Originally published 07/20/2013
OGDEN — “There are only two kinds of people who smile all the time: fools and Americans.”“It’s a great, old Russian saying,” said Susan Matt, Weber State University history department chairwoman and professor. “Americans tend to seem happy all the time, even if they are not, underneath.”Matt just returned from an Organization of American Historians fellowship that took her to Germany to teach a university course about emotions in United States history. And although most of her students at the University of Tübingen were fluent in English, Matt did encounter the occasional cultural divide.“I would say something and pause for a laugh, and there would be deafening silence,” Matt recalled with a laugh. “I would realize that a joke didn’t translate. So I suggested someone write a paper on American humor, and the differences between German and American humor.”...
Originally published 05/01/2013
Susan Matt is chair of the history department at Weber State University, and Luke Fernandez is Weber State’s manager for program and technology development. In 1937, as she lay ill in bed, Annie Oakes Huntington, a writer living in Maine, thought of ways to spend her time. She confided in a letter: “The radio has been a source of unfailing diversion this winter. I expect to enter all the courses at Harvard to be broadcasted.” Huntington was joining in an educational experiment sweeping the country in the 1920s and 30s: massive open on-air courses.As educators contemplate the MOOCs of our day—massive open online courses—they would do well to consider how earlier generations dealt with technology-enhanced education.
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