Accepted paper:

The Benefits of Blackboard Collaborate for Teaching Dream Analysis Methods Online

Authors:

Matthew Newsom (Washington State University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I reflect on my experience teaching dream analysis methodologies online to suggest the application known as Blackboard Collaborate is useful for teaching interviewing techniques, fostering class discussion, and making virtual classrooms more personal.

Paper long abstract:

As a psychological anthropologist, I have used dream analyses in my research to study the relationship between individual and cultural practice. Since 2016, I have taught students to analyze dreams through an online class at an American university. In this paper, I reflect on my experience teaching dream analysis methodologies online to suggest potential benefits of using an online application known as Blackboard Collaborate. This application is similar to Skype and is ideal for teaching these methodologies because it enables students to see them work in action. Dream analyses themselves are very intimate, and the students who volunteer for these video-recorded sessions are surprisingly candid and typically share personal and emotional information related to their life histories, personal trauma, fantasies, and desires. As roughly 120 classmates from a variety of academic backgrounds look on, statements such as "I can't believe I'm even talking about this" are common. I explore possible explanations for why students are so open in such a public setting and ultimately propose this application makes virtual classrooms more personal and offers useful features for teaching interviewing techniques and fostering class discussion in general. I conclude by briefly comparing my experience with teaching these methods online to a recent experience of teaching them in front of a regular classroom setting at a university in Berlin. Through this comparative exercise, I consider the pros and cons of online teaching.

panel P044
Teaching and learning anthropology and ethnography in transforming contexts: objectives, practices, pedagogies and challenges [TAN]