Can You Hear Me John? Teaching and Learning Anthropology in a Real and Virtual Classroom
(University of St Andrews)
John Knowles (University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
The evening degree at St Andrews is for mature students from non-traditional pathways. This co-authored paper (lecturer and student) considers the pedagogical challenges in teaching and learning anthropology on an interdisciplinary degree combining classroom and blended synchronous learning.
Paper long abstract:
St Andrews was recently judged the second most unequal university in the UK but little is known of the Lifelong and Flexible Learning programme. In this co-authored paper, Karen Lane (lecturer) and John Knowles (student) explore the pedagogical and practical challenges of teaching and learning anthropology. Anthropology is one of eleven subject choices, in both physical and social sciences, available on the St Andrews evening degree. Implicit in this offering is interdisciplinarity as an intrinsic good but in our experience this is rarely addressed directly. The challenge here goes beyond explaining and learning different academic conventions to how tension and complementarity of disciplinary approaches affects academic thinking. How do we enable students to move beyond interesting ethnography, or a focus on sample size, to 'thinking anthropologically'? The mature student cohort varies in age, life experience and prior academic exposure. Developing teaching materials to suit different learning styles is a constant challenge. Learning to teach becomes an immersive, experiential training, divorced from both classroom-based and e-learning 'how to be a lecturer' courses. What impact does this have on student learning? Students attend classes either in person or via blended synchronous learning. Although 'can you hear me John?' is a frequent question, we wish to go beyond the practicalities to consider sociality in the classroom. How do students form as a group, both formally and informally, when real and virtual classrooms are combined, and how does this impact on student learning?
Teaching and learning anthropology and ethnography in transforming contexts: objectives, practices, pedagogies and challenges [TAN]