Week 7 Critique- ANTH101
“You can’t just think your way into a new way of living. You have to live your way into a new way of thinking.” (www.anth101.com)
For this weeks Critique I took a look at a course offered completely online for free (if no college credit is desired) by Michael Wesch at Kansas State University. This course is a wonderful way to build connections around the world with other students and really get to the heart of what Anthropology is. There is no better way to look at who humans, why they behave the way that they do, and how they form connections than by putting it into practice. The course consists of several challenges, over a 10 week period, and all students are expected to participate in the challenges and post to the class blog online.
There also is a textbook that goes along with the course and readings are done throughout the course to get at each weeks theme.
This book is something I definitely want to get around to reading. Depending on my schedule next summer, I would also love to take this course, but at the very least, this textbook looks like a wonderful resource. I love how each of the chapters really gets at everything about being human- from our language to tools to why we hate, Wesch explores a broad range of topics. The textbook then ends looking at how people who have lived before us have shaped the world and helped us get to where we are at currently. It also concludes with the fact that we collectively make up the world and the realizations we need to make along with that.
I was really impressed with how easy the layout of the course seems. It also seems very manageable. On a very basic level, there were a lot of parallels with format for this course we are currently in. I think after taking this course, I would be better equipped to participate in the project-based, online model. The information also looks very interesting to me. As someone who is not always into the newest digital, techy advances, I definitely do appreciate when technology is used to connect people. Now, I know we like to think we are way more connected than truly are, but courses like this offer those authentic experiences that go cross-culturally as well. This also reminds me of our video about campfire storytelling in this weeks playlist as they tried to get stories across cultures. In a similar fashion, ANTH101 is trying to really look at what makes us human, how we interact, and then have the students implement these authentic interactions through a free, online course.
Another aspect of the ANTH101 course. I appreciated was just how it was headed toward this more ‘open pedagogy’ model we talked about in earlier weeks. This really speaks to have a student-driven model to learning and allows the teacher to take on a different role than he traditionally would have in a classroom.
I think this course has several connections to both this weeks theme and the classroom. First, our theme this week is on Soliloquy & Dialogue which aims to look at how we connect with other humans and how the digital realm of things can extend on this initial platform. I think that this course does an excellent job of allowing the students to form connections across different cultures all while forming an online community. There is space for students to freely learn from each other and share their own personal experiences. As far as using this as teachers, I think this could be a great recommendation for older high school students if they wanted to get a little taste of college over the summer. If not taking this course directly, the textbook offers great units of study that can be incorporated across several content areas. In addition, the idea of having these weekly challenges where students create together and post to a central, online community is great. There are definitely aspects of the open pedagogy that we can incorporate into our own classrooms.
Overall, this looks like an awesome (free!) course! I definitely will check it out in the future. At the very least, I am going to peruse the textbook as I have time, and see what it is all about. I really appreciate the authenticity this course seemingly would bring even through a digital means. Those are the kinds of mediums I am drawn to, as I think storytelling, especially cross-culturally, can be very powerful. It also is evident that this course really gets at what it means to be human and make these kind of connections. This is so important for everyone to reflect on and realize their part in this bigger narrative than their just day to day life.