Human Origins: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 161 – Fall 2023
Lecture and labs will be held remotely and asynchronously
New date ranges, 2023
Dr. Kelly Goldberg
Virtual Office Hours: Updated weekly online, sign up for an appointment at: calendly.com/kelly-goldberg
Course Website: goldberg.uofsccreate.org
*Note: please include “ANTH 161” in the subject line of any email communication
Academic Bulletin Description
An introduction to the science of biological anthropology, a subfield of anthropology that focuses on humanity and its origin from a biological perspective, employing laboratory components to complement and reinforce lecture materials.
Full Course Description
This four-credit course satisfies the University of South Carolina Core Scientific Literacy requirement for a Four Credit Lab Science Course. Carolina Core-related material is underlined in this syllabus to highlight the Carolina Core content. This course meets remotely and asynchronously. This means that you will be able to watch lectures and complete readings, etc. on your own time, however there will still be weekly deadlines.
The course is an introduction to the science of biological anthropology. Biological anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that focuses on humanity and its origin from a biological perspective. As a subfield of anthropology, biological anthropology recognizes the complex interaction of biology and culture in the evolutionary development of the human species. In this class we study the basic concepts and mechanisms of evolution and the evolutionary history of humankind from primate beginnings to anatomically and behaviorally modern Homo sapiens. The course is divided into 3 sections: 1) the science of anthropology and the models and mechanisms of human evolution; 2) modern human variation and adaptation, and our relationships to non-human primates; and 3) the origin, development, and dispersal of humans using evidence from the fossil record (paleoanthropology) and archaeological remains. Along the way, it illustrates the ways in which anthropologists learn about the past and how we can use our knowledge of the past to understand the present.
The most basic goal of this course is to become better informed as to how scientific anthropological approaches contribute to our understanding of what it means to be a member of the human species. We are a product of our past and present, and this course hopes to show how understanding our biological and cultural history (through the theory and method of the science of anthropology) can provide us with a better understanding of humanity.
There are no prerequisites for this course.
There is no assigned textbook for this course. There will be various readings posted to Blackboard that you will be required to read. All readings will be posted at least 1 week before they are due.
All learning outcomes in this online course are the same as the standard face to face version. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand basic anthropological and biological terminology as it relates to non-human primate studies, human origins and evolution, and the development of human culture
- Understand the models and mechanisms for human biological change
- Develop an understanding of the diversity of non-human primates and their behavior using direct observation of living primates
- Appreciate the importance of understanding non-human primate behavior for understanding ancestral humans
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of current issues and debates surrounding the origins of modern humans
- Develop and demonstrate a clear understanding of current scientific knowledge about the human lineage
- Understand the relationship between human biology and culture
- Understand the fact that race is a cultural construct, and not a biological characteristic
- Explore ethical issues surrounding the study of humans and non-human primates from a biological perspective
- Employ technologies to identify and characterize the distinct patterns of human tool use versus carnivore predation
- Use biological anthropological methods and theories to identify, measure, and analyze primate and human variation in the past and present
- Develop and test hypotheses to interpret fossil and modern primate and hominid skeletal material.
Course Presentation and Requirements:
Class content will be presented through sets of two modules per week, each including lecture clips, films, readings, assignments, and virtual laboratory activities. There will be a variety of readings on Blackboard that supplement the lecture; these are required and will be included in examinations.
Please remember, this *accelerated* course is meant to convey the same amount of information as a full semester-length course. A typical 4-credit lab course in the fall or spring semester meets for 4 hours a week (including lecture and lab meetings), plus additional expectations of homework, reading, assignments, and studying (let’s say an additional 2-4 hours a week) resulting in a semester total of 90-120 hours. To that end, you should expect to do a significant amount of work daily in this class, to obtain the equivalent amount of material covered. Since this is a 6-week course, you should expect your workload to average 15-20 hours per week. I understand it will be a lot and urge you to keep on top of daily assignments and deadlines. If you find yourself falling behind, please communicate with me ASAP.
Online Module Setup
Class material for each day will be organized into a cohesive module, including all material media. As outlined below, each module will include pre-recorded lectures, readings/videos, labs, and short assignments. All modules will be available at least several days before they are due. You may complete them early if you would like but remember that all components of each module are due by midnight on the day the module is indicated.
Lectures: Lectures for each module will be broken up into several short, 10–20-minute segments. I highly recommend watching these in order, as they will build on one another. These will be pre-recorded in VoiceThread, and you will have the option of inserting any questions/comments you have on the material in time with the presentation. I will check these recordings daily to respond to questions.
Readings/Videos: These can be read/watched in any order, before or after lecture recordings. Material from Readings, Videos, and Lectures will all contribute to daily content comprehension questions.
Labs: Virtual laboratory assignments will be interactive and activity-based and should be able to be completed within 1.5 hours. Along with each lab document, I will post a brief instructional video that explains the activity and summarizes any pertinent vocabulary covered in that lab. Labs can be done independently or in groups. I will establish group rooms in Blackboard Collaborate for anyone who wishes to work on the labs collaboratively. While you may work together to discuss the process and answers, each person is expected to produce their own work (i.e., not just copy from one another).
Assignments: Some (not all) modules include assignments with various lengths. Each assignment will be explained in detail within the module. All assignments are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on the date indicated.
I will be communicating with you regarding grades and assignments. If you need to get in touch with me, the best method is via email. Generally, I will reply to emails within 24 hours, excepting weekends. You may also post questions pertaining to the course on the Blackboard Discussion Board. These questions will be answered within 24 hours.
Announcements will be posted to this course whenever necessary. If there is any other information, I think is important, I will send it to your email address you have in Blackboard. It is your responsibility to ensure that your email account works properly to receive email.
Below is how you check your email address in Blackboard:
· Access blackboard.sc.edu
· Click your name on the main Blackboard navigation panel on the left
· Review your email address. By default, Blackboard uses your university-issued email address
Your email address in Blackboard coincides with your preferred university email. If you are unsure of your preferred email, check your account (myaccount.sc.edu). For more information on setting your preferred university email, please see the How To Change Your Primary University Email Address Knowledge Base article.
For this course you must have access to the internet to view/hear lectures, access readings and videos, and submit assignments. No special software is required. I have included a tutorial video on Blackboard explaining how to participate in the VoiceThread lecture presentations.
The lecture presentations, links to articles, assignments, quizzes, and rubrics are located on Blackboard. To participate in learning activities and complete assignments, you will need:
· Access to a working computer that has a current operating system with updates installed, plus speakers or headphones to hear lecture presentations;
· Reliable Internet access and a USC email account;
· A current Internet browser that is compatible with Blackboard
· Microsoft Word as your word processing program; and
· Reliable data storage for your work, such as a USB drive or OneDrive cloud storage.
If your computer does not have Microsoft Word, Office 365 ProPlus package is available free of charge and allows you to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access on up to 5 PCs or Macs and Office apps on other mobile devices. Office 365 also includes unlimited cloud storage on OneDrive. To download Office 365 ProPlus, log into your student email through a web browser, choose Settings (top right corner), and select software. If you have further questions or need help with the software, please contact the Service Desk.
Minimal Technical Skills Needed
Minimal technical skills are needed in this course. Most course work will be completed and submitted in Blackboard. Therefore, you must have consistent and reliable access to a computer and the Internet. The minimal technical skills you have include the ability to:
· Organize and save electronic files;
· Use USC email and attached files;
· Check email and Blackboard daily;
· Download and upload documents;
· Locate information with a browser; and
· Use Blackboard.
If you have problems with your computer, technology, IT-related questions, support, including Blackboard, please contact the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) Service Desk at (803) 777-1800 or submit an online request through the Self Service Portal or visit the Carolina Tech Zone. The Service Desk is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time). If you are in the Columbia, SC area, the Thomas Cooper Library at USC has computers for you to use in case you encounter computer issues/problems. If you are not located in the Columbia, SC area, most regional campuses and public libraries have computers for public use.
Course Assignments and Grading
This class includes of a variety of means to evaluate student performance and mastery of the material.
There will be three scheduled exams, an optional final and 12 bi-weekly comprehension quizzes administered throughout the six-week course. These exams and quizzes will evaluate student comprehension of the key aspects of biological anthropology method and theory that have been explored in the prior weeks’ lectures, labs, and assignments, and will incorporate both written and visual components. The comprehension quizzes will be mostly short answer and fill in the blank questions, intended to encourage you to process all the course materials. Each student’s lowest comprehension quiz score will be dropped. There will be one exam at the end of every other week, and one cumulative final exam. The first three exams will be available from noon on Thursday through 11:59 PM on Sunday, and the final exam will be available from 9am to 9pm on Friday, June 18. You may take it any time during that window, however you will have to take it all in one sitting.
The lab component will include 10 labs, which consist of lab reports, genetic exercises, discussions of research methodology, primate anatomy, the study of modern and ancestral human skeletal anatomy, and virtual observation of primates. Lab grades will be based upon thorough and successful completion of lab assignments, participation via lab reflections, readings, and accuracy of responses. All labs are structured to be completed remotely and asynchronously and will be due by 11:59 PM every Sunday evening.
There will be several small homework assignments throughout the course. These will vary in form, but will be comprised of video questions, preparations for guest speakers, practice exercises, blog posts, etc. All homework assignments will be announced at least one week before they are due.
There will be two projects throughout the course.
Project 1: Students will prepare a dynamic lesson for high school students discussing the intersection of biological human variation and cultural concepts of race. Students will work on this project in small groups and will post their lessons to the Blackboard Discussion Board page to share with the class.
Project 2: Students will create a digital museum-type display, including a visual phylogeny of hominin ancestors, and an in-depth focus on a species of their choosing. This digital display may take the form of a website, zoom/VoiceThread presentation, Prezi, etc.
Late work policy: Due dates for all assignments are indicated within each module. LATE MATERIALS WILL RECEIVE A GRADE PENALTY; 10% deduction for anything submitted within 24 hours after the deadline, 50% deduction for anything submitted beyond one full day late. Given the shortened schedule of this course, work will not be accepted more than 5 days late.
Please plan accordingly and complete these assignments in advance of their deadlines to ensure any unanticipated circumstances do not result in a missed assignment. User error does not qualify you for any kind of makeup or retake opportunity. Be Careful: The clock on your computer may be different than the clock in Blackboard. Plan accordingly. I recommend that you submit your assignments, quizzes, and exams well before deadline whenever possible.
General Assignment Information
· Most coursework (assignments, quizzes, etc.) is secured in Blackboard with a username and password. Exams will be open-note, administered online through blackboard.
· All assignments are due by 11:59 pm (Eastern Daylight Time) on the day indicated on the course schedule.
· Complete rubrics for assignments will be provided in Blackboard
All written assignments are required to be submitted using Microsoft Word. There are no exceptions to this rule. Documents should be proofread to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes. All written assignments will be evaluated based on “quality” and not simply “quantity.” In addition, all written assignments should adhere to the following guidelines:
· Spacing: 1.5;
· Font: Anything that’s not silly, 12 point (size);
· Title of assignment centered on first page, followed by student name in next line;
· Documentation for all references and quotations using style guide of your major
· Accurate spelling and grammar.
· Must be saved as either .pdf or .doc (I CANNOT OPEN .PAGES FILES!!!)
Evaluation and Grading Scale
All grades will be posted on Blackboard. You are strongly encouraged to check your scores in Blackboard regularly. A final letter grade will be assigned based on percentages.
Grades will be computed based upon the following points
Exams 3 50 points each total 100 points
Final Exam (optional) 1 50 points total 50 points
Projects: 2 50 points total 100 points
Homeworks: 8* 5-10 points each total 50 points
Comprehensions Qs: 12** 10 points each total 120 points
Lab exercises 10 15 points each total 150 points
Total points possible: 570 points
*Depending on course development/speaker availability, etc. the total number of HW assignments may change. If this occurs, I will distribute an update syllabus closer to the end of the course.
**I will drop each student’s lowest Comprehension Quiz score
The guaranteed breakdown is as follows:
90% (513 points) or more = A
87% (496 points) or more = B+; 80% (456 points) or more = B
77% (439 points) or more = C+; 70% (399 points) or more = C
67% (382 points) or more = D+; 55% (313.5points) or more = D
Below 55% (313) points = F
Successful learners in an online course:
1. Do not procrastinate;
2. Are open to sharing professional experiences online;
3. Enhance online discussions;
4. Have good written communication skills;
5. Use proactive communication;
6. Are self-motivated and self-disciplined;
7. Have a commitment to learning;
8. Have critical thinking and decision-making skills;
9. Believe quality learning can take place in an online environment; and
10. Have good time management skills.
This course is being taught as an asynchronous course, meaning there are no specific sessions you need to sign in to, and therefore there will be no attendance noted. Your participation will be assessed through your completion of daily module activities and participation on discussion board forums.
Student Disability Resource Center (http://www.sa.sc.edu/sds/): The Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) empowers students to manage challenges and limitations imposed by disabilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact me to discuss the logistics of any accommodations needed to fulfill course requirements (within the first week of the semester). To receive reasonable accommodations from me, you must be registered with the Student Disability Resource Center (1705 College Street, Close-Hipp Suite 102, Columbia, SC 29208, 803-777-6142). Any student with a documented disability should contact the SDRC to make arrangements for appropriate accommodations.
Student Success Center
In partnership with USC faculty, the Student Success Center (SSC) offers a number of programs to assist you in better understanding your course material and to aid you on your path to success. SSC programs are facilitated by professional staff, graduate students, and trained undergraduate peer leaders who have previously excelled in their courses. Resources available to you in this course may include:
- Peer Tutoring: You can make a one-on-one appointment with a Peer Tutor (www.sc.edu/success). Drop-in Tutoring and Online Tutoring may also be available for this course. Visit their website for a full schedule of times, locations, and courses.
- Supplemental Instruction (SI): SI Leaders are assigned to specific sections of courses and hold three weekly study sessions. Sessions focus on the most difficult content being covered in class. The SI Session schedule is posted through the SSC website each week and will also be communicated in class by the SI Leader.
- Peer Writing: Improve your college-level writing skills by bringing writing assignments from any of your classes to a Peer Writing Tutor. Similar to Tutoring, you can visit the website to make an appointment, and to view the full schedule of available drop-in hours and locations.
- Success Consultations: In Success Consultations, SSC staff assist you in developing study skills, setting goals, and connecting to a variety of campus resources. Throughout the semester, I may communicate with the SSC via Success Connect, an online referral system, regarding your progress in the course. If contacted by the SSC, please schedule a Success Consultation. Success Connect referrals are not punitive and any information shared by me is confidential and subject to FERPA regulations.
SSC services are offered to all USC undergraduates at no additional cost. You are invited to call the Student Success Hotline at (803) 777-1000, visit the SSC website (www.sc.edu/success), or stop by the SSC in the Thomas Cooper Library on the Mezzanine Level to check schedules and make appointments.
Writing Center (http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/write/university-writing-center) This course has many of writing assignments. The University Writing Center is an important resource you should use! It’s open to help any USC student needing assistance with a writing project at any stage of development. The main Writing Center is in Byrnes 703.
University Library Resources
University Libraries Resources (sc.edu/libraries)
- University Libraries has access to books, articles, subject specific resources, citation help, and more. If you are not sure where to start, please Ask a Librarian! Assistance is available at sc.edu/libraries/ask.
- Remember that if you use anything that is not your own writing or media (quotes from books, articles, interviews, websites, movies – everything) you must cite the source in MLA (or other appropriate and approved) format.
Blackboard and Technology
Blackboard and Technology (https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/division_of_information_technology/end_user_servic es/available_technology_resources/) As a student in this course, you have access to support from the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) for Blackboard and computer issues. The service desk can be reached at 803- 777-1800.
Counseling Services The University offers counseling and crisis services as well as outreach services, self-help, and frequently asked questions.
Note on classroom courtesy
Most students who are taking this class have at least some interest in the subject matter. With any luck, students will leave the course with a greater appreciation of the way biological anthropology contributes to our knowledge of the human condition. Therefore, I expect all students to complete course work in a spirit of learning, openness, and curiosity. There may be assignments when you are asked to comment on a classmate’s work or posts; I expect that you will do so politely and courteously.
Policy on Academic Dishonesty
You are expected to practice the highest possible standards of academic integrity. Any deviation from this expectation will result in a minimum academic penalty of your failing the assignment and will result in additional disciplinary measures. This includes improper citation of sources, using another student’s work, and any other form of academic misrepresentation. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating of any sort will not be tolerated. Any projects, assignments, papers, etc. turned in are expected to be your work, and not the work of more than one person. If cheating is suspected, both the copier and the person from whom the answer was copied will be held responsible. Please review the USC policies and student resources at the USC Office of Academic Integrity http://www.housing.sc.edu/academicintegrity/default.html.
Incompletes will be granted only in accordance with University’s policy. A grade of ‘I’ (Incomplete) may be assigned if you are unable to complete some portion of the assigned course work because of an unanticipated illness, accident, work-related responsibility, family hardship or verified learning disability. An incomplete grade is not intended to give you additional time to complete course assignments or extra credit unless there is indication that the specified circumstances prevented you from completing course assignments on time.
Diversity and Inclusion
The University is committed to a campus environment that is inclusive, safe, and respectful for all persons, and one that fully embraces the Carolinian Creed. To that end, all course activities will be conducted in an atmosphere of friendly participation and interaction among colleagues, recognizing and appreciating the unique experiences, background, and point of view each student brings. You are always expected to apply the highest academic standards to this course and to treat others with dignity and respect.
Expectations of the Instructor
I am expected to facilitate learning, answer questions appropriately, be fair and objective in grading, provide timely and useful feedback on assignments and treat you as I would like to be treated. I will ensure every effort to engage in prompt and efficient communication and will respond to emails within 24 hours (excepting weekends and holidays).
Copyright/Fair Use Statement
I will cite and/or reference any materials that I use in this course that I do not create. You, as students, are expected to not distribute any of these materials, resources, quizzes, tests, homework assignments, etc. (whether graded or ungraded).
Professionalism will be expected at all times. Because the University classroom is a place designed for the free exchange of ideas, we must show respect for one another in all circumstances. We will show respect for one another by exhibiting patience and courtesy in our exchanges. Appropriate language and restraint from verbal attacks upon those whose perspectives differ from your own is a minimum requirement. Courtesy and kindness are the norm for those who participate in my class.
Our discussion board is a way for you to share your ideas and learning with your colleagues in this class. We do this as colleagues in learning, and the Discussion Board is meant to be a safe and respectful environment for us to conduct these discussions.
Some Netiquette Rules:
- Treat one another with respect. It will be expected that we will not attack one another personally for holding different opinions.
- Do not use all CAPITAL LETTERS in emails or discussion board postings. This is considered “shouting” and is seen as impolite or aggressive.
- Begin emails with a proper salutation (Examples: Dr. Name; Ms. Name; Hello Professor Name; Good afternoon Mr. Name). Starting an email without a salutation or a simple “Hey” is not appropriate.
- When sending an email, please include a detailed subject line. Additionally, make sure you reference the course number (ANTH 161) in the message and sign the mail with your name.
- Use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Text messaging language is not acceptable.
- Use good taste when communicating. Profanity should be avoided.
- Re-Read, think, and edit your message before you click “Send/Submit/Post.” Please remember when posting to be respectful and courteous to your colleagues and limit your posts to discussions of this course and its assignments.