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Humor can do much to enhance the classroom environment, reduce stress, increase student interest and attentiveness, and even promote long-term recall. The articles and websites below offer research, guidelines, and examples of humor in the college classroom, online courses, and "dread courses" such as statistics. The final two sites provide information on a society for humor studies and a source for college humor.
"Humor, Analogy, and Metaphor: H.A.M. it up in Teaching," Randy Garner, Sam Houston State University. Radical Pedagogy, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 2005.
The author argues for the use of humor as a pedagogical tool that enhances learning and creates a more positive classroom atmosphere. Analogy and metaphor improve understanding and retention of material.
"How Laughing Leads to Learning," Zak Stambor. American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology, Vol. 37, No. 6, June 2006.
Cites research demonstrating that humor helps students learn.
"Bringing Life to Online Instruction with Humor," Mark A. Shatz and Frank M. LoSchiavo, Ohio University-Zanesville. Radical Pedagogy, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2006.
Explains ways in which humor can be added to online courses and offers guidelines for selecting appropriate humor for achieving instructional objectives. Discusses resources for locating pedagogical humor online, writing it yourself, and using it in the course.
"Learning Through Laughter: New Study Supports Use of Humor in Online Courses," Association for Psychological Science News Release, June 8, 2005.
Reviews a research study by Mark Shatz and Frank LoSciavo that found the use of humor in an online course boosted student enjoyment and participation in discussion boards.
"Using Humor in the College Classroom to Enhance Teaching Effectiveness in 'Dread Courses'," Neelam Kher, Susan Molstad, Roberta Donahue. College Student Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3, September 1999.
Presents various opportunities to incorporate humor in the classroom, research linking humor and learning outcomes, and guidelines for appropriate use of humor. Appendices provide examples of three forms of humor described in the article.
"Using Humor in the Introductory Statistics Course," Hershey H. Friedman, Linda W. Friedman, Taiwo Amoo. Journal of Statistics Education, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2002.
Discusses reasons for using humor in the statistics classroom, gives examples of humorous material for several statistics topics, and provides links to several Internet sites with statistics humor useful for the classroom.
The International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) is "dedicated to the advancement of humor research." Their website is rich with materials and resources although many of them are password protected for Society members only. Provides links to numerous scholarly societies, research centers, and archives focused on the study and application of humor research.
Links to dozens of jokes, essays, and funny scenarios about college life as a student or professor.