The first WellesleyX offerings represent Wellesley’s breadth of disciplines, as well as some of its most
The first course, Anthropology 207x: Introduction to Human Evolution, taught by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Adam Van Arsdale, begins September 2013. Intro to Human Evolution marks the first time a massively open online course (MOOC) will be offered at the same time as its physical classroom counterpart. Van Arsdale will also teach Anthropology 207: Hominid Evolution in the traditional setting at Wellesley in Fall 2013.
Wellesley faculty are eagerly exploring ways to experiment with MOOC technology to enhance classroom teaching—as well as ways that WellesleyX courses might advance the learning opportunities offered by MOOCs to date. Ravi Ravishanker, associate dean of WellesleyX and the College's chief information officer, says, “The possibilities are endless and exciting; the challenge is to harmonize the capabilities of the new technology with the academic rigor that is at Wellesley’s core.”
All courses will be open and free of cost to anyone with an Internet connection—regardless of gender or geography—through edX.
Anthropology 207x: Introduction to Human Evolution
Class begins September 25, 2013
Adam Van Arsdale, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
This class in paleoanthropology will feature a virtual lab in which users will get to analyze 3-D fossils such as skulls and drop in on simulated excavations using images and video of archeological sites, including in places like Kazakhstan, Dmanisi in Georgia, and the Great Rift Valley in Africa, many of them visited in person, Indiana Jones-style, by professor Adam Van Arsdale. - Boston.com
More: As contemporary humans, we are a product of our evolutionary past. That past can be directly observed through the study of the human fossil record, the materials preserved for archaeological study, and the DNA of living and extinct human populations. This course will provide an overview of human evolutionary history from the present--contemporary human variation in a comparative context--through our last common ancestor with the living great apes, some 5-7 million years in the past. Emphasis will be placed on major evolutionary changes in the development of humans and the methodological approaches used by paleoanthropologists and related investigators to develop that knowledge. The course will begin by asking basic questions about how evolution operates to shape biological variation and what patterns of variation look like in living humans and apes. We will then look at how the human lineage first began to differentiate from apes, the rise and fall of the Australopithecines, the origin and dispersal of the genus Homo, and eventually the radical evolutionary changes associated with the development of agricultural practices in the past 15,000 years. Throughout the course students will be exposed to the primary data, places and theories that shape our understanding of human evolution.
Guy MacLean Rogers, Mildred Lane Kemper Professor of Classics and History
Alexander the Great conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks, fused the eastern and western peoples of his empire, and became a god – before his 33rd birthday. This course explores the life, leadership, and legacies of history’s warrior, and one of its most controversial leaders, an ambiguous genius whose story helps us to understand not only the history of warfare, but also different ideas about human sexuality, the history of relations between east and west, and the religious beliefs both of ancient polytheists and modern monotheists. more
Smitha Radhakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Sociology offers us a powerful set of tools with which to interpret our relationship to a global social and cultural economy. This course extends conventional sociology to foster an understanding of how the conditions of our everyday lives fit in with broader trends of continuity and change in regions across the world. We use the global garment industry as a vehicle for mobilizing our sociological imaginations, and follow the movements of capital, materials, and labor in the garment industry to examine the economic and cultural exchanges that keep our complex world in motion. Along the way, we’ll learn to critically read social scientific texts and construct evidence-based arguments. more
Shakespeare wrote for a popular audience and was immensely successful. Shakespeare is also rightly regarded as one of the greatest playwrights the world has known. This course will try to understand both Shakespeare’s popularity and his greatness by starting from a simple premise: that the fullest appreciation of Shakespeare can be achieved only when literary study is combined with analysis of the plays as theatre. Hence, as we delve into the dimensions that make Shakespeare’s plays so extraordinary--from the astonishing power of their language to their uncanny capacity to illuminate so much of human life--we will also explore them in performance from Shakespeare’s own theatre to the modern screen. At the same time, actors will occasionally join our effort and demonstrate ways of bringing the text alive as living theatre. Plays to be studied will include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale.
See all WellesleyX courses listed on the edX site.