Media Projects Check-in (Friday, October 30, 2020)

The CMB network met on Friday, October 30, to discuss media projects in process by CMB members Shinobu Kitayama, Hakwan Lau, Tanya Luhrmann, Daniel Lende, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Tawni Tidwell. Click on the URL in the top left corner to watch the videos in Vimeo. The password is: Thialh02*

Integrative Software (Camtasia)

In the video below, Tawni Tidwell describes her experience using Camtasia (screen recording/video editing software) to provide mixed media (video, PowerPoint, YouTube clips, audio recordings) with synchronous/asynchronous content for her segments of the first-year course “The Art and Science of Human Flourishing.” NB: Camtasia provides a lot of support/tutorials.

Tawni said the videos (ranging from 6–8 min up to 24 min) are allowing students isolated in their dorms to engage with each other (e.g., teaching assistants manage chats during live video plenary sessions). Students provide feedback to the videos in the form of journal entries and their own videos. Tawni also said student engagement is much higher in the online course compared to the classroom course.

The Network will be setting up a  Camtasia demonstration later this month.

Online Lectures

Hakwan used his media projects honorarium to write a script for his Spring 2021 online class that he can pass on to his video editor (Peter Keating). Hakwan also mentioned using text animating software (it’s also possible to do this with Camtasia). The group discussed pluses and minuses of “live” talks with room for Q&A vs. recorded, scripted/subtitled talks.


In the following video, Jeffrey Snodgrass describes his experience podcasting to teach introductory anthropology using Audacity, free audio sofware. The 45–50 min podcasts are spare, content-focused, and incorporate music during slide breaks. Students do the readings, watch ethnographic videos outside of class, listen to the audio-only version of the lecture, and then attend a weekly Zoom discussion, in essence “flipping” the classroom. Jeff also instituted weekly quizzes. He is finding that about the same number of students are highly engaged in the online course as the pre-pandemic “live” course, however, and wondered how to increase that number in a wholly online course.

Daniel Lende has been working in a variety of synchronous and asynchronous modalities, including offering podcasts on demand; generally they are anywhere from 20–40 min. What has worked particularly well has been giving students the freedom to do the final project in whatever format they want (podcast format, video, traditional paper, pre-recorded or live).

Copyright/Fair Use

Sharing class material more widely (on YouTube, for example) may present legal issues (copyright and institutional policies prohibiting commercialization of material; protection of participants). It helps if the material is not being monetized and is not associated with an institution, in which case it may fall under fair use of copyrighted material for nonprofit educational purposes. NB: the fair-use argument could be strengthened if the material is password-protected on Vimeo, for example. Another issue is using video with human participants engaged in, for example, a Buddhist ceremony. If the video exists in a public space, such as YouTube, then it is generally considered publicly available information, but there are ethical implications to be considered.

Student Engagement 

Overall, Tawni, Jeff, and Daniel found that student engagement can be increased by, for example, providing extra-credit content at the end of the recordings, including course components that are designed to be reflexive and introspective, and letting students choose their modes of presentation.

Decolonizing the Curriculum

Tanya Luhrmann described some of the difficulties of incorporating work by Lacanian psychoanalyst Willy Apollon, whose writings are mainly in French. Another challenge regarded the consumer-survival movement, in particular how univocal the writing is. A third is presenting classic ethnographic films (e.g., Maya Deren’s exploration of spirit possession in Haiti) to today’s students. Tanya asked for suggestions for non-white consumer-survivor perspectives, such as Esmé Weijun Wang.

Decolonizing Methods

Jeff mentioned working on a multi-authored project in which rules and conventions are rapidly evolving, including how non-indigenous contributors are identified and how authors’ names are ordered.