BIOLOGY/EVANTH 431S: Human Embryology: Reproductive Biology in the 21st Century

Reader requirements:  Interest in issues of reproductive health and rights with background in medicine, global health, law, policy or ethics.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Profs. Kathleen Smith and Christine Wall

The development of the mammalian embryo. Emphasis on human embryology and reproductive technologies, the origin of major human teratologies, birth defects, including ethical and social issues such as assisted reproduction, cloning, embryo selection, and surrogacy. The evolution of developmental patterns, aspects of comparative vertebrate development, and the molecular mechanisms of development. This is a writing-intensive course.

Student Writing Assignment

  • 2 short position papers (5-6 pp)
  • 1 longer position paper (8-10pp)
  • Blog posts

White paper assignment prompt:

Writing a white paper


Student – Reader Interactions

Position Paper 1

  • Feb 19th: Send draft to Reader; arrange meeting for feedback
  • Final due Feb 28th

Position Paper 2

  • March 25th: Send draft to Reader; arrange meeting for feedback
  • Final due April 4th

(Optional) Position Paper 3

  • April 19th: Send draft to Reader; arrange meeting for feedback
  • Final due April

Readers are also welcome to comment on posts on the course blog at any point in the semester.

Link to full Syllabus:

EvAnthro 431 -2016 draft syallabus

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s notes:

***Topics will be hot button! Please refrain from pushing one’s own agendas—but push students to clarify their own thinking and how they articulate their positions.