I. Cells/Genetics

II. BodyInternal

III. BodyExternal

IV. Population/Environment



Your Compendium Reviews

[Word download of this document]

Astronomical compendia These devices, from 16th century Renaissance times, attempted to summarize everything that was known about the astronomy, including the exact location of bright starts, the sun and moon, planets and an exact calendar. 


***From Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary (


Pronunciation: k&m-'pen-dE-&m

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural -di·ums or com·pen·dia /-dE-&/

Etymology: Medieval Latin, from Latin, saving, shortcut, from compendere to weigh together, from com- + pendere to weigh


1 : a brief summary of a larger work or of a field of knowledge : ABSTRACT

2 a : a list of a number of items b : COLLECTION, COMPILATION


***From Wikipedia, the largest user-created online encyclopedia (

A compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. A compendium may summarize a larger work. In most cases the body of knowledge will concern some delimited field of human interest or endeavor (for example, hydrogeology), while a "universal" encyclopedia can be referred to as a compendium of all human knowledge.  The word compendium comes from the Latin word compendere, meaning "to weigh together".


***From Encyclopedia Britannica:

Two other developments mark the history of Jewish myth and legend during the Middle Ages. The first was a revival of the Hellenistic predilection for large-scale compendiums in which the history of the Jews was “integrated,” in legendary fashion, with that of the world in general and especially with Classical traditions.



What is the compendium review?

            For each major topic that we cover during the Human Biology course, I’ll be asking you to prepare a compendium review and post it to your own online web-log or “blog.”  As the above definitions and history of compendia suggest, this review is an integrated, detailed summary of what we have covered, presented in your own words, and organized in a way that makes sense to you.  The goal is for you to show me how you have assimilated and synthesized what we have learned into your own understanding, and made it part of your own worldview.  If you complete an effective or exemplary compendium review, you should then have no trouble easily answering the quiz questions for that topic.

            Each compendium review must be well organized.  It must have a clear outline or table of contents at the start.  Then, it must treat each sub-topic in detail, including information from all of the text and online material for that topic. It must all be written using your own words, but it can incorporate quotations and images from the course material or other sources that you encounter.  Think of it as a very detailed outline, or concept map, or flow chart, or organized sequential presentation of that topic.

            Each of the four course units has two major topics, meaning you will be doing a total of eight compendium reviews.  These compendiums, posted to your blog, will be the best representation of what, in total, you have learned throughout our experience with Human Biology.  This is the core of your work for the semester.  It is, to say the least, a very challenging and demanding assignment.  If you take on this challenge and apply yourself, the product will be your own online website, preserved for eternity (or as long as Google and the web exist), containing the sum total of what you have learned about Human Biology.  Along the way, I suspect you will find out a lot about how you learn, how you synthesize what you learn, and how you can show what you have learned to yourself and others.

            There is no one right way to do the compendium reviews.  However, I do provide detailed guidelines on what constitutes a Baseline review (C-level work), an Effective review (B-level work) and an Exemplary review (A-level work).  I also provide some suggestions for how you might begin to approach the reviews, at least the first one until you work out your own system.


How should I start doing my compendium review?

My suggestion is that, as you read and view all of the material for a particular section of the course, you constantly keep in mind the need to assemble your compendium review.  Here is one possible approach:


  1. As you read and view the material for a particular topic, start taking notes.  The course material for each topic will include the Welcome Video, my PowerPoint presentations, the listed text chapters, and the web links on the course website.  As you review these materials, you might take notes by hand, or you might do it in a word processing file.  Be sure to note down images or tables or diagrams that you find particularly helpful in understanding that topic.  You can copy grahics right off the internet (you can right-click on almost any online image and then copy and paste it into a word processing document or directly into your blog).  You might start trying to write down, or paraphrase, or define key elements and vocabulary as you encounter new words, ideas and concepts.

  2. Once you have viewed all the material and have your first rough notes, try to organize everything you have into an outline or a list of all the key points.  This will form the introductory Table of Contents or Outline for your complete compendium review.  Once you’ve created your own outline, go back to the course website, look at that topic page, and be sure you’ve covered all the sub-topics that are listed.   Try a concept map [link]

  3. Then begin to work on each sub-topic or key element that you have identified.  For each element, make a bulleted list, or define key terms.  Write a few paragraphs about each key concept.  Incorporate the important images, graphics and tables that you have found to be most illuminating.  Be sure you cite the source—web, text-book or other—for each section of your compendium review.  If you include a figure or image, be sure you include its original URL, or website address.  You can do this just like I did for the sources on the meaning of “compendium” above.

  4. Now go back to your original table of contents or outline and see if you have covered everything.  Then edit each section for understanding.  Be sure everything you wrote makes sense in a way that I, or someone else, will understand.  You may have to edit two or three times.  Be sure you read what you have written out loud, if possible to someone else, before you post your final draft.

  5. Once you are satisfied you have a good complete compendium review, post it to your blog.  If you have a particular grade target (“A” “B” or “C”), then read through the evaluation guidelines below to be sure you have met the requirements for that grade (Baseline, Effective, or Exemplary). 

  6. As you work on a topic, feel free to be creative in your organization.  Maybe you would rather organize everything according to a flow chart, or a concept map that links together all the major steps in a particular biological process.


Evaluation Guidelines for Each Compendium Review

Each compendium is worth 20 points total.  If you complete a compendium but it does not fulfill the baseline criteria, you will receive ten points, or less if it is a minimal effort. 





(C-level work, 14-15 points)


(B-level work; (16-17 points)


(A-level work; 18-20 points)


Table of Contents or Outline

Includes all major sub-topics

Includes all major sub-topics and shows relationship among them

Includes all major sub-topics and shows accurate and sophisticated understanding of relationship among them.

Information on sub-topics

Presented in a way that reflects text and/or other course materials.  Mostly complete.

Presented in-depth and in a way that synthesizes text and other course material.  Very compete.

Presented in a sophisticated way that synthesizes text, other course material and new material found by student.  Completeness is beyond text and course material.

Use of graphics

Some images or tables are included.

Most topics include an important image or table.  Meaning of graphic or table is explained and is clearly related and important to topic

Images and tables are clearly explained and their relationship to topic shows sophisticated understanding.


Source of some information is cited from text or course website material

Most topics include citations of text or other course material

Text and online course material citations are complete.  Other citations include student’s own further online investigation into topic.



For many of you, this may be a new kind of assignment and a new way of showing what you have learned.  Students often tell me that they later find the preparation of this kind of compendium invaluable in their other courses.  It is crucial to passing this course and it practically allows you to select your grade!  Please print out these instructions and keep them with you as you navigate the course.  If you apply yourself to the compendium reviews, then the rest of the course will probably be easy for you.  Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you have about this assignment.


The “do-it-by-hand” option:  I would not want your computer-use and digital editing skills to be an obstacle or barrier for doing this assignment.  If you would like to do it by hand, draw figures by hand, or print-out and cut-and-paste by hand, this is possible.  However, you will have to find a way to scan your final product and post it to your blog.  If you decide to try this, please be sure all of your handwriting is large enough and legible enough to be viewed in a scanned online document.  You might try a sample first and be sure it will work.







Please address course correspondence and questions to:


Biology Department                                                                                                                                 In Ecuador:

Yavapai College                                                                                                                              Casilla 10-01-699

1100 East Sheldon Street                                                                                                                    Ibarra-Ecuador

Prescott, AZ  86301                                                                                                                    Tel:  593-62-608-789

Office:  4-233A                                                                                                                                 Skype:  lmfrolich

Phone:  (928) 717-7628; (800)-922-6787

Frolich E-mail                                                               

© Larry Frolich 2007

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

                            --Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


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