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Micah Oelze

On this episode, Stephanie is joined by Micah Oelze, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Pennsylvania's Franklin & Marshall College and formerly a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at FIU, where he developed seven different FIU global learning courses. Micah’s mission is to enable students to connect their studies of the past to active critical thinking and problem solving in the present. He does this to great effect through the use of new technologies. He’s literally hacked into popular forms like game shows and social media platforms like Slack, Twitter, and Instagram to teach fundamental analytical and research skills.  He also uses social media to help students engage with lectures and build connections between the classroom and the outside world. Micah’s own research examines the political use of concert music and psychology in 1930s Brazil. He received his PhD from Miami's Florida International University and has been supported by the US Department of Education, the Tinker Foundation, and the Fulbright-Hays Program.

Resources Mentioned

Great Quotes

“New technologies and new programs can be scary and it's not easy. And especially for some of us historians, we studied the past for a reason. Sometimes we like to stay in the past and we're uncomfortable with how quick things change. Having said that, I think historians are also very adventurous. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty. They're not afraid to work into the archives to explore and unearth things that haven't been seen for so many years. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting us to be unafraid to put on the gloves, to put on the masking and start a new project and reminding us that new technologies are also like unexplored archives.”

“How do we create assignments that are more engaging and that make history relevant? I think that's one of my central concerns as an educator is to make history relevant. And that goes exactly along the main goals of the global learning project. How do we get students to engage globally? How do we get students globally aware and thinking from more than one perspective about certain issues? And that's what a relevant history should be. It's not just about isolating some issue that happened a hundred years ago, but it's actually having a perspective that these things that happened a hundred years ago still are happening today and that there's different perspectives to how to solve those problems that are with us today.”

(On the fear of trying new teaching strategies) “My students respond much better to watching me learn and fail, or try and fail, than not watching me try it all.”