BIO 554: Genomic Perspectives on Human Evolution

Readers needed: With a background in genetics and molecular biology, preferably with knowledge of anthropology or medicine.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Greg Wray

Human evolutionary history as studied from the perspective of the genome. Nature of contemporary genomic data and how they are interpreted in the context of the fossil record, comparative anatomy, psychology, and cultural studies. Examination of both the origin of modern humans as a distinct species and subsequent migration across the world. Emphasis on language, behavior, and disease susceptibility as traits of particular evolutionary interest.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Working document for grant proposal to fund original research.
For whom? Experts working in anthropology, medicine, public health, human genetics/genomics.
Where would such writing typically be found? Grant proposal for research project.
Why would someone usually read it? Readers of grant proposals help federal and private agencies evaluate the merit and feasibility of research projects being considered for funding. Readers are selected based on their knowledge of the field, technical expertise, and expertise in project management.

See examples of reader bios for this course


Student – Reader Interactions

Here are the deadlines for students in the reader project:

by 8 Sep    Latest date to sign up for Reader project
by 5 Oct    Complete introductory contact with Reader
by 13 Oct  Send Reader your concept paragraph (same as due date for class)

by 1 Nov   Contact Reader with an update and any questions about writing your first draft
on 10 Nov   Send reader preliminary draft (same as due date for class)
by 17 Nov  Reader returns comments to you (latest date; earlier is better)
by 18 Nov  Discuss the first draft with Reader

on 25 Nov  Send second draft to Reader
by 7 Dec    Reader returns comments to you
by 8 Dec    Discuss the second draft with Reader
on 10 Dec  Final draft due (four days later than the rest of the class)

Link to full Syllabus:

BIOLOGY 554_Syllabus_F2014

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 response questions:

1. Is the intellectual motivation for the proposed research project clearly stated? Is the problem posed in a way that piques your interest?

2. Has the student come up with a sensible set of aims that address the motivating question? Have they proposed appropriate approaches to carrying out the project aims?

3. Does the student explain what they hope to have learned at the conclusion of the proposed research?

Quality Reader Feedback Example

BIO 554_model feedback