My second Ph.D. student, Mohamed Noor—now a professor and assistant chair of biology at Duke—is offering an online course this fall called`”Introduction to genetics and evolution.” It’s intended for people interested in biology who haven’t had previous courses in the field. (High-school biology is really all you need.) I think this is a fantastic idea and a course that any of you wanting a solid grounding in these fields should take. The course is 9 weeks long, starts in early October, and, best of all, is free. All you have to do is sign up at the link above.
There will be recorded lectures, a chatroom for students to discuss things, and I’ll be Skyping in to answer students’ submitted questions. (Disclaimer: the course will be using WEIT as an ancillary text, but that’s not why I’m touting this! I want more people to learn about evolution, and it has the added benefit of giving you a leg up when reading my biology posts.) Just be warned, at least 10,000 people will be listening in, so don’t expect personal interaction with the instructor!
Here’s the course description and syllabus:
A whirlwind introduction to evolution and genetics, from basic principles to current applications, including how disease genes are mapped and how we leverage evolutionary concepts to aid humanity.
- Evidence for evolution
- Introduction to basic genetics
- Recombination and genetic mapping simple traits
- Complications to genetic mapping
- Genes vs. environment
- Basic population genetics and Hardy-Weinberg
- Gene flow, differentiation, inbreeding
- Natural selection and genetic drift
- Molecular evolution
- Evolutionary applications and misapplications
- Adaptive behaviors and species formation
Mohamed is a terrific lecturer, as I know from having heard him, and he’s won several awards for his teaching, including:
2012 David and Janet Vaughan Brooks Teaching Award
2010 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
2007 Gordon G. Hammes Faculty Teaching Award, Duke University School of Medicine
2000 Louisiana State University, College of Basic Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Award
But be warned: Mohamed talks fast (fortunately, the lectures are recorded). Mohamed’s Ph.D.-defense lecture at Chicago must have set some kind of record for brevity: it was about 32 minutes long! (An hour is usual.) As he says in the FAQs:
- Does Prof. Mohamed Noor ALWAYS talk that fast? Yes.