One last reminder for those who intend to do the honors option for this course, you must email me directly by tomorrow night.  Simply submitting the form on the registrar’s site won’t work, because that form goes to Ethan Watrall (watrall [at] msu [dot] edu) as the anthropology online courses coordinator/faculty of record for this course. You must therefore email me directly as well to let me know you want to do the honors option.


Several of you have had questions about what exactly I’m looking for in posts re: synthesis, analysis, in-depth discussion, etc.  Since I obviously wasn’t clear in explaining what I meant the first time around, I’m going to try to do that better here.  Also, since there’s been so much confusion, I’m extending the deadline for Week 2 Blog Posts to Sunday July 15 at 11:59 PM to give you time to review your posts and revise if needed.

I’ll specifically discuss the Week 1 Blog Post assignment here, since that’s the one my confusing comments were about.  While the prompt did ask about your prior & current opinions, and thoughts on several aspects of the topic, it also asked you to use what you learned from the week’s materials to discuss those opinions and thoughts.  This means not only stating, for example, that humans and animals have similarities in the ways that they communicate, but also discussing the details of how they’re similar and, very importantly, where you got that information.  That last part is what some of you didn’t include.  It’s partly a matter of citation, but it’s also a matter of thinking about the meaning of the things you’re learning in the various materials (analysis), making connections between the things discussed in the different materials and explaining those connections (synthesis), and explaining how these things have informed your opinions or shaped your thoughts (discussion).

In other words, not just “I thought animals had language before this week, and now I don’t”, but specifically “I thought animals had language before this week, but now I don’t, because of X point from Lecture 2, Y point from Kemp & Smith, and Z point from The Voice. Thing A, which was discussed in Lecture 1, connects to Thing B from Kemp & Smith in this way ________.  This means that [analysis analysis analysis], and this influenced my thinking in this way _________.”


I hope my meaning is clearer now—if you have any further questions let me know!


Just a quick reminder, for those of you planning to do the honors option, you should let me know by Sunday (see the About the Course or Assignments & Grading pages for more info).


As you’re working on your Week 2 blog posts and comments, there’s a couple things I’d like to bring to your attention.  Most of you wrote quite interesting and substantial posts last week, and met all of the requirements, so good job overall!  However, there are a couple things that some of you’ve overlooked, so please read the following and make note for future posts if these apply to you.  (And if you’ve already put up your blog post for this week, please double check these things!)  These are things that I didn’t deduct points for in Week 1, because there was a lot for you to take in and sort out, but I will be deducting points for these things from here on out, so please double check you’re not overlooking these things!

  1. Nicknames: A bunch of you still haven’t updated your nickname on this site, so you need to do that this week. From the Creating an Online Persona section under Course Technology on the About the Course page: Once you log into the WordPress site for the first time, you will be prompted to change your password and update your profile information.  If you forgot to do this step when you first logged in, you can easily edit your profile by going to the dashboard, hovering over “Users” and clicking “Your Profile.”  In the “nickname” field, please enter your full first and last name (e.g. “Jessica McLeod”).  Then make sure you select this option in the “Display name publicly as” field.  […]  Using full names on this site this serves two purposes: (1) it helps me find (and grade) the things you post; and (2) it makes us all feel like we’re interacting with real people on this site.  Therefore, you will lose a point on each blog post and comment if you do not enter a name into your profile info. If you’re having trouble changing your nickname, feel free to contact me at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu, or contact the anthropology online courses helpdesk at anphelp [at] msu [dot] edu to get assistance with that process.  And if you go by a name other than what is listed on your official university records, you are of course welcome to use that name on the course website, but you must notify me via email at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu so that I can accurately credit you for your work.
  2. Post requirements: A few of you missed some of the formatting requirements for your posts last week. If you have any questions, the requirements are detailed on the Assignments and Grading page, and the relevant information for each week is on its schedule page.  There were two main problems (i & ii below) I noticed last week that you’ll need to make sure to avoid (which, as I noted above, I didn’t deduct points for this week, but will be going forward):
    1. Category: Several of you didn’t categorize your posts last week. You must assign a category when you compose your posts, on the right-hand side of the composing page under the publish button—that’s how I pull up all of the posts for each week to grade them. I specifically looked for uncategorized posts for last week’s assignments, but from now on I won’t be hunting for posts that aren’t categorized.  If you submit a post and don’t receive a grade for it within a week, please let me know and send me a link to your post so I can update your grade.
    2. Title: A few of you also didn’t title your posts using the required format. I’ve listed it on the schedule page for each week, so please feel free to copy and paste that (substituting your own name in place of [Your Name], of course).
    3. Details: In general, y’all did quite well with discussing the week’s lectures/readings/etc. However, in some cases, I’d prefer to see a bit more detail and specific references to the week’s materials. Also, watch out for straight-up summarizing vs. synthesizing & discussing the week’s materials in depth.  I left feedback on this in the gradebook on D2L; please check to see if this applies to you, and let me know if you have any questions about this!  [Edit: 7/13 – I did deduct a couple points if you didn’t  specifically reference the week’s course materials and explain how they influenced your thinking on the topics being discussed (or, conversely, why they didn’t lead to a change in your thinking, if that was the case), but in future weeks I will penalize summary instead of discussion more, so please contact me if you’re confused and the above explanation (7/13 announcement) doesn’t clear up the points you’re confused about.}


Congratulations, everyone, you’ve survived Week 1!  I’ve enjoyed reading your self-intro posts—so many cute pets and cool hobbies and interests!  =)  Y’all seem like a great group of people, and hopefully you’ll enjoy interacting with each other as the weeks go by.

I’ve entered the grades for your Pre-Week 1 posts into D2L, so please check and make sure you have a grade for that if you submitted one.  I think I’ve worked out the bugs in the D2L gradebook now, but it’s possible there are others I haven’t found yet, so please do let me know if anything looks off.

I’ve started reading through your Week 1 posts and comments, although I won’t have those grades up for another couple days.  But I can say that so far they look pretty good, so keep up the good work as you begin Week 2!


1)  This is a friendly reminder that your Week 1 blog posts are due tomorrow (Friday 7/6) by 11:59 PM EST.  The readings & videos, blog post prompt, and other information can be found on the Week 1 Schedule page.  If you have any questions about the materials, blog post, etc., please let me know!

2)  Please double, triple, and quadruple check that you’ve a) categorized your posts correctly using the categories on the right-hand side of the composing page, and b) published your posts by the deadline, instead of leaving them as draft versions.  (You’re welcome to save them as drafts as you’re working on them, but they have to actually be published for me to see & grade them.)

3)  FYI, if you haven’t registered your account for this course site yet, the link you were emailed has probably expired.  If you need to have a new invitation generated, or if you’re having other technical issues with this course WordPress site, the anthropology online courses help desk can be reached at anphelp [at] msu [dot] edu.


Hey everyone!  I’ve gotten several questions about accessing the videos, so I wanted to clarify things here in case others are having difficulty too.  There’s a separate username/password that’s only for the videos—it’s the same password for everyone, not your individual username/password for logging into the course website.  The password is posted on D2L in the welcome announcement, and in the welcome announcement I emailed to you.  We don’t post it here for security reasons, because it’s a publicly accessible website, but it’s there if you need it.


Hello everyone! Welcome to ANP 420: Language and Culture (online)!  I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you this summer.  This long, but hopefully informative, FAQ contains a bunch of important information you need to know about this course and how it will work, so please read everything carefully.

First of all, my name is Jessica McLeod, and I’m your instructor for this course.  You can read my self-intro blog post here to learn more about me and my academic background.  Feel free to contact me anytime at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu if you have any questions or difficulties—please be sure to always include “ANP 420” in the subject line, and your full name and MSU email address in the email, anytime you contact me or the anthropology online course help desk.

Second, please check ASAP to make sure you have access to everything (course site, videos, D2L), and let me know immediately if you run into any problems, because the first deadlines for this class are on Friday, and I’d hate for a technical difficulty to get you started off on the wrong foot.  Once you’ve got your account access set up and sorted out, please read all of the information on this website, and get started on the assignments for Pre-Week 1 and Week 1!

Now, on to the questions!


Q: Do I have to come to campus?

A: No!  This is an online course.  There are no exams and you never have to come to campus for any reason (unless you want to).  You do need to have a high-speed internet connection, and you must log into this course website every a day (or at least several times a week) to check for announcements.

Q: Is this class on D2L?

A: No!  It is run through this WordPress site.  There are a couple things you’ll need to access on D2L (quizzes, final project submission dropbox, your gradebook), but the bulk of the class is located here on WordPress.

Q: How do I access this WordPress site?

A: Check your MSU email for the link!  You will receive an invitation to the site in your MSU email that will include the link.

***NOTE: If you have taken an ANP class online before, you will likely already have a username/password for WordPress.  If you receive an email without a link to access the course, and you can’t remember your previous login/password info, go to and use the “forgot my password” option to reset your password and gain access.  Don’t forget to use your MSU email address!  If this doesn’t work, or you haven’t taken an ANP class online before, contact the ANP help desk at anphelp [at] msu [dot] edu.  Please put the course number in the subject line of your email, and clearly explain the issue you are having.***

Q: How do I log in / change my password?

A: Watch these tutorials!  Please watch these tutorials (logging in; using the course blog) to see how to log in, change your password, and create posts and comments on the course blog (note that the video uses a different class’s website as the example, but the actual process of posting and commenting should be the same).

Q: What is the username/password to watch this and other videos?

A: NOT your WordPress login info!  To watch ALL online course videos, you will need to use the separate universal username and password you received in your email.  This information is also included in the welcome announcement on D2L.  Since this website is publicly accessible, we don’t post the password here.  Please note that this is not the same as your WordPress login information, which is individual to you.

Q: Are there any textbooks for this class?

A: No!  All of the readings/videos will be posted on this website, on the individual schedule page for each week under the schedule tab.  Once you receive an invitation to the site, you will be able to access the “Introduction” unit, which includes some introductory videos as well as instructions for the first week’s assignments.  Each Monday, the new week’s materials will be made available under the schedule tab.

Q: I’m confused or have special circumstances, who do I ask for help?

A: Your instructor! If you have any questions about the website or the course, feel free to email me at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu—make sure you include “ANP 420” in the subject line, and your full name and MSU email address in the email.

Q: It’s after Monday, July 2, and I didn’t receive an email invitation. What should I do?

A: Check your MSU email, then contact your instructor!  Remember, the invitation will be arriving in your MSU email so check there first if you haven’t yet.  Be sure to check your junk mail folder too, if the email isn’t in your inbox.  If you haven’t received an invitation to the course site by the end of the day on Monday, please send me an email at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu and we will get it figured out—make sure you include “ANP 420” in the subject line, and your full name and MSU email address in the email.

Q: I received an invitation but now it says the link is expired, what should I do?

A: Email your instructor!  If you don’t use the link and set up your account within 48 hours, the invitation will expire.  If this happens, just send me an email at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu and we’ll get it figured out.


Q: I’ve set up my account—now what?

A: Get started on the first week’s lectures, readings, and assignments, which can be found on the schedule pages for Pre-Week 1 and Week 1—first deadlines are this Friday!


Finally, FYI, I don’t plan to send out mass emails for this class.  All announcements will be posted on this website, so make sure you check it frequently.  You are responsible for keeping up with all announcements and info posted to this course site; not checking this site is not an acceptable excuse for missing deadlines.  Feel free to contact me any time at mcleodj4 [at] msu [dot] edu if you have questions, concerns, etc.


Let’s get this show on the road!


– Jessica