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People and Things in Context

People and Things in Context

  • Open Online Course 27 March - 16 May 2017
  • Material things, technology and learning

People and Things in Context

  • Open Online Course 27 March - 16 May 2017
  • Material things, technology and learning

People and Things in Context is an Open Online Course starting spring 2017. The course will explore relationships between people and the material world of things around them, and considers what this means for human learning.

About the course

Our everyday world is one of things, objects and technologies but how do these influence our actions, how do we learn to use them, and what role do they play in different social and cultural contexts? The course is an introduction to the material culture of things offering a pedagogical perspective.

The role and agency of material things has been given much focus in recent years providing different disciplinary and theoretical viewpoints to their study and analysis. A range of these will be introduced to consider what things are, where they come from, how they relate to anthropology and the ways they can be studied.  Focus will be placed upon developing methodological strategies for considering things in particular contexts such as schools, hospitals or organisations as well as how they relate to our individual perceptions, bodily interactions and cultural meaning. 

Practical information

  • The course aims at working with a variety of terms and empirical examples concerning how the material world is intertwined with people's lives.
  • Teaching will develop through concrete examples and contexts drawing in part upon students own experiences to trace the ways we are bound to material things.
  • The course is structured through the development of an online portfolio of images. The images of things uploaded by students provide the basis for collaborative analysis and reflection building in turn upon five session themes developing over the course.


Registration is closed


What is an OOC?

Open Online Courses (OOCs) are short courses that are open to the public and free to take part in. We have removed the “M” from the well-known term MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to place emphasis on quality rather than the massiveness of participants. Read more about OOCs (in danish)

What does a typical workweek include?

The expected weekly workload is 5 hours.

A typical week on the course includes:

  • Watching a brief introductory video
  • Reading theoretical texts
  • Gathering of relevant material (textual and visual, online and out in your surroundings)
  • Commenting on these findings


How is the teaching structured?

The course is organised around a five master topics:

  • Assemblages, Collections and Entanglements
  • The Materiality of Things
  • The Changing World of Things
  • Things in Transformation
  • Craftsmanship, Skill and Technology     

Do I need access to specific software programs?

We will use the browser-based online platforms Facebook and Flickr.

What level of it and language skills are necessary?

  • English proficiency
  • Basic proficiency in online communication platforms such as Flickr, Facebook and blogs.

Can everyone participate?

The course is free to attend and open to all interested students around the world.

Who is responsible for the course?

The course is planned and run by Jamie Wallace and Bjarke Lindsø Andersen, Future Technology, Culture and Learning, DPU, Aarhus University.

The course is taught by Jamie Wallace.