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Bio 10!

Welcome to your liquid syllabus!

This site is provided as a resource to prepare you for a successful start to our fully online asynchronous course. It's not intended to be a comprehensive syllabus – you'll find that hyperlinked below. These are just the highlights.

Bio 10 - Fall 2021 - September 30 - December 10, 2021
13 Week Course with Instructor Mary Poffenroth (She/Her)

An Asynchronous, No Zoom Online Course

Contact <email address here>

Watch a greeting from Ins. Poffenroth

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“There is always light. If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.”

Amanda Gorman, Author of The Hill We Climb

What You Need to Know

How Our Course Operates

We will have weekly video updates posted to your announcements in Canvas, which are part of the required weekly work of the course. Biology 10 at Foothill College  is a 100% online course and is not self-paced (i.e. you will have weekly deadlines).

Our course is asynchronous, meaning that we do not have any in real time meetings and there are no zoom sessions to attend for lecture. You will not see the course appear in your Canvas page until the official first day of class.

​Bio 10 will keep you engaged each and every week with readings, videos, discussions, and activities. Please note there are no late assignments or makeup work allowed (since you always have at least a week to submit anytime), so it is important you get the assignments submitted before their weekly deadlines.

How to Access Canvas

  • We will be using Canvas as our learning management system.


  • Since Canvas has only been recently adopted by Foothill College you may not be familiar with this system. If you are new to using Canvas please take some time before the class begins to familiarize yourself here:  - once you are familiar with Canvas please make sure you can sign in.

  • You will not see our course until the first official day of classes, Monday September 23, 2021


What to Know About Lab

There is a lab portion and a separate lecture portion. Each has a different instructor, but both have their homebase in the same Canvas course shell. I, Mary Poffenroth, am your lecture instructor. You will have a separate faculty member as your lab instructor. All future lab information, teachings, and updates will come directly from the lab instructor, while I will always communicate only on lecture.

Week 1 Path to Success

  1. Sign into Canvas on our first day September 20, 2021 at 

  2. Review our full syllabus 

  3. Complete our welcome module, Module 0, no later than Friday September 24, 2021 which will include: 

    • Welcome discussion thread​

    • Plagiarism activity 

    • Bio 10 starter pack concept check 

Required Materials

Next, read our Syllabus HERE This is the contract between you and I as we make our way through the quarter together. I will do everything in my power to make you successful, but it is you who must put in the hard work and focus. I love online learning and have been teaching online courses since 2008. It has many wonderful perks, like not having to park on campus and watching lectures in your pajamas! However, it has some pitfalls, including the need for you to be self-sufficient and keep active in the course. Time management and organizational skills are essential for the online student.

  • You do not need to buy any materials. My courses are free of material costs to you, therefore there is nothing you need to purchase - just log in on our first day of class and we will go from there.


  • Everything you need will be provided to you in Canvas with no additional fees, charges, or purchases required.



  1. Email or Canvas message 

  2. I preferred to be addressed as Instructor Poffenroth and use She/Her pronouns 

  3. I respond to email Monday through Friday, except holidays

  4. Expect a response within 24 hours Monday through Friday and no later than 48 hours. 

  5. More questions? Check out our Q&A Discussion group in Canvas HERE

More... About Me

Ins. Mary Poffenroth, MSc. 

It’s been over 20 years since I first began my science career at NASA, spending the last 14 years as STEM faculty. With innovation and engagement my top priorities, I’ve been able to bring science out of the academy and into the hands of people across the world ready to use evidence based information to transform their lives through keynote talks and immersive workshops. I’ve done public talks on such stages as TEDx London, Inbound, and SXSW and my work has been featured in legacy media outlets such as Time magazine, Forbes, Science, Entrepreneur, and National Geographic.


I have personally taught nearly 20,000 adults both in person and online since 2007 and am the author of Write Present Create: Science Communication for Undergraduates. Some of my proudest accomplishments include being a first generation college student that would go on to become a Salzburg Global Fellow, being able to graduate from Imperial College London to round out my three masters degrees (biology, psychology, science communications).


In 2021, I will complete a lifelong dream of finishing my PhD in Psychology through my continued research on the intersection of emotional intelligence and innovation for personal/organizational growth.

Let's Review Our Pact

My Teaching

Bio 10, our class, is a community.


You are not in this alone. To be a successful community, each member must be regularly show up, be curious, be willing to lean into discomfort (ah! Scary!), have a positive attitude, and a willingness to help one another.


Each member of this community is different and those differences will strengthen your learning by yielding unique insights drawn from diverse experiences. We acknowledge the tremendous amount of expertise in our community and encourage you to support and help one another as challenges and questions are shared.


Moving outside of your comfort zone is incredibly difficult sometimes, but necessary to learn and grow. Keep in mind that when you feel struggle, it is a sign that you are learning. We will celebrate that feeling. When mistakes happen (and they will!), we will recognize them as learning moments that contribute to our growth.

I am so excited to work along side you! Welcome to Bio 10!


My advice for success

  • Sign into Canvas at least two days a week, one of those should be a Monday for our updates

  • Put deadlines in your planner/calendar

  • Use a speech to text tool, this can help you with your writing and reading of instructions. My favorite is Spechify and VoiceDream

  • Know you're not alone. Reach out sooner than later...we're all human here.

Support for You


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