About the Class

In this course, students will explore biological and cultural change in the human species over time.  Students will look at the fundamentals of biological evolution, primates, and the biology and archaeology of our non-living ancestors, which is referred to as paleoanthropology.  The class will close by examining the emergence of modern humans and the development of complex societies through topics such as the emergence of agriculture and the development of ancient states.

The structure of the exams will be mixed. There are short answer, fill in the blank, essay, multiple choice, and true/false questions. The exams are NOT cumulative.


This class uses a mix of Desire to Learn (D2L) and a public website (WordPress).  Both are easy to use, but please do not hesitate to contact the course Instructor  with technical questions.

D2L is used for two things: the course gradebook and exams.  The WordPress website is used for everything else, including announcements, bonus assignments (blogs), schedule, lecture videos, readings, etc. It is imperative that you log on to this website frequently during the course in order to stay up to date with announcements and other news. 


If you need help with the class content or technology, please follow these guidelines:

– For help relating to class content or procedures (assignments, due dates, etc), please contact the course Instructor at uptonand@msu.edu
– For technical issues relating to any Desire 2 Learn content, please contact the course Instructor or go to http://help.d2l.msu.edu
For any technical issues with the course website, please send an email to anthropology.courses@matrix.msu.edu.  In your email, please include your full name, the course number – ISS 220,  your student number, and a clear description of the issue you are having.  Help request emails that do not include this info will not be responded to.


All students are required to sign up for a Gravatar account (http://en.gravatar.com/). A Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) is a profile image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.  To get an account, just go to the Gravatar website, and sign up using your MSU email (using your MSU email is key). Please be sure to choose a suitable image for your profile – remember, this is a for-credit course (as well as a publicly viewable website).


This class doesn’t require a textbook purchase. All readings will be provided to students as PDFs or web pages. All readings are listed in the Schedule section of the course website

It is extremely important to remember that all readings are mandatory for the class, and must be completed. Reading assignments will be included on the exams.


Due dates are not negotiable. Only under extreme (and documentable) circumstances will students be allowed to submit assignments after the due date without being penalized.


In accordance with Michigan State University’s policies on “Protection of Scholarship and Grades” and “Integrity of Scholarship and Grades,” students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic work. Academic integrity means, amongst other things, not plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes submitting someone else’s work (words, ideas, etc.) as their own now will the knowingly permit another student to copy and submit their work. Additional discussion of academic integrity is available on the Ombudsman’s website: https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/academic-integrity/index.html.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.


To take this class, all you need is a browser (Mozilla FirefoxApple Safari, and Google Chrome are preferred) and a high speed internet connection. While you can connect to many of the course materials using a slower internet connection (dial-up), there are some things that you simply will not be able to access (such as the course videos or lecture videos).


Much of this class’s content is delivered using video lectures. Some of the videos are on the course website (linked from the Schedule section) while others are linked to outside websites (screencast, youtube, etc.)

In order to ensure that you have the best experience with this video material, make sure you are using an up to date version of a modern browser (such as Mozilla FirefoxApple Safari, and Google Chrome) and are accessing the course materials over a high speed internet connection. While you can access much of the course content over a slower internet connection, you need a high speed connection for the course video materials.

The password used to access the videos hosted on WordPress will be sent to you in an email. This is NOT the same as your WordPress login information.

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