Episode 31

"Humor in Online Courses"

Duration 00:12:00 Recorded on August 28, 2007

In this podcast, Susan and Dan take a serious look at the use of humor in online learning. What styles of humor work online, and what do not? Why can humor be controversial? Listen in and share your thoughts: this episode *is* a laughing matter.

Show Notes:

Dan and Susan seriously look at why humor is controversial in online learning. Susan's recent class took up the topic as a discussion about whether humor does, in fact have a place in online learning.First, they clarify different styles of humor. For example, Susan doesn't tell jokes, but she laughs a lot and sometimes her interpretations of why something is funny become funnier in and of themselves. Dan's style is to crack a joke when no one expects it. Does that work online? This leads to a discussion of the importance of letting one's authenticity show when teaching online.

Making sure instructors know the boundaries: class, gender, race, (show an awareness of and sensitivity to) and sarcasm --- probably never appropriate.

Dan looked into the pedagogical value of humor. Don't just use it to be funny. Humor can help learners see something from a different perspective. It can help them relax.

You can ask students to find examples, with moderation.

Humor can also be a saying or proverb or images. Dan shares the example of a quote from Flannery O'Conner.

Dan references the research in this article, 'Bringing Life to Online Instruction with Humor'.

Susan plays devils advocate and asks if students in a more humorous class learn more than those in a not-as-funny version. Dan thinks they do because they're more engaged emotionally.

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
Special Inspiration