|"What a piece of work is man!"
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
As to what you really want to know, yes, this is a challenging course. For many students, if not for most, this course is taken toward fulfillment of the science requirement. Although arguably it is not as difficult as chemistry or physics, it does require substantial study as there are a great deal of data to be mastered before we can begin play with the theories and underlying concepts. Having said that, no matter what your past experience with science, every student is capable of doing well in this class. So, do not be concerned if you are biologically deprived or biophobic, or if at the mere mention of the word science or a bit of math you break out in a cold sweat. If you like to be challenged, great, this course will do that, but if you need assistance along the way, the TAs and I are here to help.
This course satisfies the Columbia College and the School of General Studies science requirement. You may take EEEB UN1011, The Behavioral Biology of the Living Primates, before taking Human Origins & Evolution but most students who are interested in taking both courses find that it makes more sense to take the latter first.
Exams: There will be a midterm exam most
probably consisting of short answers and problems sets,
which is worth 1/3 of the term grade. The final exam
will likely consist of short answers and essays and it
is worth 2/3 of the term grade. The final is synthetic,
[Please note that the specifics of the exam format may change in any given year.]
Notation is made of students who attend at least 9 of the 11 weekly sessions. Should a term grade be borderline, i.e., fall between two grades, the aforementioned notation will be used to swing the grade upward. Without this notation, there is nothing to swing that grade upward and students justifiably earn the baseline (lower) grade.
This site has been designed as a complement to
Courseworks. In addition to providing an overview of the
subject matter of the course, it offers students the
opportunity to explore some of the topics in greater
depth. It also affords those who are visual learners a
variety of experiences to enhance their understanding of
the material. Students can read sections of Darwin's
journal while on the Beagle, view animations of
chromosome replication, watch the movement of tectonic
plates over the last 750 millions years, analyze
contrasts between skulls and find movie recommendations
relevant to the topic.
Students who register for the course will have access to Courseworks. This system will be used for basic course information including the syllabus, library links to all supplemental articles, optional practice problems sets and answer keys, study tips and miscellaneous course news.
A great debt is owed to Raymond Cha of the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning who created the shell and was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge during the construction of this site. My ongoing appreciation is also extended to the entire staff of the CNMTL, Romeo Giron and Jonathan Hall in the early years of this site and to Michael Cennamo and now the CTL team of Jessica Brodsky and Alexander Flatgard in particular, as the site is updated and expanded, who continue to offer assistance in the most gracious way, for this and related projects.