Every student can benefit from a well-rounded education, with courses in humanities providing students with strong critical thinking, writing and speaking skills. Online humanities classes can bring humanities learning to more students, making it more accessible to many people.
Teaching Humanities Online
Humanities courses traditionally rely upon discussion, writing, and even argument to broaden students’ minds and introduce new ideas. The use of smart new educational tools enables instructors to translate the ideal humanities learning environment into an online course. With the right online learning technology, instructors can help their students master writing, discussion and critical thinking skills, learn to carefully contemplate philosophy or literature, and move forward as thoughtful and well-rounded individuals. The same tools are equally effective to support in-classroom learning or a blended or flipped classroom structure.
Creating Smart Lectures
Humanities classes, especially at the higher levels, typically rely a very great deal on in-class discussion. There are effective ways to adapt that to an online learning environment.
- Integrate visual material into lectures using document cameras, desktop screensharing and your SmartBoard.
- Produce short lectures to start online discussions about a particular work.
- Provide access to works of art, literature, or philosophy using online file sharing.
- Set times for online video collaboration to encourage small group video discussion with students.
Encouraging Discussion and Critical Thinking
There are many benefits to the study of the humanities, particularly improved critical thinking skills. Smart and thoughtful online discussions encourage your students to absorb, consider and engage with the material presented in your class. You can support them by doing the following:
- Offering questions and comparisons.
- Questioning common ideas or views.
- Asking students to compare similar or different works of art, literature, or philosophy.
All of these discussion strategies translate well to YuJa’s multimedia discussions. In addition, you can rely upon file sharing and personal web capture to encourage students to create thoughtful assignments to turn in for a grade or to share with classmates.
Mondan, Aurelien and Hoffstaedter, Gerhard. “Could Online Courses Be the Death of the Humanities?” The Guardian. December 7, 2012. Web. Accessed on 31 August 2015.
Treaster, Joseph B. “Liberal Arts: A Lost Cause.” The New York Times. July 31, 2015. Web. Accessed on 31 August 2015.