Students

BIOX2320 – Science of Sex

2021 – Session 2, Fully online/virtual

Session 2 Learning and Teaching Update

The decision has been made to conduct study online for the remainder of Session 2 for all units WITHOUT mandatory on-campus learning activities. Exams for Session 2 will also be online where possible to do so.

This is due to the extension of the lockdown orders and to provide certainty around arrangements for the remainder of Session 2. We hope to return to campus beyond Session 2 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Some classes/teaching activities cannot be moved online and must be taught on campus. You should already know if you are in one of these classes/teaching activities and your unit convenor will provide you with more information via iLearn. If you want to confirm, see the list of units with mandatory on-campus classes/teaching activities.

Visit the MQ COVID-19 information page for more detail.

General Information

Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Laura Hurley
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit is designed to appeal to a broad diversity of students, from those studying science to those in anthropology, arts, communication, education, psychology, sociology, etc. Indeed, we hope it will engage all students with an active interest in being alive! A scientific background is not required for students taking this unit, but we hope to provide students with a scientific approach to understanding sex. This unit takes a broad approach, using examples (some quite bizarre) from the animal and plant worlds. At the same time, it covers in depth the sexual biology and behavioural science of our own intriguing species. All enrolment queries should be directed to Open Universities Australia.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Differentiate between asexual and sexual reproduction, and articulate why sexual reproduction has evolved
  • ULO2: Understand and use correct biological terminology
  • ULO3: Comprehend core evolutionary processes, especially in relation to sexual selection, and the distinction between sexual and natural selection
  • ULO4: Investigate different mating systems for both plants and animals, and compare the strategies used by males and females from each system
  • ULO5: Succinctly summarise and effectively communicate scientific information on a sexual selection topic.
  • ULO6: Synthesise and critically evaluate perspectives from primary scientific papers in the sexual selection literature

General Assessment Information

ASSESSMENT DETAILS

Quiz 1: Integrity Module Mastery Quiz (0%)

Integrity Model and proper referencing: Integrity Module (which you will need to complete to have full access to the rest of the course) and associated resources are available on the course iLearn. You will have to register for the Integrity module using your Student ID. Five topics are covered: what is academic integrity, acting with integrity, responsibility and rights, library searches, communication skills, referencing and plagiarism, and online exam (quizzes) and academic integrity. Therefore, Quiz 1 actually the integrity module quiz, so it is recommended that you go through and the entire module before attempting the quiz. The information provided in this module is necessary for all assessments in this unit.

It is recommended you complete this as soon as logging into the course, or by 13/8/21 – the day before your first assessment it due.  

Proper referencing: Note we will be using Harvard Style referencing, please familiarise you self with it as it will be what we expect you to use in assessments. The library has a great information on it: https://libguides.mq.edu.au/referencing/Harvard

 

Science Literacy assessment (5% each topic, 20% total, 4 due dates)

Science Literacy assessments: These four short assignments will help you understand what makes a good scientific source, the importance of good background and methods information, and how to interpret data output from experiments. These assessments will help you do your poster assessment. Assessments will be completed online in a quiz like environment with no time limit. Some work will need to be done outside of iLearn (e.g. looking at websites or using excel) will be required. 

 

Quizzes 2-11 (5% each topic, 50% total)

Weekly online quizzes: 25-min quizzes compiled of ~20 questions (23 marks; ~1 minute per question) and completed in iLearn. The time is short, and you only have one attempt as these quizzes are designed to be taken as closed note, i.e. you have studied and know the information before beginning the quiz. A variety of question types are included, including multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and matching. Quizzes test your knowledge of the content from the corresponding lectures and linked reading assignments. These quizzes will become available no later than the Friday after the associated lectures are completed (with exception of quiz 7 which will become available after due date for 2-6 has passed). 

Quizzes 2-6 are due by the first Sunday of Mid-semester break – 19/9/21. Quizzes 7-11 are due by first Sunday after Exams start – 14/11/21. We strongly suggest that you do the quizzes each week rather than waiting until mid-break or the end of semester. It also is easier to do them when information is fresh.

 

Scientific poster assessment – this will account for 30% of your total grade and has three parts to it:

PART 1 - PRACTICE POSTER REVIEW (0%)

In WORKSHOP you will be provided with three online example posters that require assessment in week 10 – 15/10/21. You must do them before you can submit your own poster to Workshop for Peer Review, but it is SUGGESTED you do this in advance of making/submitting your own poster so you can see what makes a good poster!

PART 2 – POSTER ASSESSMENT (25%):

Based on a real data set (provided in iLearn), the idea is to take on the role of the researcher and present the research findings as if they are your own. More detailed instructions will be provided in iLearn. Various resources to help you are available on iLearn under ‘Poster Assessment’. 

A poster communicating your research findings is due the first day of week 11 – 18/10/21. Submission is online via the Poster assessment links in TurnItIn AND Workshop. The poster should be created in PowerPoint, Keynote or Open Office only, and then converted to a pdf for online submission via TurnItIn AND Workshop. 20% of your mark comes markers marking your TurnItIn poster, and 5% comes from your peers making it in Workshop (see below). There is no in-person presentation of the poster, just online submission. 

POSTERS MUST BE TURNED IN TO TURNITIN AND WORKSHOP ON DUE DATE TO AVOID LATE PENALTIES.

*** As this course has no final exam, the mark for this assessment will be release with your final grades. *** 

PART 3 – PEER REVIEW MARKING (5%)

You will be randomly allocated five posters from your peers, and will be required to evaluate them online in iLearn by last day of class in week 13 – due 5/11/21. This assignment and ability to mark will open approximately one week after poster submission to allow for approved late submissions. Your ability to mark appropriately (compared to other students and the convener) will be graded. Detailed instructions are provided in iLearn. You should also re-read the ‘poster summary’ in iLearn before reviewing (see ‘Poster Creation’ section in iLearn). 

In order for your poster to be marked by your peers, you will need to submit it via the peer review assessment workshop link in iLearn. Again, please do this by the first day of week 11 – 18/10/21 (i.e. you will submit your poster to WORKSHOP AND TURNITIN). You will be provided with three online example posters that require assessment before you submit your own poster (complete by end of week 10 – 15/10/21) – this is to give you experience in peer review and to give you ideas for your own poster. You must complete the practice reviews before you can submit your poster to workshop!  

 

Final exam: There is no final exam! 

 

ASSIGNMENT SUBMISSION DETAILS

Science literacy: Assessments will be completed online in a quiz like environment with no time limit. Some work will need to be done outside of iLearn (e.g. looking at websites or using excel) will be required, but no separate documents will need to be submitted.

Poster assessment: You should submit your poster as a PDF file only to the poster assessment link. The text included in your poster PDF is submitted to turnitin.com to check for plagiarism, so your original poster file must be created in PowerPoint, Keynote or Open Office only so that the text can be read by TurnItIn. Posters created in graphics-based programs like Photoshop and Illustrator will not be accepted by TurnItIn as they make words images. More specific instructions on how to submit TurnItIn assessments are found in the Poster Assessment section in iLearn under the ‘poster submission’ subheading. If the entire document cannot be assessed for plagiarism by TurnItIn you will lose 25% off mark, if parts of the document cannot be assessed for plagiarism you will lose 10% off your mark. Posters with high plagiarism scores will be submitted for review by the university’s Faculty Disciplinary Committee as outlined in Academic Integrity Module. 

General instructions on how to submit assessments in iLearn are provided online at ‘iLearn help guides’. 

Peer review: First, before you submit your poster you should mark the three practice posters in the peer review link (scroll down to the bottom of the page when you enter workshop). We suggest you do this well before the due date so that you can get some ideas for your own poster. Second, you should submit your completed poster PDF to the peer review. The poster PDF submitted to the peer review link will then be randomly allocated and marked by your peers. Instructions on how to submit via the peer review link are found in iLearn under the ‘peer review’ subheading. Third, log back in and complete peer review of 5 of your fellow student’s poster.

 

EXTENSIONS AND LATE SUBMISSIONS PENALTIES: 

Assessments submitted after the due date and without an approved Special Consideration will be penalized 10% of the mark allocated for the assessment per day late. For example, if the assessment carries a value of 25% of the total unit grade and an initial score of 20/25 (80%) is achieved but has been submitted one day late, 10% of the initial possible mark (i.e. 25*10% = 2.5 points) will be subtracted from the initial score (i.e. 20-2.5 = 17.5 out of 25 = 70%).

All applications for extensions of deadlines with out penalty must be submitted to via the University’s special considerations form (see details and form link below). All applications for special consideration or extension must be sought before the due date unless this is absolutely impossible (in which case you have 5 days from the due date). 

 

PLAGIARISM:

All written work must be in the student's own words. Assessments submitted via Turnitin will be subjected to plagiarism detection. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Penalties for plagiarism range from loss of marks to awarding a zero, depending upon the level of plagiarism, and will be reported to the Faculty Disciplinary Committee.

 

The Special Consideration policy, is appended to the unit guide, along with other policies: https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration 

The form: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration

 

ASSIGNMENT MARKS AND FEEDBACK:

Marks for each assessment can be found in the iLearn grade book (click on the Tools tab at the top of screen, and then on Grades). 

Science literacy: Feedback will be provided online after completion date.

Poster: Feedback for the poster will be provided online via GradeMark – click on the ‘Poster assessment’ link to view. Instructions on how to view feedback and grades are found in iLearn under the ‘poster marks/comments’ subheading.

Quizzes: Quizzes are to be treated as exams, therefore direct feedback will not be provided. However, I am happy to review quizzes with you after you complete it. Marks will be available in the grade book after you finish each quiz.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Science Literacy assessment (5% each topic, 20% total, 4 due dates) 20% No SL1 13/8/21, SL2 27/8/21, SL3 10/9/21, SL4 1/10/21
Quizzes 2-11 (5% each topic, 50% total) 50% No Q2-6 19/9/21, Q7-11 14/11/21
Poster assessment 25% No 18/10/21
Peer review 5% No 5/11/21

Science Literacy assessment (5% each topic, 20% total, 4 due dates)

Assessment Type 1: Professional writing
Indicative Time on Task 2: 24 hours
Due: SL1 13/8/21, SL2 27/8/21, SL3 10/9/21, SL4 1/10/21
Weighting: 20%

 

These four short written assignments will help you understand what makes a good scientific source, the importance of good background and methods information, and how to interpret data output from experiments. Submit via TurnItIn.

 


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Differentiate between asexual and sexual reproduction, and articulate why sexual reproduction has evolved
  • Understand and use correct biological terminology
  • Comprehend core evolutionary processes, especially in relation to sexual selection, and the distinction between sexual and natural selection
  • Investigate different mating systems for both plants and animals, and compare the strategies used by males and females from each system
  • Succinctly summarise and effectively communicate scientific information on a sexual selection topic.

Quizzes 2-11 (5% each topic, 50% total)

Assessment Type 1: Quiz/Test
Indicative Time on Task 2: 40 hours
Due: Q2-6 19/9/21, Q7-11 14/11/21
Weighting: 50%

 

You will undertake 10 weekly quizzes covering both presented material and any readings associated with lectures.

 


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Differentiate between asexual and sexual reproduction, and articulate why sexual reproduction has evolved
  • Understand and use correct biological terminology
  • Comprehend core evolutionary processes, especially in relation to sexual selection, and the distinction between sexual and natural selection
  • Investigate different mating systems for both plants and animals, and compare the strategies used by males and females from each system

Poster assessment

Assessment Type 1: Poster
Indicative Time on Task 2: 40 hours
Due: 18/10/21
Weighting: 25%

 

Based on a real data set selected from those provided in iLearn, you will take on the role of the researcher and present the research findings as if they are your own.

Submitted online only (TurnItIn AND Workshop), no in-person presentation.

 


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Differentiate between asexual and sexual reproduction, and articulate why sexual reproduction has evolved
  • Understand and use correct biological terminology
  • Comprehend core evolutionary processes, especially in relation to sexual selection, and the distinction between sexual and natural selection
  • Investigate different mating systems for both plants and animals, and compare the strategies used by males and females from each system
  • Succinctly summarise and effectively communicate scientific information on a sexual selection topic.
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate perspectives from primary scientific papers in the sexual selection literature

Peer review

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 4 hours
Due: 5/11/21
Weighting: 5%

 

Marking your peer's posters. You will be randomly allocated five peer posters and will be required to evaluate them online in iLearn's Workshop.

There is practice marking you have to complete before you can submit your poster for the peer assessment to help standardise you to the marking requirements.

 


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate perspectives from primary scientific papers in the sexual selection literature

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Website

iLearn http://ilearn.mq.edu.auwill be the principle method of communication in this unit, and you should be checking it regularly (every 2 days at absolute minimum). Some communication may also occur via student email. Please note that all university communications will go to your student email only.  If you have a personal email account that you check more often, please organize to forward your student email to that account.

You are expected to use iLearn for:

·              Regularly checking subject announcements

·              Discussing lectures and readings with convener/tutor and other students

·              Downloading lecture and reference materials

·              Completing/submitting assessment tasks (online quizzes require a stable/fast internet connection)

·              Receiving feedback for assessment tasks

·              Checking your grades

How do you log in

Use your Macquarie OneID and password to login. If you are having problems logging in after ensuring you have entered your username and password correctly, you should contact Student IT Help, Email: help@mq.edu.au

 

Timetable

Lectures: There are 3 hours of lectures a week. This course is entirely online, there are no face-to-face lecturesAll lectures will be pre-recorded and made available in the week they are scheduled to be delivered in ECHO360 and in a folder under each week. An audio file of the lecture and PDFs of the slides presented will also be provided in the folder for those with low bandwidth. Convenor will run weekly Q&A sessions – TBA. Additional questions can be posted on the appropriate discussion board and will be answered. 

 

Lecture times: No formal time. Lectures will be released the Friday before the week you are intended to watch them.

 

Tutorials: There are no formal tutorials in this course, look for online resources that will help you prepare for your assessments.

 

Readings

There is no textbook. Relevant papers and book chapters are provided in iLearn under the ‘Required readings’ link each week, which will be included in the quizzes. Additional, “for interest” readings will also be provided, but will not be on quizzes.

Discussion boards

Discussion boards are set-up for students to ask general questions that may be of interested to the entire class, e.g. questions about lecture or assessments (there will be separate discussion boards set-up for these topics). These discussion boards are moderated by the course convenor. However, if you know the answer to a fellow student's question, please feel free to respond, but be respectful to your fellow students or your comment will be deleted.

** Do not post about personal matters on discussion boards, these should be directed to the course convenor via "Contact convenor privately" link.**

Announcement board

This will be used by the course convenor to make course wide announcements that impact everyone. For example, changes in schedule, reminders of due dates, updating of information, and general comment feed back about the assessments.

 

Required unit materials

Textbook

There is no textbook for this course, reading supporting the lectures will be supplied on iLearn with that week’s materials which you will be quizzed on.

Software

The poster file must be created in PowerPoint, Keynote or Open Officeonly, so please make sure you own or have access to one of these software programs. You are also expected to create graphs for the poster presentation, so you should own or have access to Excel or another similar program (e.g. Numbers, Open Office Spreadsheet, KaleidaGraph).

 

Students with no science background (or it has been a long-time since your last science course)

Please see the “Science Introduction for non-science majors” tab on iLearn before starting this unit. There will be several readings that provide you with a crash course in biological and evolutionary concepts. Do the readings and then take the optional ‘biological and evolutionary concepts quiz’, which will test your recollection of the major concepts. This quiz closes at the end of week 4 and you have unlimited attempts. It is unscored, but will make sure you have the background you need to move forward in the course.

Unit Schedule

Lecture#

Session

Week

Quiz#

Date

2021

Lecturer

Topic

1

1

-

26-July

L Hurley

Unit outline

2

L Hurley

Assessment

3

L Hurley

Evolution

4

2

2

2-Aug

Michael Gillings

Why have sex?

5

Michael Gillings

Sex determination

6

Michael Gillings

Gonad development

7

3

3

9-Aug

Michael Gillings

Development of human genitalia

8

Michael Gillings

Hormones, cycles, puberty, pregnancy

9

Michael Gillings

Gametes, fertilisation, contraception

10

4

4

16-Aug

Michael Gillings

Love, neurobiology and orgasm

11

Michael Gillings

Sexually transmitted infections

12

Michael Gillings

Human mate choice

13

5

5

23-Aug

Andrew Barron

Sexual diversity I

14

Andrew Barron

Sexual diversity II

15

Andrew Barron

Sexual diversity III

16

6

6

30-Aug

Andrew Barron

Sexual diversity IV

17

L Hurley

Animal reproduction 

18

L Hurley

Animal mating systems

19

7

7

6-Sept

 

L Hurley

Sexes and sexual selection

20

Martin Whiting

Mate competition

21

Martin Whiting

Mate choice

Mid-Term Break 13-24 September

22

8

8

27-Sept

 

L Hurley

Multiple mating & Genitalia

23

L Hurley

Sperm competition

24

L Hurley

Sperm Selection and Fertilization

25

9

9

4-Oct* *Monday is a holiday

Matt Bulbert

Sexual signals I

26

Matt Bulbert

Sexual signals II

27

Matt Bulbert

Sexual signals III

28

10

10

11-Oct

L Hurley

Cryptic choice

29

Kate Barry

Sexual conflict & SAC

30

Kate Barry

Sexual cannibalism

31

11

11

18-Oct

Brian Atwell

Plant reproduction I

32

Brian Atwell

Plant reproduction II

33

Julia Cooke

Sexual deception in plants

 

12

-

25-Oct

 

 

 

13

-

1-Nov

 

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://policies.mq.edu.au). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/policies). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central (https://policies.mq.edu.au) and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-conduct

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

ASSIGNMENT SUBMISSION DETAILS

Science literacy: Assessments will be completed online in a quiz like environment with no time limit. Some work will need to be done outside of iLearn (e.g. looking at websites or using excel) will be required, but no separate documents will need to be submitted.

Poster assessment: You should submit your poster as a PDF file only to the poster assessment link. The text included in your poster PDF is submitted to turnitin.com to check for plagiarism, so your original poster file must be created in PowerPoint, Keynote or Open Office only so that the text can be read by TurnItIn. Posters created in graphics-based programs like Photoshop and Illustrator will not be accepted by TurnItIn as they make words images. More specific instructions on how to submit TurnItIn assessments are found in the Poster Assessment section in iLearn under the ‘poster submission’ subheading. If the entire document cannot be assessed for plagiarism by TurnItIn you will lose 25% off mark, if parts of the document cannot be assessed for plagiarism you will lose 10% off your mark. Posters with high plagiarism scores will be submitted for review by the university as outlined in Academic Integrity Module. 

General instructions on how to submit assessments in iLearn are provided online at ‘iLearn help guides’. 

Peer review: First, before you submit your poster you should mark the three practice posters in the peer review link (scroll down to the bottom of the page when you enter workshop). We suggest you do this well before the due date so that you can get some ideas for your own poster. Second, you should submit your completed poster PDF to the peer review. The poster PDF submitted to the peer review link will then be randomly allocated and marked by your peers. Instructions on how to submit via the peer review link are found in iLearn under the ‘peer review’ subheading. Third, log back in and complete peer review of 5 of your fellow student’s poster.

 

EXTENSIONS AND LATE SUBMISSIONS PENALTIES: 

Assessments submitted after the due date and without an approved Special Consideration will be penalized 10% of the mark allocated for the assessment per day late. For example, if the assessment carries a value of 25% of the total unit grade and an initial score of 20/25 (80%) is achieved but has been submitted one day late, 10% of the initial possible mark (i.e. 25*10% = 2.5 points) will be subtracted from the initial score (i.e. 20-2.5 = 17.5 out of 25 = 70%).

All applications for extensions of deadlines with out penalty must be submitted to via the University’s special considerations form (see details and form link below). All applications for special consideration or extension must be sought before the due date unless this is absolutely impossible (in which case you have 5 days from the due date). 

 

PLAGIARISM:

All written work must be in the student's own words. Assessments submitted via Turnitin will be subjected to plagiarism detection. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Penalties for plagiarism range from loss of marks to awarding a zero, depending upon the level of plagiarism, and will be reported to the Faculty Disciplinary Committee.

 

The Special Consideration policy, is appended to the unit guide, along with other policies: https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration 

The form: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration

 

ASSIGNMENT MARKS AND FEEDBACK:

Marks for each assessment can be found in the iLearn grade book (click on the Tools tab at the top of screen, and then on Grades). 

Science literacy: Feedback will be provided online after completion date.

Poster: Feedback for the poster will be provided online via GradeMark – click on the ‘Poster assessment’ link to view. Instructions on how to view feedback and grades are found in iLearn under the ‘poster marks/comments’ subheading.

Quizzes: Quizzes are to be treated as exams, therefore direct feedback will not be provided. However, I am happy to review quizzes with you after you complete it. Marks will be available in the grade book after you finish each quiz.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

Science literacy assessments will be done primarily online in a quiz-like interface. Previously they were submitted as self generated documents into TurnItIn.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
12/07/2021 Requested edits made
07/07/2021 First assessment (SL1) hand-in date updated 13/8 from 14/8.