Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

Evolutionary Biology

As an Instructor at the University of Maryland I taught a graduate course in Evolutionary Biology during Summer 2019. This is a fully online course offered through the Master of Chemical and Life Sciences program (a content-based, professional master’s degree for middle and high school teachers). This course included 11 online modules (one module per week) which covered various microevolutioanry and macroevolutionary concepts, as well as genetics basics. The course included weekly readings, discussions, exercises, an article critique, and a semester-long project “Innovative Classroom Exercise in Evolution (ICEE)” - a 80-min lesson based upon material relevant to our course.


Topics covered

UNIT 1. INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW

  • Module 1: Introduction to evolution and a review of genetics

UNIT 2. MICROEVOLUTIONARY CONCEPTS

  • Module 2: Life is always evolving, but are all changes adaptive?
  • Module 3: Gene frequencies may change due to drift or selection
  • Module 4: Evolution acts on genetic variation

UNIT 3. SELECTION FOR REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS

  • Module 5: Sexual reproduction has a profound effect evolution
  • Module 6: Evolution acts on the entire life cycle

UNIT 4. MACROEVOLUTIONARY CONCEPTS

  • Module 7: Sexual selection has produced remarkable structures and behaviors
  • Module 8: The origin of species
  • Module 9: Phylogeny and systematics: how we study and present macroevolution

UNIT 5. SYNTHESIS AND CONCLUSIONS

  • Module 10: Coevolution
  • Module 11: Conclusions

Selected assignment and weekly notes