Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaching with Buffy

In teaching media classes, I’ve benefited a lot from digital culture scholars who share their syllabi online. They feel that sharing information grows the discipline and makes existing courses better. They think of their intellectual labor as springing out of a intellectual commons. After all, where would we be if Tim Berners-Lee hadn’t made the World Wide Web Consortium standards patent-free and royalty-free?

In that spirit, I’m sharing with you my syllabus for my Buffy seminar, which starts this week at Emerson College. At the past two Slayage conferences, I’ve had a number of fellow scholars ask to see my syllabus. Indeed, there are few available syllabi available online that focus exclusively on either Whedon’s work or Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular. I feel sharing my syllabus will help grow the discipline and make it easier for more teachers to teach Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Think of this blog post as the academic version of Buffy’s encouragement to sing along in “Once More, with Feeling”.*

So, my syllabus for my Deconstructing TV’s Buffy seminar is designed for junior and senior media production and studies majors at Emerson College. Let me know what you think! Next week, I’ll post some of the heart-breaking last cuts and the articles that aren’t assigned because they’ve become accredited course lecture notes.

* On a side note, I actually taught an online seminar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the Massachusetts College of Art a couple of summers back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Buffy vs. Prof. Reegert, part II

Well, Watcher Junior readers, I’m back. I’ve had a very productive summer, everywhere but this blog. I wrote 10,000 words on season one (most of which will show up in The Essential Whedon Reader). I did a roundtable at Slayage 4 on teaching Whedon, which connected nicely on my article on the effect of spoilers in teaching television studies in Buffy in the Classroom. If you’d like to get snapshots of the articles that were delivered at the conference, see the conference report I co-wrote. And then there’s the article on Glee’s use of disability stereotypes, including the Joss Whedon helmed episode, “Dream On”. More on that when it comes out, but you saw parts of it here first!

Anyway, I’m writing now because I thought you might like to see the syllabus for my Buffy seminar. The catch? I’m revamping it, which means it’s not finished yet.

But that’s a bonus for you, because you, dear reader, get to provide me with advice. My seminar’s students will now be watching the episodes at home, not in class. That's opened up two classes (and an extra 45 minutes of discussion in each class).

The first extra class is being used on having a second class to break down "Restless." The second one, however, is down to the following possibilities, with the content in parenthesis. These are your choices for votes:

And, if there's a good suggestion for a Dollhouse episode, I'll probably yoink something from this Slayage issue. The latter three series, of course, would be used to talk about auteurism in television as well, given that they're not about the Buffyverse.

Which would you use in a Buffy seminar for juniors who are media majors?