This paper describes the creation of an asynchronous on-line ethnographic field school experience for lower division undergraduate students. Our Virtual Field School course offers a field school experience that accommodates the unique make-up of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (where fifty-five percent of undergraduates are “nontraditional” students). Typical ethnographic field schools demand that students can spend four to six weeks in an international fieldsite. Alaska’s geographic remoteness makes travel abroad prohibitively expensive for many students. Pedagogical and technological concerns are outlined, including the utilization of the SELIN distance delivery platform, coupled with Blackboard Learn. SELIN was created by anthropologists at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) as a means of teaching upper division anthropology majors inductive reasoning and observation skills. SELIN courses are centered on authentic multimedia documentation of fieldsites, rather than texts or lectures. The pedagogical merits of the choice of the ethnographic site—the Alaska dog mushing community of practice—are discussed in light of novice anthropology students’ interests and abilities. The paper concludes by discussing the potential appeal of the virtual field school model to archaeology and the value of the unique type of multimedia materials created for the course for educational outreach.
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Plattet, Patrick and Shoaps, Robin
2021 Creating a Virtual Ethnographic Field School in an Off-line Community of Practice. Journal of Archaeology and Education 5
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/jae/vol5/iss1/8