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Teaching Assistant Discussion Evaluation  - Sympatric Speciation


Did the students enjoy this discussion / project

1) I think they enjoyed the discussion. The fact that the papers were equivocal  - they found much to discuss.

2) Well, we had a good discussion about sympatric speciation.

3) I think few people did the reading. There was a lot and it was not the most straightforward stuff. I thought the reading was OK, but maybe we should have provided them with an introduction or what to look for as they read it.


What did the students learn from this discussion project?

1) Scientific storytelling - sympatry can be a confusing concept.

2) We discussed the problems with showing that two species diverged sympatrically. They learned that not all biology experiments are clear-cut (this was the case for Grant & Grant).

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

1) The papers allowed for discussion about experimental design and interpretation.

2) The students seemed to participate in the discussion.

3) Having very specific questions to ask helped. Also, I liked being able to ask them "Do you agree with the authors? Do you buy this?"

What didn't you like?

2) Both papers had equivocal results.


In what ways can this exercise be improved?

1) Perhaps an exercise or homework asking them what kind of experiments would be necessary to show speciation.

2) Maybe find a different paper to read - Coyne & Orr on Hawaiian Drosophila ???