Evolution for Educators: Week 1 Summary

The first week of classes is officially over with.  There were several video lectures and there were a few essays to be read.  At the end of the week, there was a practice quiz, followed by a real quiz.  Because I’m on the signature track, I also had to provide a photo of myself sitting on the couch doing the quiz (using my webcam attached to the computer at the time of submission of the quiz).  Did I get enough prepositions into that sentence?!

The last lecture was about pedagogy–specifically with an example that seems simplistic but wasn’t as easy as it appeared.  I might even use this very simple example in class.  It reinforces the importance of language and the understanding that terminology in science is sometimes misleading, as usage differs from everyday lingo.  It also reinforces the difference between “survive” and “adapt.”  Animals will try to survive.  They can change their behavior, spend more time hunting, find warmer environments, etc.  However, they cannot “try to adapt”, as adaptation (in an evolutionary sense) requires modification of traits that confers a benefit in survival or reproductive success.  One cannot change one’s heritable traits (leaving aside epigenetics for the moment).

I also spent some time going through some of the additional resources provided during the course.  I found these to be very helpful, even if I lacked the energy and desire to explore them all.  I find myself wondering if we can still access the course materials after the course ends.

I spent significantly less time on this course than I thought I would have to.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  However, overall, it was a good week.

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