benjaminrhesse

benjaminrhesse

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Anth101 Case Study Crit

June 22, 2017

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Wow. I want to take this class. “The Science of Human Beings The Art of Being Human” is the title of this cultural anthropology class being offered through Kansas State University. You can take it for credit, you can take it for free, or you can use it as a template for teaching your own class. There are 10 lessons that are accompanied by 10 challenges. The professor, Michael Wesch, is a dynamic educator with a penchant for roller blades, long distance running, and using POV video as an essential teaching element. You tag along as he uses the outdoors as a classroom – literally. I especially enjoyed his video on Nacirema – American backwards – culture viewed through the lens of a cultural anthropologist. It was smart, funny, and a nice foil for his lecture on his time in Papua New Guinea and understanding witchcraft. Overall the website is the primary interface for the class and it it draws you in with its clean design, well crafted video, and simple interface. It is professional and it makes a difference with regard to promoting use.

The weekly theme of Inte5340 is “Copyright and Left,” which as our teacher writes, “…will look broadly at copyright & fair use in juxtaposition to open pedagogy. We will look at Public Domain & Creative Commons licensing and resources for digital storytelling and development of open educational resources (OER).” I see Wesch’s Anthropology class as an example of digital storytelling that emphasizes open educational resources. The class is free to the public, the resources and materials are also available for teachers/learners, and the purpose of all of this is to push the learner towards having agency. The act of creating knowledge is not merely consumption, but also sharing, communicating, and contributing to the process. This is a more democratic and horizontal approach that OER supports.

Thinking about my own teaching and learning, this is something that I would like to get better at. As a learner, I was drawn into the videos and probably spent too much time clicking around, rewatching, and thinking about the themes of the week. It was welcoming, creative, and interesting. In many ways, it is like my current class on digital storytelling. There are weekly themes, challenges, and input from our teacher via podcasts, videos, and social media. My students would enjoy this format as well. They love to do real world, authentic, project based learning and when framed properly, they dive right in. That said, as a teacher, I would be interested in seeing that backend of this type of educational structure. I worry that it might be somewhat unmanageable to create, track, give feedback, and grade the class. What would the pace be if everyone was moving along at different rates and exploring different projects? It is one thing to have a class of 20-30 college students, but having 130 high school freshman is a different animal. I think that I could take aspects of this class and incorporate them slowly over time and build towards something larger – step by step…

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