Biology 448B, Section 201
Fundamentals of Tropical Disease
Offered January 2008

Location and time: Swing Space, Room 107, Mondays 6:00-8:30pm

Learning objectives: To take a multidisciplinary approach to the study of tropical disease and medicine. The biological factors of select diseases (mechanisms of host infection, spread and consequences) will be studied, along with an in-depth analysis of the issues that contribute to the maintenance of diseases in tropical areas. These issues include but will not be limited to third country aid, education, the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry, preventive techniques, economic factors, food and water contamination and shortages, medical practices, climate change, and sanitation.

Pre-Requisites:          Biology 200 (Cell Biology I: Structural Basis) or equivalent.

Coordinator:             Ms. Goldis Chami
                           (If course related)
                           (If course related and urgent)

Faculty Sponsor:      Dr. Patricia Schulte
                                    Office: Biological Sciences Rm. 3480

The course website will be used primarily as a means of distributing information about classes, readings, and other seminar-related information. It will also be used as a tool to allow students to communicate and interact outside of class, through a class weblog. A website demonstration will be done the first week of classes.

Coordinator’s role: The coordinator’s primarily role is to develop the basic structure of the seminar, which will be refined through student input on the first day of class and throughout the term. She will also be the liaison for guest speakers, and responsible for confirming their attendance. The facilitator will also be responsible for administrative tasks related to the course: ensuring that course readings are available for purchase or download, providing any technology related for class presentations, and liaising with the Biology Department prior to the beginning of the course. Finally, the facilitator will be responsible for class communications, which will be done through email and through the class website and weblog.

Structure: The course content will be broken up into roughly two parts. The first part, which will be taught pre-midterm, will cover the biological mechanisms of infection of tropical disease, resulting symptoms in the host, treatment, and follow-up care. The second part of the course, which will be covered post-midterm, will look at tropical disease and its impact on communities around the world, and the factors that contribute to the maintenance and continued spread of these diseases.

Assessment and marking: Final grades will be derived through objective peer evaluation of assignments, reading completion and in-class participation, as well as through coordinator and faculty sponsor evaluation of a midterm and term paper. Marking rubrics for peer evaluation will be refined by student input over the course of the semester.


17% Participation in class discussions (5%), and facilitation of two classes (worth 7% and 5% respectively).Class facilitation based on peer and coordinator evaluations.Participation based on peer and coordinator evaluations.
Mini-quizzes 8% Small quizzes given based on required reading material for each class. Marked by the coordinator.
Midterm 30% Based on the first half of the course content, and will be comprised of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Based partly on questions submitted by students in the class.Marked by the coordinator.
Presentation 20% A group mark, based on quality of research, visuals, presentation style and arguments. Marked through peer evaluation (50%) and by the faculty sponsor (50%)
Final Paper 25% 7-10 pages, double spaced, including figures. Marked by peer evaluation, with a final mark given by faculty sponsor. Marking rubric to follow.Grade on the paper is automatically dropped 10% if draft not handed in on time.

Student Directed Seminars:

This section has been inserted into the course syllabus at the request of the advisory committee that oversees the program for Student Directed Seminars.

The program of Student Directed Seminars is intended to provide senior undergraduate students with added opportunities to learn in small, collaborative, group-oriented experiences. It is also the program’s goal to ensure participants, as members of a self-directed group, have a high degree of control over their own learning experience. The UBC program is modeled on an established student-directed seminar program at the University of California at Berkeley.

The program works as follows. A student (or group of students) in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study, proposes a course not currently offered at UBC. Proposals go to an Advisory Committee for review and if the proposal looks feasible, the committee encourages further development. The student proceeds to develop a course outline under the guidance of their faculty sponsor (or in some cases, multiple faculty sponsors). Student coordinators also have the benefit of a preparation workshop conducted by the UBC Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth.  The Student Directed Seminar Advisory Committee considers course outlines for final approval. If approved, the student-initiated course is advertised to the general student body. All upper-level students are eligible to participate, but applicants are subject to a selection process. Normally the minimum enrollment for each class is eight, the maximum fifteen.

The Student Coordinator is not an instructor. The coordinator’s role is that of a facilitator. S/he is responsible for organizing the learning resources, such as guest lectures, reading materials, and films to be used in the class.  The Student Coordinator also sets the parameters of course content, structure, and evaluation procedures in conjunction with a Faculty Sponsor. The participants have an important role in refining the details of all of these elements during the first classes of the term. 

The entire class is responsible to one another for ensuring that the learning experience has a quality and richness that benefits everyone.  Ultimately the faculty sponsor is responsible for the grades that are submitted for this course.

This course is subject to the normal rules and regulations, as appropriate, which apply to all UBC courses. More details are available at the following URL:

Please contact Margot Bell, , phone: 822-9818 or Tlell Elviss, , phone: 822-0136 if you have any questions.   

Revised November 2006

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