Biological Anthropology/CourseUse

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This course was developed by Michelle Field and Tori Saneda of Cascadia Community College in Bothell, WA.

How this course is intended to be used:

This course is set up to be used as either fully online, face-to-face (f2f), or hybrid. Note that the course outcomes and some assessments have variations available for each type of course (e.g., Public Awareness Campaign, Dancing Skeletons Essay & Discussion)


Due to the large amount of writing required for the course assessments, having an introductory writing course as a prerequisite is suggested.

Goals for the course:

This link explains the college, course, and unit outcomes (AKA objectives) in this course. It also includes week-by-week descriptions of what activities will be completed and how those activities (assessments, projects, readings, etc.) support the outcomes. Note that there are two forms of the outcomes available: one for f2f and hybrid classes and one for completely online classes.

Resources for this course:

OER resources: The majority of materials used in this course are OER and can be found via this page (under Course Modules).

Paid resources: Only one small textbook is suggested for the course, the ethnography Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa by Katharine Dettwyler (ISBN-10: 088133748X). It's approximately $13.00 new and can be found for approximately $5.00 used. It's used for the Unit 3 assessment, Dancing Skeletons Essay & Discussion. We think that it's an integral part of the course, due to its focus on human biology and biocultural/environmental interactions. It also provides an excellent portrayal of an anthropologist's experience in the field. If you require additional or alternate textbooks, we have put together a list of texts available for around $30.

References (for images and other works cited):

All images depicted in the course module readings on the wiki are OER. Source and permissions for each image can be found by clicking on the image.

When applicable, a Works Cited is listed at the end of each page in the course module readings. 

Explanation of approach:

As you peruse the reading material in the course module pages you might find that they contain less detail than what you would see in a "normal" textbook. This is intentional. One thing we find incredible about higher education is that the student often reads the textbook only to go into class and have the professor lecture for two hours on the exact same material. Because of this repetition of the material, students often become exasperated and either stop reading the material or stop paying attention in class. We've also found that students in the introductory anthropology courses frequently struggle with picking out the basic concepts from among the myriad of material from the textbook. We think that students in introductory anthropology courses such as this one, most of whom are not going to be anthropology majors, should read the basic information outside of class. This allows the instructor to focus on providing more explanatory details and help students work through critical thinking about the material in class. Therefore, the readings in the course modules have the basic information. Through in-class activities, discussions, and homework assignments, the job of the instructor is to help students move deeper into and synthesize the material.