04

ANTH 101 – A Deeper Dive

It’s been a good while since I had the pleasure of working with Mike Wesch and Ryan Klataske on ANTH 101. I revisited the course recently to write a letter of support for an award submission for online courses. I am posting an extended version of that letter below because I think it paints a path with online courses that is rarely followed but is, nonetheless, replicable and worth considering. Bigger Picture? I see ANTH101 as a path forward that makes me hopeful in an online space that seems increasingly depressing.1 You have two races currently in online learning. There is a race to be the cheapest and easiest place to enroll.2 This article on Liberty “University” paints that picture pretty well. This world will be like the fast food industry in many ways. How uniform can we make things? How automated? What’s the least we can pay the fewest humans? The only path to profit will be through ridiculous scale. There will be very little difference between these providers. They will use LMS products that are very similar while following very similar online course rubrics and probably (poorly) paying many of the same adjunct/itinerant online course faculty. Additional sadness will occur when the same OPM is creating content, marketing etc. for multiple universities for the same courses and programs.3 […]

18

ANTH101 v 3.ish

“You cannot think your way into a new way of living. You have to live your way into a new way of thinking.” – Mike Wesch You can’t beat that quote as a way to frame a course and it’s nice to consider how digital content supports that kind of perspective on learning/living. It’s also a key consideration in how I think about building courses like this. You have to do it. You shouldn’t expect to be perfect the first time, or the second, or ever really but if you’re doing it right improving it should be worth the investment. You should get some joy out of the process and it should alleviate things that cause you pain. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mike Wesch and Ryan Klataske at Kansas State over the last few years1 on the ANTH101 site. It’s been an interesting progression over time as the course has continued to evolve. We’ve gone done a variety of paths and dealt with human and technical issues. It has been interesting to participate in the ongoing co-evolution of aesthetics, mechanics, and content. It’s also a scenario where I wish I’d have done a much better job with screenshots so I could more accurately show you how the site has evolved.2 After an initial meeting at Kansas State […]

ANTH 101 Rebirth

I had the chance to work more on the ANTH 101 site with Ryan and Mike over winter break. It’s a pretty significant change. It’s almost entirely gutted in terms of the WordPress side of things with a different theme, some new plugins etc. but also some significant changes on how student see and interact with the work they make. Some of the initial conversations resulted in the Minimal WordPress work which . . . we ended up tossing.1 But what we ended up creating is pretty slick and does a number of pretty interesting things. The Bones ANTH101 is a large class- several hundred students large – so a chunk of being able to deal with that is making things simple for students. A large chunk of work went towards simplicity. Another large chunk of effort went towards making it feel and look app-like on a phone. That’s the equivalent of making it look cool/interesting and feel modern – pretty much the opposite of most course site software. It was expected students would be using their phones to submit work and browse. ANTH101 runs on a child-theme of Boss.Not like this boss (#nsfw). There are few different plugins that make it all work. The major ones are as follows – Visual Composer – both Mike and Ryan want to […]