Designing, building, and teaching an online course is ungodly time-consuming. Asking educators to find and supplement their instruction with humor adds another item to an already overwhelming to-do list. Teachers need help.
Instructors can ask students to help find pedagogical humor material. I offer an extra-credit activity called the “Contributing Editor” that has students identify and screen humor material on any course topic. I require that students cite the humor source and explain how the example relates to course content. I’ve used this activity in various courses, including psychology, statistics, and thanatology.
I also set up an After-Hours Club discussion board that allows students to post jokes, humorous course-related observations, or links to amusing websites. I only use this activity for upper-division classes because older students are less likely to post inappropriate material or comments in an open forum.
If students are engaged as funny assistants, instructors need to provide specific guidelines explaining what types of humor are appropriate for the course. Without detailed, very detailed, directions the students will submit a stockpile of inappropriate, very inappropriate, Bo Jack Horseman, Big Head, or South Park examples.