Conference Paper

MAKING HUMOR PART OF THE COURSE DESIGN

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Abstract

Several studies have shown the positive outcomes of using humor in the classroom on students’ learning results. Teachers regularly apply humor to make students laugh by being funny and using humorous teaching materials. Their experiences and outcomes of their attempts were discussed in literature and previous presentations at ICERI conferences. Our approach shifts the view from the teacher (trying to make students laugh) to the students (trying to make them be funny) through a course design that empowers students to discover their ‘funny bones’. This paper offers insights into the course design. It illustrates how we enabled students to create their own comedy scripts in the style of late-night comedy shows, such as "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" or "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj". Based on the experiences and evaluations of three courses, we can say that (1) humor is a craft (and not a talent) and needs practicing, (2) by writing comedy scripts, students gain a deeper understanding of a certain topic than by writing standard seminar papers, (3) humor can be integrated into courses that are not genuinely funny. Students reported that our course helped them to boost their creativity and imagination.

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