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.

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

Posted in Anthropology, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

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

Posted in Anthropology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

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.

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

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

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Our paper: The evolution of early Homo

This past Spring I published a paper, together with Milford Wolpoff, on the early evolution of our genus, Homo. The paper had several inspirations, independent of my own research in this arena associated with my work at the Lower Paleolithic … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Fossils | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

The minimum evidence necessary to demonstrate evolution

Each week in Wellesley 207x I will be providing my students with a “thought question for the weekend” related to that week’s course content. Students are invited to provide their responses on the discussion forums. These responses are not graded, … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Teaching | Tagged , , | Comments Off

A worldwide audience

I promise to not write solely about my EdX course, but…it is live as of this morning. And in the first three hours of being live, we have had students posting in the discussion forum from every continent outside of … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments