Presentation Title

Meme Wars: One Does Not Simply Control the Class Climate

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

This presentation will demonstrate how a meme war can serve as a method for preventing late semester lag in student focus and motivation, or what the presenters refer to as the “third unit crisis”. The presenters from Keuka College and SUNY Oswego will share how the idea for a meme war came to be, the meme war’s utility in serving as a tool of motivation and energy restoration, and the surprises they encountered in their respective meme wars.

Start Date

5-23-2018 1:30 PM

Description

A crucial element of teaching, shared by on-ground, hybrid, and online classrooms, is the maintenance of the classroom climate throughout the entirety of the course term. While monitoring the classroom climate is often enough to reach the course objectives, many courses suffer an ebb in motivation and hope toward the end of the course term. In this “third unit crisis” students may find themselves bewildered by an onslaught of deadlines, fear of impending final exams, and a loss of confidence from sometimes hard to handle feedback. It is in this “third unit crisis” that students need the leadership and consolation of their instructor, something to reendow them with the efficant belief system they may have started the course with. But one does not simply snap their fingers and make this happen. Instead this presentation argues that instructors should rely on something that affirms their student’s position as digital natives; memes.

Memes are a tool of cultural communication often represented using images with captions overlaid in block fonts, often containing only a fragment of information, allowing them to be easily and quickly shared across social media platforms. Memes are meant to illicit quick laughs or reactive attention. This makes the creation of memes an excellent practice in critical thinking. Further, and in all honesty, making and sharing memes is fun!

It was in this spirit of having fun while practicing critical thinking that the presenters set out to have students create memes in their respective classes and hold, a meme war. The recipe for the meme war was simple. Students were asked to post two memes to twitter using their corresponding hashtag (#kcmemewars, #MoritzMemeWar). The rules for meme creation helped to promote a climate of fun. One meme was to specifically cover course content, the other was a wild card, and could contain anything related to class.

What ensued the presenters weren’t quite prepared for. Themes started to emerge in the memes. Participation in the meme wars became widespread, and included former students and colleagues. The meme wars trended, and they had reach! But more importantly the meme wars served their purpose. Student’s heads ceased their heaviness, their interest and motivations found restoration, and the classroom climate felt alive again.

Comments

We decided that in the spirit of our topic we would take a little creative license with our presentation description. We hope that it serves to indicate the vibrancy we hope to bring in our presentation at Bryn Mawr.

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May 23rd, 1:30 PM

Meme Wars: One Does Not Simply Control the Class Climate

This presentation will demonstrate how a meme war can serve as a method for preventing late semester lag in student focus and motivation, or what the presenters refer to as the “third unit crisis”. The presenters from Keuka College and SUNY Oswego will share how the idea for a meme war came to be, the meme war’s utility in serving as a tool of motivation and energy restoration, and the surprises they encountered in their respective meme wars.