Lecture 1: Introduction to the class



Lecture 1: Introduction to the class
Bio 307:
Biology of Sex
Lecture #1
Biology 307
Mark Sussman, PhD
Course summary and policies
• examine biology of sex - emphasis on humans
• evolutionary-based approach
• broad-based definition: behavior, physiology,
anatomy, and evolution
• complexities of sex in other non-human species
• fundamental understanding of biology essential:
DNA, mitosis, meiosis, genes, and heredity
• Long term goal: evaluate the basis of sex and
appreciate the power of sex as a driving force
for evolution
Passing on genetic material to the next
generation: the biology of sex
Course sections and topics
• Section 1: now until the first midterm covers
molecular, cellular, and organism biology of
human sexual reproduction (Mader textbook
and some DVDs).
• Section 2: after first midterm to second midterm
covers human reproductive biology (mostly
Mader textbook and another DVD or two).
• Section 3: after second midterm to end of class
evolutionary theories including genitalia, sperm
competition, promiscuity, genetic fitness,
and another few DVDs including Dr. Tatiana.
Goals of the course
• teach basics of human sex biology
• explore sex biology of non-human species
• challenge your ideas about reasons for sex
• enhance critical thinking about sex and evolution
• offer multiple explanations for sex (motivation)
• encourage open discussion and debate
• promote individual / group participation in lectures
• have fun with a potentially delicate subject
• educate and enlighten without offending
Challenge (and maybe change) your
thinking about sexual biology
Grading for the course
• two midterms and one final exam
• final exam only covers the last third of the course
• each test counts equally for your grade (33%)
• material from text, lectures, videos, presentations
• no curve, standard grading (subject to change)
• multiple choice, Scantron ParScore (red) form
• Bring form and #2 pencil with you to class for tests!
• No extra credit on the written tests, but you will
have ample opportunity to earn extra credit
Extra credit toward your grade
• Available on each test
• Additional five questions for extra credit
• Each question worth 2 points - up to 10 points per test
• Questions based upon Desmond Morris “The Human
Sexes” videos posted on the class website.
• Six chapters in the series
• Test 1: Chapters 1 and 2
• Test 2: Chapters 3 and 4
• Final Exam: Chapters 5 and 6
• Videos are large, so may take a few
minutes to download depending
upon your internet connection speed.
Extra Credit (part 2)
• Anything presented in class is fair game for tests
• You need to be here every day, especially when
we present videos
• the class will be better for everyone and you will
perform better (academically) if you are here
• pdf versions of my Powerpoint slides are posted on
the class website or find someone in class to
help you
Do yourself a favor and be
here for all the classes
Books and Videos
• presented in class
• take notes and retain information
• will be discussed in class
• review in class before tests
• books entitled Promiscuity (Birkhead) and The Human
Sexes (Morris) on reserve in the library
• The Dr. Tatiana book is also on reserve in the library
• I have additional reading if interested
• books and videos not loaned out individually, but are
available on Amazon.com (used prices are cheap) or
PBS.org if you want to purchase
Do yourself a favor and be
here for all the videos
Cheating and Academic Honesty
• You cheat, you get caught, you fail. Period.
• During testing: no talking, no waving at friends, no
wearing hats or concealing clothing, no cell
phones or iPads, no class materials
• You should be interested enough in sex to be able
to study and do well on the exams. No trick
questions, no gimmicks, ask if you don’t
Do yourself a favor and come
prepared to learn
Bloopers and Gaffes
• This is a difficult subject to teach
• I am not a sex expert
• I will screw up (as little as possible)
• I will admit my mistakes
• I ask for your patience and understanding
• I will do my best to make this fun for us all
• I am always open to constructive feedback
Help me make each class better
Test schedule
First test: October 3rd, 2013
Second test: November 7th, 2013
Final Exam: December 12, 2013 (10:30 am)
Be here. Be ready
Make-up exams? I don’t think so.
No excuses unless you’re dead or dying.
Make-up exams?
• You really don’t want to do this to yourself
• No makeups for any reason without valid reason
• Must provide documentation
• Make up exams will be essay-style
Do yourself a favor and be
here for all three tests
Selected comments from past semesters
• Probably the funniest professors at state but I suppose
you have to be to teach this class! He's a cool guy but
would be even cooler if he invested in some new jeans!
• This class WAS hilarious.... I had a blast doing the extra
credit. Sussman is "Ron Burgundy"!! He was the greatest.
We talked about sex and laughed every day. what's not to
like!!! He even gave away candy with every question you
• Good teacher but he looks like a 70’s porn king.
• Dr. Sussman is kind of a cross between David Hasselhoff
in Knight Rider and Will Farrell as Ron Burgundy in
• He’s like the crazy uncle you see once a year at family
Striking similarity? From another expert on sex…
Ron Burgundy: Discovered by the Germans in 1904,
they named it San Diego, which of course in German
means a whale's vagina.
Veronica Corningstone: No, there's no way that's
Ron Burgundy: I'm sorry, I was trying to impress
you. I don't know what it means. I'll be honest, I don't
think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars
maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of
years ago.
Veronica Corningstone: Doesn't it mean Saint
Ron Burgundy: No. No.
Veronica Corningstone: No, that's - that's what it
means. Really.
Ron Burgundy: Agree to disagree.
Class website
• or just type “tiny.cc/bio307”
•Contact information
• electronic version of class information
• link to websites of interest
• videos to watch
• research articles related to biology of sex
• updates and information you may need
Check the website!

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