EDUCATION: Watch, Explore, Contribute: Global Lens-Based Tutorial Now Online!

In BORDER CAFE a woman earns economic independence and wins the love of this man with her cooking.

Kathy Warren, uses two Global Lens films to create unique online learning tutorials on Sophia.org

The Global Film Initiative asked Ms. Warren to describe the educational website and her inspiration for creating a tutorial with some of our award-winning Global Lens films:

GFI: Tell us a little bit about this website?

KW: Sophia.org is a website developed by Capella University, where I am working toward a Ph.D. in online learning design.

It is a free resource available to anyone, anywhere, to develop and run “tutorials” or lesson plans. The website has more than 28,000 tutorials, and lessons can contain videos, audio, links and other resources, for a class at school, or for a group discussion, or for just about any other learning opportunity.

GFI: Crowd-sourced education, how cool. What have you developed with Global Lens?

KW: I am excited to introduce my first tutorial because the GFI community is a wonderful audience for exploring world cultures through the medium of feature film.

The tutorial compares two films from the Global Lens catalogue, BORDER CAFÉ and THE FISH FALL IN LOVE, both set in Iran.

Both films are about women struggling to provide for their families by using their talent for cooking, but the settings and stories are very different.

Comparing how these independent women face the challenges in their lives helps us understand the stories—and that’s the basis for the tutorial.

GFI: Obviously there is a lot of interesting material to cover there, but why these two films in particular?

The inspiring women of THE FISH FALL IN LOVE.

KW: Several years ago I had the opportunity to see both of these films. I was stuck by the humanity of the story-telling, and the wonderful and colorful portrayals of two very interesting and determined women characters who were finding ways to live their lives, self-sufficiently and with dignity.

GFI: The fact that years later, you were moved to make a tutorial using them, speaks to how lasting film can be to the viewer. How is the tutorial structured?

KW: The tutorial has film clips from both films, and background information about the films and about Iran.

There are suggested activities that invite viewers to think as a creative writer (“What happened before this scene? What do you think will happen next?”), to think as a traveler, using Google Earth to find the regions where the films are set, or to think as a filmmaker, planning and framing scenes to tell the story.

The site and tutorials are open so that viewers can add content to the tutorials, and contact the person who posts them with questions or suggestions.  The tutorial grows as a resource so that each tutorial becomes a “living lesson” that gets better the more people use it.

The Sophia.org tutorial evokes a comparison between the crossroads restaurants of THE FISH FALL IN LOVE and BORDER CAFE (pictured).

Kathy Warren designs online tutorials for Sophia.org.

Kathy Warren is a research consultant, currently working on her doctorate in Education, specializing in online learning. She began her career as a management consultant with Price Waterhouse, participating in the design and implementation of financial systems, as well as in developing and conducting user-training programs. This experience formed the foundation for an abiding interest in how people learn, and how educational programs must be designed to promote and encourage learning. For several years she designed curriculum materials for the Global Film Initiative’s Global Lens film series, including discussion guides and lesson plans for high school foreign-language film programs. Her doctoral work focuses on the versatility of the online environment as a resource that puts students at the center, learning whenever and wherever they choose. Ms. Wareen has a master’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Chicago, and is an online learner herself, as she works on her doctoral dissertation at Capella University.

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