Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School


In a couple of weeks I head "back to school". This time it's different - I return to the hallowed halls of the Tory Building not as a student but as a PhD!

This fall I will be teaching Anthropology 101: Introductory Anthropology at the University of Alberta. I last taught this course in 2008. I learned so much about teaching the first time around and I take my teaching evaluations very seriously.  This means I've been spending quite a bit of time reworking my syllabus and my lectures, reading about curriculum development, revising assignments, developing learning objectives, and thinking about exams and the "best" way(s) to evaluate my students.

The subject matter is also exciting. One of the things I love about anthropology is that it is ultimately the study of humans. This means everything and anything are fair game for discussion. I get to talk about tattooing and body modifications, cyborgs and organ transplants, graffiti, gold farming and online economies, and "modern" languages such as Na'vi and those in the worlds of Jade Empire, Dragon Age and Mass Effect as created by BioWare. Of course I cover all the basic, "traditional" 101 concepts like hominid evolution, social stratification, kinship, and gift-giving too.

I can't wait to start teaching again; but I must also admit I'm looking forward to some back to school shopping too. I may just have a "thing" for new stationary and a Professor has gotta look respectable right !?