Starting the 2021 Fall Semester with HRAF

Student online learning at desk with laptop and books

Have you started preparing for teaching in the fall? Whether you are looking to build an entire curriculum, or are simply in search of some assignment ideas, HRAF has you covered. From the eHRAF databases to our latest open access cross-cultural researching and teaching tools, this post will round up some of our favorite educational resources ideal for any anthropology, archaeology or cultural psychology course.

HRAF also has some important changes coming in the 2021-2022 academic year that may impact how you choose to teach and learn with eHRAF World Cultures. Keep reading to find out more.

Teaching with eHRAF

Teaching eHRAF, our open access repository of eHRAF-based teaching materials, is your first port of call to find sample syllabi from anthropology instructors as well as classroom activities, games, and exercises produced by HRAF staff. You are free to use and modify any of these example lessons, or simply browse the collection for ideas and inspiration. There currently around 70 teaching activities in the repository, with more being added regularly. You can use the filters at the top of the page to browse the list by features such as subfield, level, region, or assignment type; or search by keyword and sort the list to find related activities.

For some classroom learning fun, there are two Jeopardy-style HRAF teaching games ready to download for cultural anthropology and archaeology. Another fun activity is Nascent Worlds, where students are challenged to build their own society and explain its history, norms, and customs as ethnographers of the newly discovered world. For an example of an entirely web-based, ready-to-teach 13-week curriculum featuring eHRAF, see Ethnographic Insights Across Cultures.

eHRAF Workbooks

Beginning in 2020, HRAF produced a series of eHRAF Workbooks for teaching introductory anthropology and archaeology courses. These activities are available in online slideshow and PowerPoint formats, and are Creative Commons licensed for open educational use. Designed with remote and hybrid learning in mind, eHRAF Workbooks offer flexibility in format and assignment types. Students are typically walked through one or more activities per topic, each focusing on a clear task such as searching or browsing the database; writing a short report or essay; filling in a table with cross-cultural data; conducting a small research project; or holding a group discussion with classmates. Each workbook focuses on ethnographic or archaeological themes central to any introductory course, and directs students to original anthropological texts to read and analyze. They can be assigned in-class, as homework, group work, or for self-guided learning with eHRAF.

Subject areas covered in the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Workbook include Gender, Race, Marriage, Ethnography, Culture, Language, Medical Anthropology, Exchange, and Social Stratification. The Introduction to Archaeology Workbook includes a series of Great Discoveries as well as Dating Methods, Ethics, and Burial Practices. Learn more about how these workbook activities were utilized in classes taught by HRAF Member Services Manager, Matthew Longcore, who is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Connecticut.

Cross-Cultural Research

Several of the teaching activities in Teaching eHRAF and the eHRAF Workbooks complement summaries that comprise part of Explaining Human Culture (EHC), HRAF’s open access database of over 1,000 cross-cultural studies spanning more than 100 years. EHC also contains topical summaries of what has been learned from previous cross-cultural research. Accessibly written, these summaries are perfect for providing a broad overview of practices and beliefs across world societies, as well as encouraging students and researchers to continue collecting new evidence to support or refute existing findings. The most recent summary, Marriage and Family, brings the total to 11. Other topics include Hunter-Gatherers, Games and Sports, Gender, Sexuality, and Art.

Looking for a primer to teach the basic framework of conducting cross-cultural research? Introducing Cross-Cultural Research is a colorful and engaging PDF-based online course presenting the fundamentals of cross-cultural research from design to statistical analysis. An ideal companion for both EHC and the eHRAF databases, students (or anyone interested in cross-cultural research methods) can download and follow along with the chapters as they learn how to develop hypotheses and conduct their own research projects.

Teaching Online

Our databases and open access resources are ideally suited for any and all classroom settings. With the future of in-person, hybrid, and online instruction still in flux, visit our Teaching Online portal for helpful advice on being prepared for any changes in your teaching and learning environment.

eHRAF World Cultures new design coming soon

Screenshot of switch to new design prompt popup window for eHRAFCurrent HRAF members will have followed the development of our new eHRAF World Cultures application throughout the beta design and testing period. As our development cycle comes to a close, we will begin transitioning to the new design starting with the Fall 2021 semester.

The first change that you will notice is the appearance of a new pop-up window on the existing interface signaling the upcoming changes and allowing users to opt in to the new design. Beginning in July 2021, you may choose to switch now and let us remember your choice moving forward, or switch when it is convenient for you.

Toggles between the two versions will shortly be available to let you move between the old and new interfaces throughout the Fall semester while you explore the new design. By the end of 2021, we will be preparing for the official switch, at which time authenticated users will automatically be served the new appearance.

We hope that instructors, researchers, and librarians will take the Fall semester to familiarize themselves with the changes as well as update any research or teaching guides, assignments, and syllabi accordingly. Although users will soon see the new design upon logging in, the legacy version of the application will still be available beyond Spring 2021 for at least one academic year.

Start Planning

To get started teaching with eHRAF, check this list to see if your academic institution is already a HRAF member with access to the eHRAF databases, or have your librarian contact us about a trial. Alternatively, learn more about our membership types here. For membership inquiries, contact Matthew Longcore: