Teaching with TED


We here at Boise State are gearing up for the Fall semester. I’m particularly excited about once again teaching one of the online library research courses, aka UNIV 106. The class has no textbooks, students use libraries to complete assignments, and even though I hardly ever see my students (this being an online course) I get to know them a bit through their written course experiences.

This year I’m trying something new to teach them about libraries, lifelong learning, critical thinking, and the joys, foibles, and uniqueness that is the human experience: I’m using TED videos.

If you haven’t seen a TED video event, it is a gathering of very smart and interesting people, who speak to other smart and interesting people, about a topic of their choice. Each talk lasts anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, but what these people say can be thought provoking, inspiring, downright hilarious, extremely jarring, and everything in between.

You can get wonderfuly lost in the 900+ videos available in TED, and I’m hoping to have students experience that richness of human experience, and be inspired or moved to learn a little more about life, the universe and everything (thanks Douglas!)…and somehow tie it in with libraries, research, and lifelong learning. Easy, right?

To give you a taste of TED, check out Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight: