Syllabus & Schedule

BIOL F195 F02 – Introduction to Alaska’s Flora

Title: Introduction to Alaska’s Flora

Number: BIOL F195 F02

Credits: 1

Location: Online, UAF Blackboard

Meeting time: None.

Instructor: Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond

Office Location: 1962 Yukon Drive, UA Museum of the North, lower level, Fairbanks, AK 99775

Office hours: See Instructors and Office Hours Area on class blackboard site


Course goals:

The objective of this class is to introduce you to several aspects of Alaska’s unique flora. Class modules and hands-on exercises are designed to familiarize you with the identification, description, and morphology of our local flora. In addition, you will get familiar with dissection of flowers, using technical keys, seeing scientific (Latinized) names, and learn vocabulary that comes with describing and talking about plants, and curate images that you will take of the plants in your immediate surrounding.

Student learning outcomes:

On completion of this class, you will be able to identify and describe several common plant families and species that are native and common to Interior Alaska and be more comfortable with floral dissection and taking photographs of flowering plants that will aid in their identification and classification.

Required text:

None. All materials will be made available through Blackboard and the dedicated class website.

Download an expanded course manual for this course which contains notes and diagrams detailing vascular plant morphology as well as the syllabus and schedule (as a PDF, 26MB).

Laboratory materials:

  1. A laboratory kit that includes: plant dissecting kit (a sharp knife or razor blade will work too), plant press (instructions for making one are included in the course)
  2. A smart phone or tablet, that is capable of taking photographs and can be fitted with a macrolens to take magnified images of flowers and dissections
  3. A macrolense for a smart phone or tablet. A few options to purchase a macrolens are listed here (with hyperlinks) under A-E:  macrolens for a smartphone A, B, C, D, E
  4. Software: Google docs, Google presentations; iNaturalist, Thinglink.

Technical requirements for the course:

Students must have regular access to a computer and the Internet to access online materials in Blackboard. Students will be expected to download course material as well as upload assignments.

Please test your computer early that it will support the required software.

Instructional method:

The course materials are delivered entirely online. E-mail Communication will be extremely important for us. When I see your name on the class enrollment list in Blackboard, I will send you an e-mail at your e-mail address provided in Blackboard. It is very important that, for the duration of the class, you check for and receive all e-mail sent to your email address provided in Blackboard. I will only be using your official e-mail address for this class.

If you have a preferred e-mail address other than your official UA e-mail, it is your responsibility to put a forward on it. See UAF OIT’s instructions on how to configure this.

Please put “BIOL195’ in the subject line in all your e-mail messages to me.      

If you forget your UA username, password, or both please begin the recovery process by going to

Class Schedule:

To get started, watch welcome video on course website

Module 1 (week 1 ~ 4-5 hours)

  • Introduction and overview of class (review syllabus, set up iNaturalist, get familiar with class website)
  • The Plant family tree (watch video), ,
  • How Plants get Named (watch video)
  • Options for home microscopy (watch video)
  • General plant morphology needed for describing and identifying plants — watch learning glass videos of general plant morphology lectures (vegetative: 1) roots & stem, 2) leaves I, II, III, and reproductive morphology: 3) flowers I, II, III, and 4) fruits I, II, III, IV, V).


Self-graded vocabulary quiz – Plant Morphology I. You may take the quiz as many times as you want to receive the final score.


  1. Students introduce themselves on the class website. Find instructions on the course website.
  2. iNaturalist (set up account, download app, and make 5 observations)

Module 2 (week 2 ~ 4-5 hours)


  1. Self-graded vocabulary quiz — Plant Morphology II. You may take the quiz as many times as you want to receive the final score.
  2. Identification using dichotomous keys (violet and spruce)


  1. Create your own dichotomous key — Using the provided plant images construct a dichotomous key. Submit your key.
  2. iNaturalist: Make 5 observations
  3. Making plant voucher specimens using a plant press

Module 3 (week 3 ~ 4-5 hours)


Self-graded vocabulary quiz — Plant Morphology III. You may take the quiz as many times as you want to receive the final score.


  1. iNaturalist: Make 5 observations
  2. Peer dichotomous key — Select one of the keys from the posts of your classmates and leave comment on how well the key work.
  3. Plant bingo — fill out your bingo sheet with plants from your surroundings.

Module 4 (week 4 ~ 4-5 hours)


  • Self-graded vocabulary quiz — Plant Morphology IV. You may take the quiz as many times as you want to receive the final score.


  • 1) iNaturalist: Make 5 observations
  • 2) Make dissections of at least four different plant families. Document your work with images (select at least 3 vegetative and 3 reproductive characters):
  • 1) Habitat,
  • 2) close-up of leaves (a single leaf, leaf upper and/or lower surface),
  • 3) overview of the inflorescence,
  • 4) flowers,
  • 5) fruits.
  • Also include images of your dissections to show
    • 6) how many petals,
    • 7) how many sepals, connation?, adnation?,
    • 8) how many stamens,
    • 9) dehiscence?,
    • 10) carpels, how many?,
    • 11) placentation?,
    • 12) number of seeds?

Curate and annotate your plant images in Thinglink

Submit your work on the class website.  Be sure and select the “Dissections’ category when creating your post.


Grades will be determined according to the following measures


  Due Date % of total grade
Weekly Activities


Vocabulary quiz 1

Vocabulary quiz 2

Vocabulary quiz 3

Vocabulary quiz 4

06/29/2020, 07/06/2020, 07/13/2020, 07/20/2020 20%
Assignments/ Participation Student intro post,

iNaturalist observations


Create your own dichotomous key

iNaturalist observations

Make plant voucher specimens


iNaturalist observations

Peer dichotomous keys

Plant Bingo


iNaturalist observations

Dissection of specimens














Grades will be assigned as A 90-100 %, B 80-89 %, C 70-79 %, D 60-69 %, F 59 % or below.

Support Services

Go to the Student Handbook ( for things like:

academic advising, tutoring, library and academic support, disability services, computing and technology, veteran and military support, academic complaint and appeals, late withdrawals, “classroom’ behavior expectations and more.

UAF has many services to help students. Do not feel bad about seeking help in your writing and presentations. Everything that I write (even this syllabus, believe it or not) is HEAVILY edited by at least two to five people before I present it to a  journal, other botanists, or members of the public. I encourage you to seek out help from the writing and computer services centers on campus.

Incomplete Grade Policy

Your instructor follows the University of Alaska Fairbanks Incomplete GradePolicy: “The letter “I’ (Incomplete) is a temporary grade used to indicate that the student has satisfactorily completed (C or better) the majority of work in a course but for personal reasons beyond the student’s control, such as sickness, has not been able to complete the course during the regular semester. Negligence or indifference are not acceptable reasons for an “I’ grade.’


Expectation of student effort

Students should expect to spend 10-12 hours per week on this class. Students are expected to complete the weekly assignments by their due dates. If circumstances arise that cause you to need extra time on any assignment(s), email your instructor for guidance. Extensions of due dates may be granted, but your instructor expects to be informed in advance if you are not able to submit your assignment on time. (Emergency situations will be dealt with as needed.) Students are expected to maintain a working backup plan to be implemented in the event of a computer malfunction or an interruption of their normal Internet service during the course.

Student protections statement

UAF embraces and grows a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion, and caring. Students at this university are protected against sexual harassment and discrimination (Title IX). Faculty members are designated as responsible employees which means they are required to report sexual misconduct. Graduate teaching assistants do not share the same reporting obligations. For more information on your rights as a student and the resources available to you to resolve problems, please go to the following site:

We will work with the Office of Disability Service to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities. Contact information:

Phone: 907.474.5655 or TTY: 907.474.1827 or Fax: 907.474.5688

Disabilities Services

If you have a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), UAF ensures that students have equal rights, access to course materials and campus facilities, and academic opportunities as other non-disabled students. UAF’s Disability Services is set up to “ensure equal access to academic opportunities’ ( I will work with any disabled student and Disability Services to ensure these rights are upheld throughout this course. UAF’s Disability Services are located in the Health and Safety Services Building and the Program Coordinator can be can be reached at 474-7043.

UAF eCampus Student Services

Helps students with registration and course schedules, provides information about lessons and student records, assists with the examination process, and answers general questions. Our Academic Advisor can help students communicate with instructors, locate helpful resources, and maximize their distance learning experience.   Contact the UAF eCampus Student Services staff at 907.455.2060 or toll free 1.800.277.8060 or contact staff directly with our directory listing.

UAF Help Desk

Go to to see about current network outages and technology news.

For technical questions, contact the Help Desk at:

Tutorial and academic support

Students who have difficulties with oral presentations, mathematics and/or writing are strongly encouraged to get help from:

Notice of nondiscrimination

UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: