Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Comedy Central Clips by Adam Hoffer

I am a huge fan of integrating media clips in my teaching. My favorite clips are modern satirical clips that come from television shows on Comedy Central. These clips can be streamed in class from and may be anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes in duration. I make a concerted effort to bring modern issues and current events into my classes to demonstrate how basic concepts they learn relate to the current world outside of the classroom. The Comedy Central clips are ideal for this, especially clips from the Colbert Report and the Daily Show.

Why Satire? First, there are several topics I cover in class that can be very controversial or polarizing. The satirical nature of the information in the clips I play cuts the tension surrounding many topics, allowing a more open-minded, casual class discussion.  Example 1: Colbert Super PAC - Trevor Potter Second, there are additional issues that are so frustrating, so maddening, so ludicrous that I just have to laugh to avoid getting upset. Fiction writers may struggle to invent some of what we can see on modern news. Example 2: Colbert PAC SHH! 501c4 Disclosure - Trevor Potter 

I tend to use the clips either at the beginning of class or to break up the lecture. I’ve found clips at the beginning of class can be great to review material from last class and the clips get the students interested in new material. If I use the clips to break up the lecture, I’ll integrate a quiz with a few questions about the clip itself, course material related to the clip, and at least one thought-provoking question that will help transition to the remaining lecture material. The mid-class quizzes can simultaneously serve as a reward/penalty to students for class attendance and as a feedback mechanism for evaluating student comprehension.

Submitted by Adam Hoffer, Economics