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Using Web Graphic Memes in Online Course Development

As an instructor you look for variety in your teaching methods. The same is especially true when teaching an online course. However, learning new tools can sometimes be time-consuming and as we all know - online courses can move pretty quick! How do we keep our students engaged and connected to the content we are teaching in such a quick moving time frame?

While there are many methods, research articles, and support groups out there to help online instructors with best practices - sometimes I like to think outside of the box. My outside of box thinking lead me to think about what is popular and trending - memes fit this category. Memes are a picture with a short text. So, how and why would memes work in an online setting?

Constructionist approach meme

1. They are trending - Memes are all over the internet. They are popular which makes them easy to implement in an online class. It will show you are current on the trends and can be used in a variety of settings.

Syllabus meme

2. They consist of bite-size information - There seems to be a growing trend in creating small tidbits of information because learners' attention span has decreased. Therefore, for information you want your learners to grasp - using a meme is a great way to do this.

3. They can help with building schemata - Schema is the idea that you have an organizational system in your head. When you are presented with new information, it gets lumped in together with the preexisting information. A meme can help students lump information together and create relationships and connections between topics and content within a course.

Agile Waterfall Meme

4. They break up the monotony - While having a schedule or template for class announcements is great - sometimes you need to create some extra attention for your students.

5. They are humorous - In addition to the above reasons (and many more that I know I have probably missed) - they are funny. Memes can help show your students that you are a real person on the other side of that computer screen.

Blackboard homework due in 15 minutes - better get started.

Below are a few examples of memes that could be used in an online course to help pump students up for the content. The first three can be created at the Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual website.

Welcome to Week 5

Creating posters for course announcements

Playing with tools for online course development

One thing to keep in mind while using memes in an online classroom is the accessibility requirements. Any of the information you present to your students in the form of an image must be accessible to those with disabilities.

Have you used memes in your course? How do you feel about the potential of using memes?

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