Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution OCW @ FIX University


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Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

Mohamed Noor

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.
Fernando IX University
The Genetics and Evolution Midterm Exam is on the digital horizon! The material covered is from Weeks 2-5, so there should be no worry that you have to watch the Week 6 videos or do the Week 6 problem set before attempting the exam. However, students are encouraged to complete all the Week 5 material, including the problem set, before attempting the midterm exam.

NOTE: Colin has generously researched the free online material associated with the Introduction to Genetic Analysis textbook and provided links to material that matches the Week 2-5 material. This can be found in the Suggested Optional Reading link along the navbar to the left of the Coursera class page. Please remember that this is optional material; the exams will only test material that was discussed in the class lectures.

The exam is split into two parts of 10 questions each. They are all multiple choice. Students on campus at Duke are normally given an average of 3 minutes per problem, for essentially the exact same problems. Dr. Noor has decided to offer 9 minutes per problem for the Coursera class, to better accommodate the range of language and background knowledge that our students possess. Therefore, each of the two parts to the midterm has a 90 minute time limit.

A student can start each section of the midterm exam at any time while it is open, between Nov. 9th 12:00 EST and Nov. 22nd 12:00 EST. The time limit for Part 1 will start as soon as you open Part 1, but Part 2 could be left unopened for a later day during the exam time frame.

For example, some students might find they have time for Part 1 on Nov. 11th, so they set aside 90 minutes to complete and submit that first portion of the midterm exam. Afterwards, they might leave Part 2 unopened until Nov 17th, when they have another 90 minute period available to complete the second portion of the midterm exam. At this time, they open Part 2 to complete and submit that portion within the allotted 90 minutes.

The 90 minute time limit is enforced even if you close the test or a technical failure occurs. To combat technical failures, we would recommend saving your progress after each question or two (the save button is at the bottom, next to the submit button; DON'T hit the submit button until you are completely finished with the section!!). In this way, your progress will be saved, and a temporary glitch will not prevent you from completing the exam.

The creation of two sections to the exam is designed to allow the students greater time flexibility for when you take the exams and also to avoid a complete loss if one section is submitted before the student is finished or if one section is lost due to technical failure.

We will also continue the policy of withholding exam results until the exam deadline has passed. At that time (Nov. 22nd, 12:00 EST) student can see their exam results in the same way they find the problem set results; click the “Problem Sets and Exams” link on the left side of the Coursera page, find the Midterm Exam sections listed there under Week 6, select “Show Previous Attempts” and finally choose the blue “Review” link along the right. Remember that discussing the exam questions before, during or after the exam period may result in removal from the course. Students are encouraged to review the
Grading Policy before taking the midterm.

Lastly, I will say that this is an experimental process of sorts for us, the instructor and staff, too. We don't know all the right ways to do everything. So we appreciate all our students' patience and we hope that our students can respect our effort and intentions, even when they disagree with our policy decisions.

- Justin Johnsen

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