August 19, 2016

Quick update: your final project grade and feedback (and your other grades) will be viewable in D2L until a week from today. The default was until yesterday, but I changed it. I am entering your final project grades as I complete them. They should hopefully all be entered by tomorrow evening.

August 19, 2016

Hello ANP 204 students! I am working on grading your final projects, which were due last night at midnight. Several students did not submit them, so if you’re among the students who did not submit a final project by midnight last night, please reach out to me as soon as possible.

Also, I just received an email letting me know that D2L won’t allow you to view your grades, since the class technically ended last night. Once I finish grading your final projects, I will give the D2L help desk a call to see if anything can be done about that. Otherwise, you may have to reach out to me if you want individual feedback on your projects. I will keep you closely informed.

August 16, 2016

Hello ANP 204 students! I just finished grading your week 6 reflection and activity blog posts and comments, and I was so impressed with many of your reflections on how the tools of medical anthropology might be used in different types of healthcare careers, ranging from clinical medicine, to optometry, to public health, and to NICU nursing. Wonderful job! I will be entering your grades into D2L over the next few hours. If you think there may be a discrepancy, please email me ASAP. I’m going to have a really short window to do your final project grading after they are due on Thursday, and so I would prefer to address any grade discrepancies over the next few days.

Also, I failed to mention this in the final project description or rubric, but part of your 20 points for grammar and formal language usage will be your use of Chicago style citations for any class materials or outside materials that you’re citing. My apologies for not mentioning this earlier, but please make sure to cite all of your final project sources using Chicago style.

I observed in your reflection blogs that many of you are interested in public health or working for an international health NGO. Others were interested in applying the tools of medical anthropology in clinical medicine, as clinical practitioners. I wanted to share with you all a little bit about my own background. Before entering a PhD program in medical anthropology at MSU, I received a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Michigan in 2009 and then worked for EngenderHealth, an international health NGO focusing on the relationship between gender norms and HIV infection, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for about a year and a half. I then came home and worked with a team of anthropologists in a clinical setting–at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital–for about two years, exploring how patients and providers were experiencing the restructuring of the VA healthcare system. I have a lot of experience applying the tools of anthropology in diverse settings, and so I was really thrilled to read all of your reflections on how it might be applied in similar settings. For those of you who are interested in pursuing careers in public health and will be on campus in the fall, I would be really happy to meet with students and share my experience with the admissions process, working in public health, etc.

Best of luck finishing up your final projects! It has been such a pleasure to read your blog posts and reflections over the course of the summer term.

August 15, 2016

Hi all! As promised, I wanted to provide you with a bit of guidance on the final project blog post as well as a better idea of how it will be graded. First off, it’s okay if you switched illnesses since your original final project check-in assignment. That was simply my effort to get you to start thinking about your final project, but if you feel more compelled by a different illness than the one you chose, please feel free to explore it in your final project.

Category: Final Project

Title: Start your title with “Final Project:”

Your final project/blog post should be in essay form, with an intro, five different sections outlining each of the medical anthropology approaches you learned about in weeks 2-6, and a conclusion. Keep in mind that the total length is a minimum of 500 words, so I don’t expect your paragraphs to be incredibly long. The structure should be as follows:

Paragraph 1–introduction (20 points): Introduce the illness you selected and give an overarching thesis statement about how medical anthropology in general may help illuminate our understanding of the illness.

Paragraphs 2-6–body (60 points, or 12 points per approach): Describe how you would approach understanding the illness you chose from each of the five different approaches to medical anthropology covered in the course–1) Ecological and Biological Approaches; 2) Ethnomedical Approach; 3) Experiential Approach; 4) Critical Approach; and 5) Applied Approach. You should cite 1-2 course materials in each section, whether it be a lecture, newspaper article, class reading, video, etc. Please choose a variety of sources rather than solely citing lectures throughout.

Paragraph 7–conclusion (20 points): This section is a bit open. Feel free to elaborate on which approach to medical anthropology you most preferred for addressing your chosen illness and why. You may also consider explaining how your selected approach may help a health care practitioner to better understand and/or address the illness you chose.

Use of formal language, flow, and grammar (20 points): Please don’t be intimidated by these points. I won’t deduct points heavily if you have a few grammatical errors. I just want you all to be sure that you’re proofreading and turning in something professional and polished.

The overwhelming majority of you have done a wonderful job of communicating various approaches to medical anthropology in your blog posts. This is simply an opportunity to combine all of that information together and reflect on what you’ve learned. These should be posted by midnight on Thursday, August 18th. I very much look forward to reading them and have really appreciated the effort that you’ve all put forth in this class.

August 13, 2016

Hi, all! I’ve been getting a few emails from students about the final course survey worth 10 points. This is something we had intended to remove from this summer’s course but didn’t. Because it is supposed to be part of your overall grade calculation, and the mistake is on our end, everyone in the class will automatically receive those 10 points for that assignment. Otherwise, you should have received an email about completing a SIRS form for this class, which you should definitely still complete. I appreciate your feedback, and it’s structured in such a way that you won’t be able to view your grade in stuinfo without first completing the SIRS form. I hope this clarifies things for those of you who had questions, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any additional questions!

August 12, 2016

Hello, all! I just finished grading week 5 reflection and activity blog posts and comments and will enter them into D2L once I finish writing this announcement. I was especially excited about your activity blog posts this week. You chose such interesting advertisements and had really intriguing analyses on medicalization to go along with them.

Best of luck finishing up your week 6 assignments! A note that I will be circulating a grading rubric for your final assignment by early next week.

August 6, 2016

Hello, ANP 204 students! Wonderful job on your week 4 reflection and activity blog posts and comments. You should see your grades entered in D2L by this evening. Also, thanks for your extra attention to ensure that your blog posts were properly categorized last week and for commenting on properly categorized blog posts. It makes grading so much smoother for me. Good luck on your week 5 comments, and I look forward to reading your week 5 blog posts and comments this coming week.

July 29, 2016, Part II

Important note: I thought it was odd that a number of students had missing blog comments this week, so I did some exploring. It turns out that several people posted their comments in miscategorized blogs. I tried to find all of them, but I may have missed some; if so, e-mail me with a link to where I can see your comment. Keep in mind that this is the last round of grading in which I will give you credit for blog entries that are miscategorized, comments that are listed beneath miscategorized blog entries, and comments that are beneath the blog post instructions. I really want to give everyone credit, but it’s  too difficult for me to go through everything on the blog in order to find your posts and comments. Thank you for understanding!

July 29, 2016

Hello, all–I hope that those of you who are in Michigan are staying cool in this summer heat. I just finished grading all week 3 assignments as well as your final project check-in assignment from week 2, so  you should see them reflected in your grade on D2L shortly.

A few reflections on students’ blog posts and comments this week:

  • First, thank you for responding so respectfully to each others’ posts. This is something that I have been continually impressed by.
  • Thank you, too, for helping each other out by asking and responding to each others’ questions on the schedule page.
  • Please read both the blog and activity prompts carefully in order to receive credit for your posts and comments; for example, a good number of students did not cite course materials in their week 3 reflection blog entries. I want everyone to receive full credit, so please read the prompts carefully.
  • Please make sure that you are doing the course readings. For example, several students shared in their reflection blog comments that they had never heard of clown shamans in hospitals before reading their classmate’s blog entry. The article about clowns in hospitals was an assigned class reading, so everyone should have read it. Please keep up with course readings, because I will mark down final projects that only cite short New York Times articles assigned in class, for example, instead of longer assigned readings.
  • Please make sure to post your comments on peoples’ actual blog entries rather than on the assignment instructions page. I found several comments posted this week on the assignment page itself rather than on other peoples’ blog entries. I gave you credit if you posted in the incorrect spot this week, but please be cognizant of this in the future in order to receive credit.
  • The week 3 activity prompt asked you to find and summarize a scholarly, peer-reviewed article. Just for future reference, this would be something that comes from a respected academic journal and not a newspaper. We did not define “peer-reviewed” in the assignment, so I gave you credit if you used a newspaper article.
  • I noticed that students are using the word “culture” quite liberally. For example, several people described a food shortage or malnutrition as cultural, when these are in fact structural problems. Also, I noticed that several students used descriptions such as “American culture” and “Native American culture.” The word “cultures” would be a better choice, since there are so many American subcultures within an overarching American culture, just as there are many different Native American cultures.
  • Best of luck with finishing up week 4 and beginning week 5 assignments! As always, please let me know if you believe there is a discrepancy with your grade on a given assignment by sending me a link to your blog entry or comment.

July 20, 2016

Hello ANP 204 students! I have finished grading all Week 2 assignments. I observed that many students, in their blog entries, conflated genetics and race. Genes are biological, whereas race is socially constructed. This is a very important difference, so if you’re still unclear about the relationship between race, genes, and health, I strongly encourage you to revisit Week 2 lectures and readings.

Please keep in mind that the final project in the class is worth the same number of points as all of your blog posts combined. Your final project will not be graded credit/no credit; you must, in your final project, demonstrate a clear knowledge of all of the course material in order to receive a good grade. This means that it is extremely important that you are doing all of the reading, taking thorough notes, watching all of the lectures and videos, etc. I will be less lenient with grammatical errors and misspellings when grading your final projects than I have been with your blog posts.

If I gave you a 0 for not submitting a blog post or comment, but you believe that you did in fact submit a blog post or comment, you are welcome to e-mail me with the link to either your blog post or comment in order to receive credit.

Good luck with Week 3 assignments!

July 15, 2016

Hello ANP 204 students! I am nearly through with grading pre-week 1 and week 1 assignments, and I have a few observations that I would like to share to ensure that everyone receives appropriate credit for their hard work.

First, many of you have either 1) not categorized your blog posts or 2) not published them. I just went through and did my best to categorize your week 1 and pre-week 1 blog posts, but in the future, if you do not categorize them, you will not receive credit. It isn’t enough to name the blog post, “Week 1 Activity.” You actually have to physically categorize it when you publish it. If you’re unsure of how to do this, here is a video that will tell you how to create a post and a comment. Furthermore, make sure that if you post a comment, you’re posting a comment to a blog post that has already been categorized, or I will not see it.

Second, many of you have not completed the pre-week 1 assignments of both creating a Profile Name and a Gravatar, which are each worth 10 points. Almost everyone has created a Gravatar, but many people are missing a profile name. Please check to make sure that you have done these things. If you’re unsure whether you have or of what it entails, click the “Grading” tab on the WordPress site for further instructions. I will give you a grace period for the Profile Name and Gravatar but not for the pre-week 1 introduction blog, which was due on Monday, July 11th at 12am EST.

Your pre-week 1 and week 1 grades will be published on D2L by the end of the day tomorrow. If you check it tomorrow and see that you have a “0” for either your Profile Name or Gravatar, make sure to then complete one or both of them in order to receive credit. If you haven’t completed either your Profile Name or your Gravatar and you fix it, it will be reflected in your updated grade by Friday, July 22nd. If you believe you have fixed it and you don’t see it reflected in your updated grade by Friday, July 22nd, e-mail me.

Keep in mind that I do not accept late work. However, at the end of the semester, I will only count 12 out of 13 total blog posts when calculating your grade, which includes your introductory blog post and reflection and activity blog posts for weeks 1-6. I will also only count 12 out of 13 total comment posts when calculating your grade, which includes your introductory comment post and reflection and activity comment posts for weeks 1-6. This means that you can receive a “0” for one blog and one comment post without it affecting your grade at all. Otherwise, I very strictly only accept posts that are received on time.

Last, a friendly reminder that if you have a question pertaining to the rest of the class, please use the announcements or schedule page to ask it as a comment.

July  9, 2016

Hello ANP 204 students! This is a reminder that your pre-week 1 and week 1 assignments are due.  Because of the awkward timing of beginning this class after the 4th of July and students’ issues with logging in, I will allow you to submit your pre-week and week 1 assignments up until midnight EST on Monday, July 11th. Please get them in as soon as you can so that you don’t fall behind with week 2 assignments. Also keep in mind that I will not accept late work in the future. Last, I will be traveling internationally from July 10th through July 12th, so expect a delay in hearing back from me if you send me an e-mail. If you have a problem related to logging in, please read through the last two D2L e-mails that I sent you with clear instructions, which have also been saved as D2L news items. If you still have a problem logging in after reading through those two D2L e-mails/news items, you can e-mail both me at and our anthropology online course coordinator at

July  1, 2016

Welcome to ANP 204: Introduction to Medical Anthropology (online).

My name is Jessica Ott, and I will be your instructor for this course. Below, I will be answering some important questions about this summer, so make sure to read everything carefully. Also, you should be aware that I will not be able to respond quickly to emails received between July 10th and 12th, because I will be in transit from Zanzibar to the US. Please plan accordingly.

Do I have to come to campus? No.
This is an online course. There are no exams, and you never have to come to campus. You do need to have a high-speed Internet connection, and you must log into the course website at least once a day to check for announcements.

Is this class on D2L? Yes, and no.
The bulk of the class work is run through a WordPress site; however, your grades (in the grade book) are located on the D2L site.

How do I access the WordPress site?
You will receive an invitation to the site in your MSU email on July 1st, which includes the link. If you enrolled in the class after July 1st, please email me at and the anthropology online course coordinator at We will have to generate a login and password for you separately.

The URL to the course WordPress is:

Please watch the following tutorials BEFORE you visit the site so you know how to login and change your password (note that this year’s website will look different than the one in the video).

What is the username/password to watch these and other videos?
To watch these videos and ALL OTHER online course videos, you will need to use the universal login information.

Password: Please see D2L news or the welcome email I sent you for the password. We purposely do not post it on WordPress so that it is not available to the public.

Please note that this is DIFFERENT from your WordPress login information, which is individual to you. If anyone from class asks you for the password, please send it via an email or direct them to the D2L “News.”  Do not post it in a blog or comment in WordPress, as this enables anyone outside the class to see it and the videos as well.

Are there any textbooks for this class? No, but you will be required to pay $1.99 to watch an online episode of “True Life” during Week 4.
All of the readings/videos will be posted on the course website under the schedule tab for that week. Please keep in mind that during Week 4, you will be required to purchase one episode of MTV’s “True Life” for $1.99 online.

Once you receive an invitation to the site, you will be able to access the “Pre-Week 1” unit beneath the “schedule” tab. Your first assignments will be due on Wednesday, July 6th, so make sure to take a careful look at the “Pre-Week 1” assignment instructions beneath the “schedule” tab. You should also read carefully through the “about” “grading” and “contact” pages so you understand how the course will run and what you will be responsible for.

Every Sunday, I will release the next week’s materials under the “schedule” tab. Your first “Week 1: Introduction to Medical Anthropology” assignments will be due on Friday, July 8th, so make sure to take a careful look at those materials on Sunday, July 3rd, or soon after.

I’m confused or have special circumstances, who do I ask for help?
If you have any questions about the website or the course, you have a few ways to answer them. First, you can check the Announcements page for new information.  Secondly, you can ask your classmates in WordPress in comments under the Schedule section, using #HELP. Finally, you can use #Jessica in your weekly posts or comments to get my attention. Please do not email the entire class via D2L. If you need to email me directly at ottjess1 [at] msu [dot] edu and make sure to write ANP 204 in the subject line, open with something like, “Hi, Jessica,” and include your name and email address at the bottom.  You can see this information in more detail under the “contact” tab on the WordPress course site.

It’s after Tuesday, July 5th, and I did not receive an email invitation, what should I do?Remember, the invitation will be arriving in your MSU email so just in case, check junk mail folder. If you have not received an invitation to the course site by the end of the day on Tuesday, please send an email to me at and  be sure to cc the anthropology online course coordinator at and we will get it figured out. If you have your MSU email forwarded to your personal email account, make sure to check spam, Updates, Forums, etc. for the email first.

I received an invitation but now it says the link is expired, what should I do?
It is important that you click the link and set up your account within 48 hours, otherwise the invitation will expire. If this happens, send me an email and we will get it figured out.

There will not be any mass emails regarding this class. All announcements will be posted on the WordPress, so make sure you check it daily. If you have a question related to a certain week’s assignment, please ask your question as a comment at the bottom of that week’s schedule page, making sure to label your comment with #HELP so it is clear to your classmates and me that you have a question.

I am really excited about working with each of you this summer. See you online!