Author Archives: Adam Van Arsdale

About Adam Van Arsdale

I am biological anthropologist with a specialization in paleoanthropology. My research focuses on the pattern of evolutionary change in humans over the past two million years, with an emphasis on the early evolution and dispersal of our genus, Homo. My work spans a number of areas including comparative anatomy, genetics and demography.

Finalizing my course on poverty…

What have I missed in my syllabus? (click link below for preliminary syllabus) Anth314S15

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#BioAnth at AAA: the meeting within a meeting

Last week the American Anthropological Association held their annual meetings in Washington, D.C. This is the largest gathering of anthropologists in the world, this year topping 7,000 registered attendees. But of this large group, only a small fraction are members … Continue reading

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Uniformitarianism and the stratigraphic profiles of academia

One of the great challenges in paleoanthropological field work is understanding the sequence of events that led to the accumulation of materials at a site. How did these sediments get here? What agents led to the assemblage of fossils that … Continue reading

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And then we came to the end, a few post #MOOC musings

This past semester was…hectic. I could add many other adjectives with differing connotations to that sentence, but needless to say, teaching Wellesley’s first MOOC course, coupled with ordinary professional obligations, coupled with a lot of life, coupled with a few … Continue reading

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The new (wonderful) Dmanisi skull

A new paper on the newest skull from the Lower Paleolithic site of Dmanisi (Georgia) is out in Science this afternoon (Lordkipanidze, et al. 2013)1 (the accompanying Science news story, from Ann Gibbons, is here). This is a spectacular specimen … Continue reading

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The privilege of moving past

The past weekend brought a flurry of activity in the science blogging community, much of it having to do with the assumption of power and authority (and their abuse) associated with gendered roles. To recap, an editor at made … Continue reading

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207x snapshot #2 : Education level

Another quick snapshot of the student body in 207x. Again, these data are not quite complete, as they are missing ~2000 “late” enrollees. Nevertheless it is an interesting portrait. This is a chart showing the highest level of education achieved … Continue reading

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MOOCs: Teaching as social action

Teaching is a social action. The interaction within a class between students, the connection between teacher and students, the context in which such conversations take place…all of these are part of the social reality that reflects teaching. One of the … Continue reading

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Me talking about MOOCs, liberal arts education, and 207x

I gave a talk last week on campus about my course, the new WellesleyX initiative, and the relationship between MOOCs and a traditional liberal arts education. You can watch a complete cut of the video here.

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207x snapshot: Year of birth

I will be doing a series of quick snapshots of my MOOC, 207x (Introduction to Human Evolution), throughout the semester. I wanted to begin with one showing the self-reported year of birth of the enrolled students. This is actually missing … Continue reading

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