Producing Video Lectures for HUMA 1301 and 1302

humanities

I’ve been working on some videos for my introductory humanities courses and thought I’d cross-post them to this site. I haven’t been updating the site very much, but I plan to change that very soon. For example, I now have a new page listed at the top of the site!

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Meaningful E-Learning Experiences

Positive and meaningful e-learning experiences are essential for student satisfaction with online courses.  However, there are several approaches to identifying and promoting such experiences in practice.  A review of the literature on positive and meaningful e-learning experiences revealed not only that course design and human connection are important for high levels of student satisfaction, but also that IT support and institutional infrastructure are vital to student satisfaction as well (Boling, Hough, Krinsky, Saleem, & Stevens, 2012; Carter et al., 2014; Salyers, Carter, Carter, Myers, & Barrett, 2014).  All of the studies consulted recommended interactive learning based on socio-constructivist principles as the most appropriate means for ensuring positive and meaningful e-learning experiences (Boling, Hough, Krinsky, Saleem, & Stevens, 2012; Carter et al., 2014; Luyt, 2013; Salyers, Carter, Carter, Myers, & Barrett, 2014; Watkins, 2014).  Watkins’ (2014) study even provided examples of learning activities that could be easily integrated into an online course without extensive instructor preparation or training.

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Overcoming the Challenges to E-Learning in Higher Education

Faculty whose teaching habits were developed in a traditional classroom setting are faced with a number of challenges when first attempting to create effective e-learning courses.  Most of the challenges identified below are the result of a widespread prejudice against e-learning: that it is inherently inferior to traditional instruction because it puts distance between the learner and the instructor.  Without the close proximity of instructor to student that we find in the traditional classroom, the argument goes, learners are forced to teach themselves the course content.  Inevitably, learners will fall short of the course’s learning goals without an expert instructor to guide their acquisition of knowledge.  Therefore, traditional instruction is to be preferred whenever possible.

How did this prejudice come to be?  Any attempt to employ traditional course content, without modification, in e-learning contexts reveals the key to the origins of this prejudice. For example, the lecture—a teaching method widely employed in the traditional classroom—does not lend itself to e-learning contexts because it can easily change from a dynamic performance for a specific audience to a static recitation when recorded and uploaded to a learning management system.  The lecture becomes a less effective means of delivering course content because its character shifts as it moves to a new environment.  The fact that course content is transformed by its mode of delivery is overlooked by faculty new to e-learning and student learning suffers as a result.  When student performance suffers because of a mismatch between content and technology, the mode of delivery is blamed for the defect rather than the design of the course content.  Thus, the prejudice against e-learning stems from a poor use of the technology that makes online education possible.  The problem of how to create effective course content for online contexts is not an easy one to solve, but it certainly cannot be solved by blaming the technology. Read More …

Why Teaching a Humanities Course Is Harder Than It Looks

I’m teaching three humanities courses this semester and so far it’s been an interesting journey. There have been no major hiccups in the lessons I’ve given and the results of the quizzes and writing assignments I’ve assigned have been mostly positive.

However, there’s something about teaching a general humanities course that bothers me just a little bit. My field is the humanities… in a general sense. I don’t have a degree with “Humanities” printed on it, but I do have several degrees in the related areas of philosophy and literature, which counts as being qualified to teach a humanities survey course. The problem I see with offering a broad course in the humanities is that you will never be able to find an instructor who is fully qualified to teach it. Read More …