Biotechnology and Society: Special Topics: Race, Class, and Gender in Food, Science, and Biotechnology
Spring 2021 - Hi! I hope this review is still applicable next year. For the third quarter of the Cluster, everyone splits into smaller (~20 student) seminars taught by either a professor or a GTA. They occur once a week and last for three hours. On Zoom this quarter, 20% of our grade came from Discussion Board Posts due before class and post-lecture quizzes (which opened after class and closed on Friday night), 10% from Perusall (we had multiple articles assigned each week but only had to annotate one on Perusall), 20% participation, 20% facilitation (you act as a "resident expert" on the readings for one week and give a 5-min presentation), and 30% from a Lightning Talk (5-minute presentation) and Research Report (4-5-pages) about a biotechnology we chose. The class was also structured so that you only had to complete 7 discussion board posts, quizzes, and Perusall annotations (you could miss 2 weeks and still get full credit), which helped lessen the load during midterm and finals weeks. I'm not sure if this will still be the structure for in-person, but I hope that it can give a general idea about what the class is like. The first hour was usually spent listening to that week's student facilitations, the second discussing them, and the third listening to Dr. Vaughn give a mini-lecture on the readings. (Her mini-lectures are similar to her lectures during the first and second quarters, and some of the information even comes back, which is interesting.) The quizzes were generally clear and quick (10-15 minutes), so I wouldn't stress, and she offers a few extra credit questions. In terms of grading, Dr. Vaughn was very fair and responded to questions during office hours and over email. We also had one assigned book ("Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists" by Aya Hirata Kimura), but we only discuss it week 7 (so you don't need to order it as soon as the quarter starts). TIP: start it a little earlier so you don't have to read the whole thing during week 6! Overall, I learned a lot of interesting information about how identity factors into food, and I would take this seminar again.