The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Twerking, Limericks, and 3D Printing: Shaking up Human Osteology Assignments


Department of Anthropology, University of West Florida

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

The upper-level course Human Osteology is a requirement for undergraduates in the archaeology and biological anthropology B.A. tracks at the University of West Florida. UWF is a regional comprehensive university in Pensacola, FL, with large contingents of first-generation college students, active-duty military, and nontraditionally-aged students. This unique set of characteristics inspired us to devise a wide range of lab and in-class activities to engage a student body with diverse backgrounds and learning styles. In this presentation, we discuss three types of assignments that we have devised: 1) in-class review activities like OsteOlympics, a series of short activities that allow students to test their knowledge and win small prizes; 2) lab exercises, like asking students to describe, using anatomical terminology, the process of twerking; and 3) the utility of 3D printing, as our skeletal collection lacks hyoids and examples of pathological bone. We have also begun to assess the usefulness of the activities in fulfilling our student learning objectives; in Spring 2014, we simply gathered student feedback on the projects, but in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, we will be more thoroughly assessing the success of the assignments, with a view to sharing the exercises online at the end of the academic year. As a lab-based science course, Human Osteology is often taught in a very structured manner, but we aim to show that within that structure is a lot of room for twerking.