Orin Starn, Chair of Duke’s Department of Anthropology, is offering his MOOC (massive open online course) “Sports and Society” via Coursera beginning April 30.  The course, like all MOOCs offered via Coursera, is free and open to everyone, and draws on the tools of anthropology, sociology, history, and other disciplines to give students new perspectives on the games we watch and play.

During each of the seven weeks of the class, students will engage in several typical MOOC activities, including watching a small number of short video lectures, completing a reading assignment, and completing short homework assignments and quizzes.

Dr. Starn is also offering his students the unique opportunity to participate in Google Hangouts with leading figures from the world of sports journalism and scholarship.  During these Hangouts, students will have the opportunity to interact with guests that include former major leaguer and ESPN commentator Doug Glanville, and the renowned sports writer Selena Roberts, who has been a featured columnist at the New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

The course will also feature an optional “Sports Movie of the Week,” in addition to several guest lecturers, and optional Google Hangouts with Professor Starn.

Starn has been filming a number of interesting lectures for the class, including one at a golf course; one demonstrating fishing technique; and one in front of the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium, the home of the Duke University Blue Devils, wearing a shirt of the rival University of North Carolina Tarheels.  “Duke is famous for its basketball team, and I thought I’d take advantage of the possibility of filming at their stadium and other sports locations around the area to add another layer of interest to the course,” says Starn.

In order to find out why Dr. Starn was crazy enough to wear THAT SHIRT next to Cameron, you’ll need to sign up for the course…and stay tuned!

Check out the introductory video for the class here:

Seth Anderson

Seth works with faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences in order to help them integrate technology into their classes in a pedagogically meaningful manner. His interests include the educational use of mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.), online course development and delivery, digital video and imagery, and Web 2.0-based educational tools.

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