One way to clarify and improve your understanding of how the immune system’s function relates to issues of health, medicine, and human well-being is to use what you have learned this semester to explain and contextualize information intended for a general audience. For this assignment, you can take that approach with any article that you find (or from a list that I provide and will continually update) that relates to the immune system.
There is no shortage of such articles these days. You can do this for any information, general press articles, or breaking news that you find in the course of your own life. These can certainly be about the current CoVID-19 pandemic, but that is not a requirement. Any popular press publication that focuses on an issue in which understanding how the immune system helps protect us against disease is acceptable. The more you seek out articles and pieces that you are interested in understanding more fully, the better your work will be.
This assignment can earn you up to 10 points toward the goal of 60 points needed for fulfillment of the Creative Work portion of your grade. You may do this assignment for up to two different articles*. Components may include any combination of the following elements:
Defining immunological terms: Up to 3 per article, worth 1 point each.
Examples might include terms such as ‘monoclonal antibody’, ‘cytokine storm’, or ‘inflammation’, used as part of an explanation of CoVID symptoms or treatments that are being tested.
Your definition should clearly indicate what the term means, as well as how it relates to the basic immune response.
Your definition must be related to the immune response. Terms such as ‘microbe’, ‘virus’, or ‘vector’ will not earn credit unless a direct and substantial link that connects them with the
immune response are included in the definition.
Describing an established immunological phenomenon that is mentioned in the article: Up to 3 per article, worth 2 points each.
Examples might include phenomena such as immune memory in response to a vaccine, antibody production by a person’s own B cells, or the use of pre-made antibodies to protect someone who has not yet been exposed to a microbe.
Your example should explain what the phenomenon is, how it relates to the basic immune response, and how those two aspects are relevant in the context of the article. Why is that function of the immune response important to understand the main points of the article?
Explaining a more complicated observation, one that is speculative or not clearly understood: Up to 2 per article, worth 4 points each.
This should be something that is not just an established, clearly understood phenomenon. It might be a new finding, or a surprise result, or an idea that seems like it should work but has proven ineffective. Your goal should be to explain what is being discussed and provide a possible explanation for what is being observed based on what you are learning this semester.
Examples might include: why convalescent plasma therapy might not be as effective in providing protection as has been hoped, why some people have more severe symptoms than others, or why a particular therapy failed in a clinical trial.
You may get partial credit for this section by just identifying relevant factors, but the full 4 points will require a more detailed analysis of the immunological basis of the observation, and proposed explanations of what might be causing it.
Be sure to STATE CLEARLY which of the three categories above each annotation is submitted as.
For each of these elements, it will be possible to get partial credit.
You will note that this can add up to more than 10 total points. You can complete a greater total point value for an article that you choose – if you get partial credit for any of your annotations, that will give you a cushion to still earn full credit. For example, if you complete annotations 2 definitions, 3 established phenomena, and 1 more complicated finding, the maximum would be 12 points. If you miss a point or two here or there, you would still be at 10 points and would earn full credit for this assignment.
*-If you do two articles, you should make sure that your definitions, descriptions, and explanations do not overlap in a major way between the two articles. For example, you should not define the same term even if it is found in both articles, or you should not describe the same phenomenon even if it is relevant for both articles. If you did do this, you would get credit for one instance of it, but not for both.
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