times or none at all. The "quizlets" are a type of formative assessment and can be used as an assessment FOR learning. Your goal is to do the Quizlets many times in order to consistently get high scores in the time provided. If you have trouble completing the Quizlets in the time provided and do not get high scores, that may be an indication that you do not have the basic terms memorized and the concepts understood well enough. If you find difficulty in finishing quizlets in the time provided and are not getting high scores, then get in touch with me for advice.

Comprehensive Final Lecture Exam

The final lecture exam will be comprehensive which means it will cover all lecture material covered in the course. There will be questions to answer from the new material not yet covered in previous exams but expect questions also from material that was already covered as well. For the final exam in lecture, expect about 75 questions to come from the new material which was not covered for Lecture Exams 1 and 2 and around 125 questions chosen from material already covered and included on Lecture Exams 1 and 2. Lecture Exam 1 will contain 150 questions, Lecture Exam 2 will have 150 questions and the Final Exam will contain 200 questions.

Lecture Schedule

August 22 - 23 Introduction and Chapter 1
August 24 - 27 - Chapters 2, 4 & 5
August 28 - Sept. 4 - Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10
Sept. 5 - 11 - Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10
Sept. 12 - Lecture Exam 1 (15%)
Sept. 13 - 17 - Chapter 11
Sept.18 - 22 - Chapter 12
Sept. 23 - 30 - Chapters 19 & 21
Oct. 1 - 9 - Chapters 16 & 17  
Oct. 10 - 16 - Chapter 18    
Oct. 17 - 23 - Review Chapters 11, 12, 19 & 21, 16 & 17, 18 for Lecture Exam 2    
Oct. 24 - Lecture Exam 2 (17% All material from last lecture exam)  
Oct. 25 - 31 - Chapter 20
Nov. 1 - 23 - Chapters 23 & 22
Nov. 24 - 27 - Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 28 - Dec. 7 - Review all chapters covered in course for final exam.
Dec. 8 - Comprehensive Final Exam - all chapters covered for semester - (18% of final grade)

Laboratory Schedule

August 22 - 25 - Lab. 1, Cells & Cell Structure
August 26 - 28 - Lab. 2, Epithelial Tissues
August 29 - Sept. 9 - Lab. 3, Connective Tissues
Sept. 10 - 16 - Finish Lab. 3
Sept. 17 - 20 - Review for Lab Exam 1
Sept. 21- Lab Exam 1 (Labs 1, 2, 3 - 15% of final grade)
Sept. 22 - 30 - Lab. 4 & 5, Blood & Muscle Tissue
Oct. 1 - 9 - Lab. 6, Nervous Tissue
Oct. 10 - 16 - Lab. 7, Respiratory System
Oct. 17 - 23 - Lab. 8, Endocrine System
Oct. 24 - 25 -Review Labs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for lab exam 2
Oct. 26 - Lab. Exam 2 (Labs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - 16% of final grade)
Oct. 27 - Nov. 13 - Lab. 9 , Digestive System

Nov. 14 - 30 - Lab. 10 , Urogenital System (male and female)
Dec. 1 - 5 - Review Labs 9 and 10 for Lab. Exam 3
Dec. 6 - Lab. Exam 3 (Labs 9, 10, 11 - 17% of final grade)

Students With Disabilities

As per Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, if a student needs an accommodation then the Office of Disabled Student Services located at UTEP need to be contacted. If you have a condition, which may affect your ability to perform successfully in this course, you are encouraged to discuss this in confidence with the instructor and/or the director of the Disabled Student Services. You may call 915-747-5148 for general information about the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the rights that you have as a UTEP student with a disability. Individuals with disabilities have the right to equal access and opportunity. It is the student's responsibility to contact the instructor and The Disabled Student Services Office at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Scholastic Integrity

The University of Texas at El Paso prides itself on its standards of academic excellence. In all matters of intellectual pursuit, UTEP faculty and students must strive to achieve excellence based on the quality of work produced by the individual. In the classroom and in all other academic activities, students are expected to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Any form of scholastic dishonesty is an affront to the pursuit of knowledge and jeopardizes the quality of the degree awarded to all graduates of UTEP. It is imperative, therefore, that the members of this academic community understand the regulations pertaining to academic integrity and that all faculty insist on adherence to these standards.

Any student who commits an act of scholastic dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts. Proven violations of the detailed regulations, as printed in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP), and available in the Office of the Dean of Students, and the homepage of The Dean of Students (DOS) at, may result in sanctions ranging from disciplinary probation, to failing grade on the work in question, to a failing grade in the course, to suspension or dismissal, among others.

Plagiarism Software Notice

This course may utilize third party software that has the ability to automatically detect plagiarism on documents submitted for grading.

Effective Electronic Communication

Keep your messages concise and clearly written. Most ideas can be stated in a couple of paragraphs, although sometimes a longer message may be needed to develop your thoughts adequately. Keep in mind that people are more apt to read and digest shorter messages than long ones.

1.    Be respectful of other's ideas, opinions, and beliefs. It's fine to disagree with someone, but please respect their right to think differently.

2.    Avoid posting simple two or three word statements such as "I agree" or "Good point". If you think someone has made an especially strong point and you want to say so, and then explain why by adding a few sentences describing your response or adding to the original point.

A message that demonstrates substance contributes to the understanding and application of ideas by doing one or more of the following:

1.    Reflection about meaning: Describe thoughtfully what something means or new insights it provides, or raise a question as a seed for clarification or further discussion.

2.    Analysis: Discusses relevant themes, concepts, main ideas, components, or relationships among ideas. Or, identifies hidden assumptions or fallacies in reasoning.

3.    Elaboration: Builds on ideas of others or ideas found in the readings by adding details, examples, a different viewpoint, or other relevant information.

4.    Application: Provides examples of how principles or concepts can be applied to actual classroom situations, or discuss the implications of theory for practice.

5.    Synthesis: Integrate multiple views to provide a summary, a new perspective, or a creative refashioning of ideas.

6.    Evaluation: Assesses the accuracy, reasonableness, or quality of ideas.

Effective Electronic Communication

At this point in the course, it is also important to share a word of caution, so we can become wiser about interpersonal distance learning communications. When communicating electronically, many of the feelings or impressions that are transmitted via body language in face-to-face communications, are lost. Consequently, interpreting emotions and innuendos is much more difficult. Only what is written, or drawn, carries the message. Often, excitement can be misinterpreted as anger or insult. It is important that we all keep this in mind as we communicate. Words in print may seem harmless, but they could emotionally injure us when working at a distance. Hence, it is vitally important that we develop some ground rules for working at a distance. Avoid the use of caps in your electronic messages, as wording in caps comes across as shouting. More information on NETIQUETTE, the etiquette of Internet communication, can be found at

Technical Requirements

Please review the Getting Started section of the course that can be found at

Course Technical Support

If you are on campus, call 747-4357. If you are in the El Paso area, call 915-747-5257. ONLY students enrolled in 100% online courses will have access to 24x7 technical support. The contact information is provided below. Please do not use/share this information for courses that are not fully online in Blackboard. UTEP partners with a vendor to provide 24/7 help desk and technical support to faculty and students. The 24/7 Help Desk can help with technical problems and can provide instructions on use of technology. You may call their toll free number 1-877-382-0491.

Time Management

The rule of thumb for time planning for a course is approximately three (3) hours for every credit hour taken. This is a standard figure recommended across the board by American universities. For a 3 credit course, course you should expect to spend:

3 hours of class time + 9 hours of study and prep time = 12 hours per week.

Copyright Notice

Many of the materials that are posted within this course are protected by copyright law. These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and only for the purpose of this course. They may not be further retained or disseminated.

Course Schedule Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes in the syllabus/course as deemed necessary.  Students will be given plenty of notice of any and all changes.