John Hawks and Biology of Mind

John Hawks, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Madison – Wisconsin who brings us his paleoanthropological, genetic, and evolution expertise over at his own blog, has set up a new blog Biology of Mind run by his students.

The blog is part of John’s same-titled class which covers “the evolution of human cognition and behavior in a comparative context.” For the most part, the students in their posts provide description and critical commentary on relevant articles. So here’s one on Social Intelligence and Self Awareness, building on the 1998 Gordon Gallup article on that topic.

Besides the students covering and commenting on a wide range of literature, John also puts up weekly readings in pdf format. So this week we have Northcutt on Understanding Vertebrate Brain Evolution and Streidter on Progress in the Study of Brain Evolution.

Last semester I also worked with students blogging. For my medical anthropology class, we ran a student-only blog here at WordPress, where students posted materials, worked up introductions to main readings before discussing them in class, and generally commented on life. It was very easy to set up, and was a closed entity (just for the class and me). So that is one option.

Another option is to have more formal posts done by students, who develop original posts for a public blog (namely this one!). In my class on addiction, groups of students worked on creating some very successful posts on topics ranging from brain imaging to post-conventional outlaws (see them all described here).

So there are lots of ways to get students involved! If you have any more ideas, please let me know with a comment.

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