Slideshow on online publication and blogging for academics

I’ve just put up the slides for  presentation I did on online writing, blogging, web presence, and related topics for the grad students at the Woolcock Institute. They’re at Slideshare, so it’s easy to access them:


Presenting a lecture at the U of Maryland

I’ll be in the US at the end of November and beginning of December for Thanksgiving and the meeting of the American Anthropological Association. On 2 December, I’ll present a lecture on capoeira: Dance of the Disorderly: Capoeira, gang warfare and how history gets in the brain, in Saint Mary’s Hall at the University of Maryland (4:00-5:15 pm).Downey flyer Dec. 2 The flyer for the talk is attached.

I’m very lucky to be hosted by the Latin American Studies Center with the Departments of Anthropology and Physical Cultural Studies/Kinesiology, all thanks to the logistical prowess of Assoc. Prof. Laurie Frederik.

There will also be a live demonstration after the talk by the UMD Capoeira Club, so who knows what will happen?

First video in ‘Neuroanth 101’: WEIRD psychology

I’ve just launched publicly the first video in a new project, ‘Neuroanthropology 101: Body, Brain, Culture.’ The first video is on Youtube here, and it’s titled: WEIRD Psychology.

More information, including the script of the video can be found at in a new section for Neuroanth 101. For the moment, this is the first piece of the puzzle, but I’ll be slowly rolling out new videos.

There’s lots I could say about this video. It’s my first attempt at a ‘no budget, no camera’ conceptual video, using a wealth of public domain and creative commons resources. I’m excited about using this channel as a way to expand my ability to produce open resources and to share neuroanthropology. So far, the reception on our Neuranthropology Interest Group has been really positive, but this is a very sympathetic audience.

New video for Anth 151 for prospective students

The Macquarie University teaching weblog, Teche, picked up and promoted our new video to promote Anth 151, ‘Human evolution and diversity.’ Their story is here: What’s New in Anthropology?

I’m trying to experiment with low budget and zero budget video, to show what is possible given the new ubiquitous technologies of video and photography.  Virtually every one of us in Australia is now carrying a video camera at all times on our phones, and yet we are only slowly using video as a teaching tool. At the same time, the visual literacy of our audience is growing, including their capacity to deal with and process visual information from handheld devices. The tools for producing videos that come standard on a laptop, or are available at very reasonable prices, have made it possible to produce remarkable visual presentations.

One example of what I’m trying to do is the promotional video for the Fiji Field School (Anth 225, 2015):

A little more sophisticated is the video we did with technical support (but using prosumer technology and a quick turnaround):

Feedback on my MOOC: Becoming Human

Helen Carter at the Macquarie University Teche blog found a great comment from a student who had taken my Open2Study MOOC: ‘Becoming Human: Anthropology.’

One of my goals in producing the the MOOC was to encourage people to pursue university-level instruction, no matter what their age, so this comment was especially gratifying:

I can only say thank you, Open2study and Greg Downey. You have no idea what this means to me. It may not seem like a great achievement, but to know I can learn and comprehend and pass a course is a gift.

Brilliant introduction to both Anthropology and Study. As an older and first time student i now feel confident that i can further my knowledge in Anthropology. I feel quite proud of myself! Loved watching Prof. Greg Downey! He makes even the the most confusing topics a piece of cake 🙂

As I argue in a piece on ‘open education’ that’s forthcoming in American Anthropologist, we need to make sure that anthropology isn’t just ‘open’ in the sense that our journals and the things we write are not behind pay walls. Making anthropology truly ‘open’ means creating channels that help to invite people in.

Helen Carter, ‘Successful Open Education Course.’

Macquarie cleans up on ‘Lecturer of the Year’

I forgot about the Lecturer of the Year contest this past year, probably because I was applying for other stuff, but Macquarie University did really well. Our teaching blog, Teche, has the story (in ALL CAPS!): MACQUARIE DOMINATES THE LECTURER OF THE YEAR AWARDS!

Congratulations to everyone who did well, especially to Michael Gillings (who came in second overall) and to Paul Mason (who finished third!). Paul tells me that I have to tell students to make sure to vote for ‘Assoc Prof.’ Greg Downey, because I’m splitting my own vote among ‘Assoc. Prof.’, ‘Dr.’, ‘Mr.’, and whatever other title. At least one of my titles came in 13th in Australia!

Top ten lecturer of the year, 2010

I was really pleased to learn last week that I was short-listed for UniJobs ‘Lecturer of the Year,’ finishing eighth out of the all-Australia results (and second for Macquarie University staff, behind the excellent Prof. Michael Gillings).

Thanks to all the students who voted for me. The prize was an unexpected honour, as I didn’t even really know that the contest was going on. Thanks also to Paul Mason, my head TA who apparently put the students up to this!

The top ten listing is here.