Sample MOOC lectures

For Becoming Human: Anthropology, the production team made thirty-nine video lectures (6 to 10 minutes) with interactive quizzes, video feedback, a simulator exercise, and a host of other resources.

Although I hesitate to make much of the material available outside of Open2Study, I do want to post a few of the videos so that other educators can see the quality and production values that Open2Study put into these lectures. The amount of material that can be fit into a short video, when it’s well edited, is striking — before I participated in this production, I underestimated just how rich a short lecture could be.

The following clip is about how ‘you once had a tail,’ a topic I use in my introductory lecture to talk about the evidence for evolution as well as the way that evolution leaves bodies with quirks that can only be explained by understanding our inheritance.

If you’re wondering, the interactive writing was done by hanging a sheet of perspex (plexiglass) between me and the camera, I wrote on the surface with paint pens, and then the video was flipped so that my writing was right-way-round for the viewer (I’m not really left-handed). The technique was wonderfully low tech, and many of the people taking the course have commented on how effective it is. I love the very natural, organic way that this technique allowed me to talk and write.

The following video is the penultimate one, where I address the question about whether natural selection is still occurring.

Please contact me if you would like to more about the techniques we used to produce these videos.


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