Having Fun Teaching Philosophy Online? Christina Van Dyke Is.


Christina Van Dykeprofessor of philosophy at Calvin College, like many of us, had to move her courses online. She has been teaching her students Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics lately, posting videos online for her students to watch. But she’s not content to record a lecture over slides.

Rather, she has, so far, borrowed from Masterpiece Theater, Julia Child, and, most recently, Mr. Rogers. She posts at YouTube under the handle CVD PandemicPhilosophyProf. Below are the two Mr. Rogers installments, which also feature Andrew Arlig (Brooklyn College) in the role of Aristotle.

If you know of other philosophy professors being creative with their online teaching, let us know about it.


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Christopher Haugen
1 year ago

If I may be self-serving, I have been creating my own videos for teaching purposes for about six years or so. The idea was to have lectures online and discussion in face to face sections. I had adapted the format—though continually refining—for fully online sections of Introduction to Philosophy using questions and video responses a few years ago. Given recent events, I have accelerated that process for my other two courses (Introduction to Ethics and Introduction to Logic). I am now creating cartoons—something I never imagined doing in graduate school

https://www.youtube.com/user/haugenmetaphilosophyReport

Geoff
Geoff
Reply to  Christopher Haugen
1 year ago

These are great! What tool(s) are you using for the animation?Report

Christopher Haugen
Reply to  Geoff
1 year ago

I am using iMovie and a MacBook Pro for editing. I usually go to State Parks to shoot video on a camcorder, and combination of Keynote and a program for the iPad called Procreate for any texts or graphics. Procreate is a digital painting software. Since the quarantine, I switched to animation. I use a program called AnimationPro for the iPad. It is what is called a “puppet rigging” animation software. I also use Keynote for some simpler scenes.

There is a lot advice on YouTube for this sort of thing.

Good luck!Report

Asad Ali
Asad Ali
1 year ago

Would like to receive lectures, in some sort of chronologically sequence, topic-wise, time-wise! So far, my fav paytern is Prof Arthor F Holmes of Wheaton College, his 81 lecture series on Phil. if u can suggest books on Hist of Phil. Tnx plz!!Report

LESLIE GLAZER
LESLIE GLAZER
Reply to  Asad Ali
1 year ago

you may appreciate adamson’s podcast ‘the history of philosophy without any gaps’Report

Christina
Christina
Reply to  LESLIE GLAZER
1 year ago

I was going to suggest the same series! Adamson’s work is superb. Report

AdequateProfOnline
AdequateProfOnline
1 year ago

I don’t want to be a total buzzkill, and I do think these videos are very good indeed. But I want to emphasize that this is absolutely *not* the standard to which those of us forced to move courses online at short notice should aspire. Many of us do not have the time, technology, imagination, etc etc to produce standout stuff like this, and we should not feel guilty that we can’t be more than adequate. (I think such feelings are a possible accidental effect of well-intentioned sharing)
Report

Christopher Haugen
Reply to  AdequateProfOnline
1 year ago

I sympathize. Producing videos is a huge time commitment. I have been making mine over a period of around five years now. I am not saying this approach is necessary, but I do wish to share advice on how one may accomplish it. The videos above and ones I have created are rather labor intensive. There are short-cuts, however. If you are using Zoom, set up your personal room with no other attendees, share slides, and then record what you are doing, you can make an effective video of you lecturing over slides. The decision is, of course, yours. I am not invoking some sort of judgment if you decide not to.Report

Christina
Christina
Reply to  AdequateProfOnline
1 year ago

I could not agree more!! My biggest worry with making these videos has been that it might make people feel bad for not going similarly over the top. This is the sort of project that I find fun – but I would HATE it if anyone took them as a standard for what everyone “should” (or even could) be doing. What I’m hoping is that some people whose stress-relief outlets don’t involve making elaborate costumes can use my videos in their own classes and take that time to do things that relieve their own stress! Let a thousand stress-monkeys bloom. Report

AdequateProfOnline
AdequateProfOnline
Reply to  Christina
1 year ago

Hi Christina, glad to see you took my comment in the intended spirit, and that you can see the worry. Hopefully enough has been said now to reassure anyone with that worry. Your videos are awesome, and it’s generous of you to share them — if I was teaching anything related, I’d definitely be using them. Thanks for making them.Report

AD
AD
Reply to  AdequateProfOnline
1 year ago

No reasonable person seeing the video would think that it is the ‘standard’. Not sure why you thought otherwise.Report

poop
poop
Reply to  AD
1 year ago

I agree with AD. Of all times, why be a buzzkill? Why can’t we just enjoy something without the [email protected]$ hand-wringing? Report

AD
AD
Reply to  poop
1 year ago

I swear, philosophers are the most fragile people in the world. No normal person would feel the need to make the comment Adequate did.Report