Taking Anthropology Online: AAA Workshop

The annual American Anthropological Association meeting will take place in Philadelphia from December 2nd – Dec 6th. I will put on a workshop entitled “Taking Anthropology Online: Strategies for Teaching and Scholarship” on Thursday Dec 3 from 12:00 noon to 2PM. Here’s the description:

Informants, students, communities, culture, inequality, data – all increasingly have a life online. This workshop will cover the basics of anthropology online, with a focus on content production, scholarship and teaching. Specific areas covered include: blogging, social networking, online video, podcasts and wikis.

There are still spots open for this workshop. It costs $20 for regular participants and $10 for students. If you have any questions, you can contact me (Daniel Lende) by just leaving a comment.

To see all the workshops, you can get the 2009 Workshops List here. You can register for my workshop, and any of the others, when you pick up your conference materials onsite in Philadelphia. Registration is on the 4th floor of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

9 thoughts on “Taking Anthropology Online: AAA Workshop

  1. Good workshop, and you will have a lot to offer. I would have been especially interested to attend this.

    Right now at my university there is some controversy about e-courses. One has to do with pedagogy, and the suspicion that delivery online will not have the same benefit as the more traditional course, meeting in a classroom. The second is unrelated, but quite nasty, and it has to do with the university appropriating for itself — illegally it seems — the rights to the professors’ courses, as they develop them, so that they can then take the course and allow others to teach it in the future…and without offering any course remission for developing the course (currently the case for e-courses).

    Can I ask you for your opinions on these subjects? I am a bit unmoved by the pedagogical claims, as I myself learn a great deal online. The second matter instead provokes me a great deal more.

    1. Max, I agree with your assessment. Delivery online offers possibilities as well as drawbacks, but certainly the debate shouldn’t be about whether it is effective or not. The NY Times reported on a study back in October where online learning was shown to be more effective than traditional classroom learning. Certainly textbooks and large parts of education are going to go through substantive transformations due on online content, delivery, access, etc., just as happened with the music industry. And our students are online. That’s the main justification for me – I can also reach them online, and not just through the traditional classroom.

      But for the second part, I completely agree. Universities know this future is coming, and they are looking to establish their place in this new domain and will surely exploit professors, students, staff and others to their advantage (patricularly when people aren’t paying attention). I agree, professsors need to be reimbursed for their work in developing a course. Perhaps a new model will come to be, where there is more division of labor – experts are developing web content, others at online interactions, others in traditional classrooms.

      I am quite ambivalent in some ways about the “free” mantra of the internet. The expectation is almost as if we have to give our work away for free at this point. It’s not a very humane model, as free doesn’t support my family. So we have to think carefully about what is actually happening and how we develop a “free” model that matches our ideals for education and for anthropology online. One piece that has really questioned me this way is Jason Baird Jackson’s Getting Yourself Out of the Business in Five Easy Steps, which speaks to the work we give away for free to multinational companies through the mantra of peer review. We definitely have to avoid the same dynamic online!

      1. Thank you for drawing the connection between the questions of enclosure that I raised in “Getting Yourself Out…” and the questions of enclosure that Maximilian Forte raised in his comment on your post. This is good to think about.

  2. Daniel,

    Looking forward to attending this workshop and to meeting you in person. I am still a neophyte to academia and slowly becoming enculturated, but stubbornly resistant to traditional models of pedagogy and the excited to meet others thinking about the future of “e-learning.” Thanks for providing an arena to work through these issues.

    (BTW, I’ll be presenting on the “Human No More” panel with Mike Wesch and Neil Whitehead on Friday morning at 8am. Hope you will attend!)

    Be well,

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