Teaching Assistant Discussion Evaluation - Dawkins

Did the students enjoy this discussion / project

1)Yes, they enjoyed reading Dawkins. I don't know if they enjoyed POPULUS, but I think they found it useful.

2) Yes they especially enjoyed reading a paper and being able to do computer exercises that were discussed therein.

What did the students learn from this discussion project?

1) I think it worked well for demonstrating the concepts of selection, selection vs chance, strength of selection.

2) Mutation and selection are both important in the evolutionary process. Chance alone cannot account for the evolution of all the complexity in nature. Natural selection has no long term goal.

What did you like best about this week's discussion?

1) Comparing Darwin and Dawkins.

2) I liked the interplay between the readings and computer exercise. We could discuss evolution of mutation rates, effects of brood size on the time to evolve "METHINKS ...." phrase, and recombination in terms of the results of their experiments.

What didn't you like?
1) -
2) -

In what ways can this exercise be improved?

1) I think it is useful to explain brood size / mutation rate / and particularly recombination before they do the exercise. Perhaps some explanaion as to why recombination is effective - not just that it is.

2) I liked the exercise  - it got the students using Populus.