Exercises and Assignments

  1. Agree/Disagree:
    • In response to a question (ex: gentrification is bad for urban residents), students stand along a continuum at the front of the classroom. One end is extreme yes/agree and the other end no/disagree, students can either agree strongly or moderately with the statement according to where they stand and as the statements change the students can readjust their position and explain why they moved. (good for sleepy students and exploring nuanced class concepts).
  2. Neighborhood Ethnography: 
    • Students choose a neighborhood in Brooklyn and do a research project on it that includes some archival and ethnographic data. Presentations and papers possible. Can be a big or small project.
  3. Media Scrapbook:
    • Students collect media scraps (art, advertisements, signage, detritus) in order to answer a question about inequality in the city. Students often collect scraps for their urban scrapbook about a topic they are interested and to present a part of their own urban experience. Papers/presentations optional.
  4. Classroom Debates:
    • Divide into groups and have them write pros and cons of several positions and then debate them in class. 
  5. Online forums and discussion boards:
    • Many professors use various types of online discussion boards or tools like Slack in order to manage communication with students. Instructors have had success with opening a Facebook page for their class and students can post and comment there. Other professors have used the feature in blackboard that organizes discussion threads. 
  6. How do you get students to read? 
    • Quizzes (three to four questions for +/- in the gradebook, low stakes)
    • 10 minutes of group work at the beginning of class around discussion questions
  7. Podcasting
    • Semester long project: Students can make a 5-minute podcast episode about a topic of their choice: policing, gentrification, race and technology, gated communities, transportation, etc…
    • Resources: WBEZ has a website for a podcast toolkit. Students can use their phone and download audacity…which will also hopefully be on the lab and anthro computers. They can then upload one or two interviews along with their own thoughts and sounds.