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Working up an assignment for the fall semester

 
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 11:36 am    Post subject: Working up an assignment for the fall semester Reply with quote

Well, I just turned in grades for the spring semester, summer school starts next week, and here I am already thinking about the fall.

This fall, I'll be teaching a humanities course called "Technology & Society" that examines the effect of new technologies on society and the effect society has on the direction new technologies take. This will be the first time in three years I've taught the class, so I'm kind of starting over from scratch.

One of my favorite units is the one on mass communication and I've traditionally had my students listen to some OTR programs as part of it. I always play the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast in class and have them do some listening on their own as well.

In the past, I've just given them URLs of a couple of OTR sites, including this one, and let them hunt on their own, but I get the impression that many of the just blow the listening assignment off. This time, I'm planning on policing it a little tighter, giving them a specific written assignment on OTR and placing a half-dozen episodes from different series and genres on our Moodle classroom management site or preferably some external site from which they can download and listen.

So what I'd like are suggestions of one or two half-hour episodes of a comedy show, a variety show, a mystery/suspense show, a western, a horror and/or sci-fi show, other genres?

What do you think of having an episode of Amos-n-Andy as one of the choices? About half of my students are African American. Would this be too offensive?

Anybody know of a free hosting service I could use to house these episodes where students could have one- or two-click access to them?
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiya Human!

Amos 'n' Andy might be touchy but you could explain to them that A&A was VERY popular among all parts of American society, including African Americans.

Anyone who love wordplay would appreciate a 1940's episode of Fibber McGee and Molly (almost any episode) but my personal favorite is, "Pot Roast."

Our Miss Brooks is about High School, so the kids might click with that - and Halls of Ivy is about college (a very progressive show in the 190's) and that might relate to it.

Baby Snooks (the short segments that are available - not the full show) is another show I would point out to someone to listen to.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so here's what I've got so far:
    Mystery in the Air: "The Black Cat"
    Suspense: "Sorry, Wrong Number"
    Fibber McGee: "Pot Roast"
    Gunsmoke: episode ???
    X-Minus One: episode ???
    Jack Benny: episode ???
    Green Hornet: episode ???

I'm open to suggestions to fill in the ???'s on the list.
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Zap



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool assignment!

Maybe some Great Gildersleeve? Personally, I think family aspect of that show would resonate really well with young people today (IE: Gildy's tribulations trying to raise Leroy and Marjorie). I find it's one of the best produced shows as well.
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crich70



Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 322
Location: Monroe Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Human,

Why not have them recreate an episode of an OTR program in the classroom? Have them record it as it is being performed so the class can see and hear how complex it was to actually put such a production together back then. Just a thought. I don't know if it is practical or not.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it's really within the scope of the course, which examines how society affects and is affected by technological change. Now, if this were a communication class, that would definitely be a great exercise.

crich70 wrote:
Hi Human,

Why not have them recreate an episode of an OTR program in the classroom? Have them record it as it is being performed so the class can see and hear how complex it was to actually put such a production together back then. Just a thought. I don't know if it is practical or not.
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crich70



Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 322
Location: Monroe Wisconsin

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it would illustrate the technology that went into the creation of the programs. The invention of radio did have a deep impact on the world back then. Not only could you read about important events you could even hear them as well. Now days we take such and being able to see events as they unfold for granted but back then it was different. And one of the reasons the WOTW broadcast caused such havoc was because people believed the broadcast was real news. Just a thought though.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got access to my Moodle (classroom management system) sites for the fall this week and I've now built my OTR listening assignment. I've got direct links to seven episodes for them to download and listen to. I'm only requiring them to listen to two and write about the experience. The final selections are:

Jack Benny--"Jack Test Drives a Car"
Fibber McGee & Molly--"Pot Roast"
Gunsmoke--"How to Die for Nothing"
The Green Hornet--"Too Hot to Handle"
Mystery in the Air--"The Black Cat"
Suspense--"Sorry, Wrong Number"
X-Minus One--"The Veldt"

I'm still going back and forth about including an episode of Amos 'n' Andy, but I've got a couple of months to make a final decision.

In class, I'm going to play the Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast. I think this is going to be fun and I hope the students enjoy it.

I wasn't sure about hosting the shows on the college's servers, so I came up with a fairly ingenious alternative. I uploaded them to Google Docs and made them public documents. They can download them in two clicks. They can click on the title of the show in Moodle and then click the download link in Google Docs. Once downloaded, they can play the file in iTunes or WinAmp or whatever.

For what it's worth, I also included a plug for mysteryshows.com on the assignment sheet. Maybe one or two of them will be inspired to check it out.
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yaufent



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like it just lasted about a year on the air at most too so it's not like there are a large number of episodes like with Dragnet or Gunsmoke either. Still from the description of the show it does sound interesting.
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digital25



Joined: 11 Nov 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I tried during a seminar on diversity was play part of an episode of Amos and Andy and compare that to an episode of Lum and Abner.

The two are very similar when you get past the obvious racial differences.
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, a better coimparison to A&A is The Life of Riley.

Lum and Abner are not trying to scam anybody Smile let's not drag them through the mud! Wink

However, Gillis is always scheming and Riley is just naive - much like Amos and Andy/Kingfish.
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crich70



Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 322
Location: Monroe Wisconsin

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimbo wrote:
IMO, a better coimparison to A&A is The Life of Riley.

Lum and Abner are not trying to scam anybody Smile let's not drag them through the mud! Wink

However, Gillis is always scheming and Riley is just naive - much like Amos and Andy/Kingfish.

And the formula went on into movies and TV as well. Laurel & Hardy, Ralph and Ed (the Honeymooners), Fred & Barney. Of course Abbott & Costello also had some of that same formula too. At least Costello always seemed to get the worst of things. lol.
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