Non-Majors Biology


biologyThis one-semester course will introduce you to the grand sweep of life on Earth and provide you with a basic understanding of the processes that shape and sustain it. You will learn about the ecological ties that bind organisms to one another and to their environment and explore the promising, perilous dance of humans and nature.

Topics include the science of biology, the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, cellular processes, cell division and the life cycle, principles of inheritance, evolution, the diversity of life, and ecology.

Description of Course Elements

This course is organized according to chapters, and each chapter includes the following elements:

  • Readings – This section includes learning objectives and textbook readings. Students read the assigned pages in the textbook prior to viewing the corresponding lesson. The lesson builds upon concepts presented in the book.
  • Lessons – Each chapter contains text-based lesson(s) that provide the “lecture” portion of this online course. The lessons will both summarize and complement the materials presented in the textbook, although some information presented in the lessons cannot be found in the textbook. Glossary terms are provided throughout each lesson and are highlighted in blue. To view the definition of the glossary term, click on the word.
  • Assignments – Most of the lessons include assignments designed to enhance students’ understanding of the course material. Some of these will help prepare students for follow-up assignments as well as assessments.
  • Discussion Questions – There is a discussion question for each chapter that will enable you to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic.
  • Virtual Urchin Project, Epel Lab, Stanford University – Four of the chapters within this course provide animations that will expand on the lessons within the specific chapter to give students a deeper understanding of the topic. Special thanks to Dr. David Epel and the staff at Epel Lab, Stanford University, for generously allowing NROC to distribute these materials.
  • Lab Resource – The instructor may require students to complete wet labs that would provide a hands-on opportunity to gain a better understanding of topics throughout this course. We provide a correlation guide that suggests labs for 17 of the 24 chapters.
  • Assessments – This section includes chapter exams, mid-term and final.

After completing this course, students should understand:

  • The scope and methods of biology
  • The internal organization of living organisms
  • The life cycle of cells
  • The flow of energy and matter through organisms and ecosystems
  • The evolution and diversity of life on Earth
  • The principles of ecology

Getting Started

Members may access the Non-Majors Biology content in two ways:

  • Non-Majors Biology may be installed in a member’s LMS.
  • Non-Majors Biology content is available through your institution’s customized website.


If you are interested in using Non-majors Biology in your LMS, you must contact the NROC Project Manager at your institution to arrange for LMS installation (per instructions below).

To link to content through your Institution’s HippoCampus website, ask your NROC Project Manager for the custom URL. If you are not sure who your NROC Project Manager is, you may email

LMS Administrators

The Non-Majors Biology course must be installed in your LMS by an LMS Administrator with sufficient privileges to set up the course. If you are the LMS Administrator, you will need to have a login to this website to gain access to the installation files. Check with your NROC Project Manager if you need access to the NROC Network.

Please Note: NO FILES WILL BE SENT TO YOU. You must download and install the course.

Please go to the Installation Tab to access the installation file for your LMS and follow the detailed directions provided.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Contributed courses were not developed by NROC, and we do not have control over the format of the content for installation in your LMS. These courses come in a zip file, with all media objects included. The course must be created manually, using our prototype as a guide; however, there is no IMSCC file. You also have the option to link to content on our servers.

NROC Non-Majors Biology Content Master

IconNROC course content masters contain multimedia lessons, MP3/MP4's (if available), and course prototypes. Instructor guides should be downloaded as a separate package and shared with instructors. ...

NROC Non-Majors Biology - Moodle v1.9 Backup

IconThis ready-to-install Moodle archive includes links to NROC media, student activities, and assessments. Member Contributed Resource: P. Lacey, Niles Township ...

NROC Non-Majors Biology Respondus Package

IconImport assessments using this Respondus package if that format is supported by your learning management system. ...

NROC Non-Majors Biology Assessments only, Moodle v1.9

IconAssessments for NROC Non-Majors Biology course. ...

System Requirements - All Courses

IconThis document describes the system requirements for NROC Courses. ...

    Instructor Resources

    Essential Instructor Resources

    NROC Non-Majors Biology Instructor Guide

    IconContains course outlines, assessment answer keys, and other useful teaching resources. ...

      Supplemental Instructor Resources

      While not necessary to use the course, these additional materials are available to supplement the course or provide more context.

      NROC Non-Majors Biology NOAA Lesson Plans

      IconThese lesson plans provide relevant, innovative activities correlated to the NROC NOAA collection of topics for Non-Majors Biology, AP Biology, and Environmental Science. Lesson Plans include a Title, Suggested Grade Levels, Learning Objectives, Assignment Details, Instructor Notes, Rubric, HippoCampus...

      NROC Non-Majors Biology Lesson Plans

      IconNew lesson plans for biology provide relevant, innovative activities correlated to NROC Non-Majors Biology course.  Lesson Plans include a Title, Suggested Grade Levels, Learning Objectives, Assignment Details, Instructor Notes, Rubric, HippoCampus Correlation, and Key Words. ...

      Links to NROC Content at HippoCampus (by Subject)

      IconNOTE: This secure content is for NROC Members only. Do not share outside of your member institution. This customizable file contains links to all learning objects at HippoCampus, organized by HippoCampus Subject page. To find items in each spreadsheet quickly, columns may be filtered or sorted by: Object...

      NROC Collections

      IconThis document contains a list of current content available from the NROC library as part of your membership. The document is updated whenever new collections are added to the library. ...

        Student Resources

        Student Resources

        NROC Non-Majors Biology Student Guide

        IconContains description of the course, course objectives, course elements, and course outline. ...