Dear future ETHN120D/HIUS120 student,

This course will most likely be unlike most other classes you have taken thus far in your college career. The class offers a unique opportunity to go beyond the walls of UCSD, spend time learning from the individuals at a community-based organization, and take part in the process of learning about, collecting, and transcribing oral histories, while also making them accessible to the public. This class is challenging in its many different facets and requirements yet rewarding in that it allows you to build upon what you know from time in the classroom by expanding this knowledge through experiences with community partners and with your interviewee. Balancing readings, site visits, group project development, interview logistics, and assignments can be challenging. But each component of the class is essential to your overall learning and growth so if you are able to manage deadlines, and work collaboratively with group members, you will be successful and get the most out of your time in this class.

A few recommendations for the course would include:

  1. Practice interviewing/asking mock interview questions. Sitting down and asking questions from a paper while jotting down responses to questions may sound pretty straightforward but in the moment, when the recorder is running, it can feel a bit overwhelming so having some practice will only make your official interview that much stronger.
  2. Practice using the recorder. Make sure you understand how to use these devices, and even practice recording yourself or others and adjusting audio levels and settings on the recorder. This will also help make the official interview process more seamless, and reduce the likeliness for something to happen to your audio file.
  3. Get to know your interviewee. Getting to know the person you want to interview ahead of time will help you learn more about them and thus also help you to craft questions that more closely relate to them and their experiences or interests, as they have shared with you.
  4. Enjoy your time at your site! Approach your site placement with an open mind and make the most of the opportunities you have to spend time there and get to know the people that lead and are involved with your community organization partner.

Best of luck!