Course Profile of an Interactive Visual Course on Theory
I have become increasingly interested in using animated explainer videos to parse out theoretical concepts in an interesting and engaging way. While these videos cannot get deep into the levels of nuance that most theoretical constructs have, they can provide an introduction that helps learners get acquainted with and organize philosophical perspectives.
In my work practice, I have begun creating animated explainer videos of abstract constructs, especially when an idea or process is presented as a visual metaphor in the literature. Bringing that visual metaphor to life helps connect learners to the concept and make it more memorable. At work, I am often animating central tenants of mediation theory to train professionals to work better with others and to communicate strategically.
In my PhD studies I have also seen the benefit of animated videos explaining complex philosophical constructs for students. As I delve deeper into the ontology, epistemology and axiology of research, together with my peers, it is very clear that there is a need for reliable introductions to philosophical constructs that are accessible and memorable. In one of my courses last semester I made an explainer video about new-materialism which my classmates reported was helpful in introducing them to the topic. While I would approach building the video somewhat differently now, it still provides an example of the type of explanation I am envisioning.
In addition to the need for short, clear introductions to philosophical constructs, it has become clear to me that tools which illustrate the connections between theories and that help learners situate their understandings within theories would be valuable. Traditionally, grad students are expected to read dense material about philosophies of research and then place themselves and their research orientation into them through reflection. This process is often onerous and challenging. I believe that by tapping into the clarity that visual learning can sometimes provide and the playfulness of interactive online technologies and animation, this process can be made lighter and more enjoyable.
The course I intend to make is designed as an open access supplement to graduate courses on ontology, epistemology, and theoretical foundations of research amongst others. It will likely also be helpful for undergraduate students of philosophy, literary theory, and the social sciences who are encountering these concepts.
Because it is open access and self-directed this course will not have traditional assessment processes, but will rely on participants self-assessment of when the materials have met their needs. In attempting to make the course playful, funny, and engaging I am hoping to motivate students to engage with the material in an ongoing manner. The primary intention of this course is to provide a breadth of introductions to theoretical constructs. Suggestions for more in depth resources will also be supplied to allow learners to explore topics more deeply if desired. I have chosen to make the videos open access Youtube videos as it is my hope that these resources will also be valuable outside the context of this course.
A brief overview of the course is provided below. This provides only a broad outline as I intend to iteratively create the course structure and content through a iterative process in which I prototype, test the prototype with grad students (I may know a few), gather feedback and adjust. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for the course and its contents. I am looking forward to seeing what it becomes.