Dr. Dana Osborne
Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Course: ANT 100: Introduction to Anthropology
Strategy: Big themes with student input, synchronous, mutual learning, mutual respect, sharing, vulnerability, non-replicable, organic experience
At the core of Dana’s introductory Anthropology course is the study of human connection. Teaching in a remote environment forced her to rethink how her students could connect with each other as part of their learning even though they would not be in the same physical space. She also decided her forms of assessment (essays and exams) would need an overhaul.
In researching a possible replacement for her existing textbook, she came across The Art of Being Human: A Textbook for Cultural Anthropology by Michael Wesch.
Using this Open Educational Resource (OER) as inspiration, Dana developed a weekly approach to her course consisting of short recorded lectures, two-hour live discussions, and small weekly assignments. Students were also encouraged to share personal stories and build trust with each other inside and outside of the classroom.
The result was a unique, organic learning opportunity for her students based on their own life experiences. She found they were more engaged and more willing to participate than she expected, and she plans to bring her new approach back with her to the physical classroom one day.