MSci Developmental Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
The Biology of Being Human

Unit code BIOL20982
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

The Biology of Being Human is an interactive distance learning module delivered from Stony Brook University, Long Island USA. You will study evolutionary theories of animal social behaviour and the application of these theories to humans. You will be regularly interacting online with tutors and with other students on the course, both in Manchester and in the USA.

Aims

• To develop and  attempt to falsify biological theories of how humans became so different from other animals

• To explore implications of these theories for human origins, history and social properties

Learning outcomes

• Understand evolutionary theories of animal social behaviour and to differentiate what is the same and what is different about humans.

• Learn how scientific theories are developed and aggressively tested against empirical evidence

Syllabus

There are 24 lectures covering:

       How natural selection works based on the gene being the unit of interest.

• Human uniqueness

• Behaviour of humans in comparison with other species. Co-operative behaviour, kin-selected and kin-independent behaviours; sexual behaviour; childhood

• Evolution of humans, including the fossil record

• Development of language

• Humans as social animals; development of warfare, the ’state’ and co-operation

Methods of Delivery

This unit is delivered by distance learning from Stony Brook University, Long island, USA. There are videoed lectures, downloadable charts and animations, weekly e-quizzes and an interactive discussion board plus access to past examination papers. Students will be supplied a password and user name to a URL containing the lectures and access the interactive material via Microlab 1 or their own PC.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Throughout the unit students will be presented with information which they will have to analyse utilizing scientific thought.
Group/team working
Students debate with each other on discussion boards and also receive peer reviews of their posts.
Innovation/creativity
Students debate with each other on discussion boards and also receive peer reviews of their posts. These discussions involve assimilating, reviewing and processing novel information and provides scope for both innovation and creativity.
Project management
The course is assessed by a combination of exams, e-quizzes and contribution to discussion boards. These all involve deadlines and the students must manage their time effectively to meet these deadlines.
Oral communication
Live online video conference review sessions are held before each examination. This allows students to discuss learning and understanding with each other and with academics.
Problem solving
Examinations and e-quizzes based on problem solving.
Research
Students debate with each other on discussion boards and also receive peer reviews of their posts. To achieve this it is necessary to independently research and review available literature on the lecture topics.
Written communication
There is an interactive discussion board used throughout the unit. Students debate with each other on discussion boards and also receive peer reviews of their posts.

Assessment methods

Three examinations consisting of multiple choice questions spaced out at equal intervals through the unit, contribution to discussion board and e-quizzes.

Feedback methods

Though the course is online, interactions with instructors are extensive. Online asynchronous discussions are continuous and instructors participate. Students debate each other on the discussion boards and also receive peer review of their posts. This debate and review includes discussions with students from the United States. Students are also given extensive feedback for correct and incorrect answers on all equizzes and the extensive array of study questions. Live, online videoconference review sessions are held before each examination. Teleconferenced office hours are available on an appointment basis.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caroline Bowsher Unit coordinator

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