Ghostsite: The Sociology Tutor

Every so often I chance upon web sites that have been started by teachers with what seems like a shed-load of initial enthusiasm. They create and distribute lots of free resources in a relatively short space of time and then suddenly just abandon their baby before it’s had a chance to really grow. One of the fascinations of such sites, apart from all the free resources, is wondering why?

Tutor Tom in full flow…

·  did their initial enthusiasm evaporate in the harsh light of audience apathy?

·  did a new SMT clamp-down on all this “free resources” nonsense?

·  did they simply move onward and upward to something newer, more-interesting and financially-rewarding?

·  did they leave teaching behind them in pursuit of a different career?

I’ll ever know, of course, but Ghostsites – a site abandoned by its creator but which continues to have a sort of spectral existence on the Web – are something I do find sociologically-fascinating.

And, as luck would have it(?), one such example I’ve just stumbled upon is a YouTube site created by “Tom” The Sociology Tutor  – evidence of either a distinct lack of imagination (Tom’s a tutor who teaches Sociology) or a simple statement of intent.

Either way, Tom’s legacy – the site stopped publishing videos around a year or so ago and both its accompanying website and Facebook page have long-since vanished – is 30 short tutorial-type films on four main A-level topics:

·  Introducing Sociology (What is Sociology? Marxism, Functionalism, Modernity and Postmodernity)

·  Family (Theories: Feminist, Functionalist, Postmodern)

·  Religion (Secularisation, Fundamentalism, Organisations)

·  Crime and Deviance (Marxism, Crime and the Media, Moral Panics).

Each film has a similar format: Tutor Tom talks directly to camera while the key points of what he’s saying appear on-screen. An occasional short film clip sometimes appears as do on-screen summaries of key ideas. The films are as short as 3 minutes and as long as 20 minutes, depending on the topic being covered.

In the main, however, you’re looking at films around the 7 – 12 minute mark and while, as I’ve noted, they basically take the form of a video lecture I found this didn’t really bother or bore me. Tom the Tutor is quite an engaging speaker, the films have been edited in various ways to remove the rough edges you often find in these kinds of tutorial and the content is aimed squarely at a-level / High School Sociology students.

As an added bonus there are a couple of paper-based (pdf) resources available to download: a “Functionalist View of the Family” essay plan, a Religious Fundamentalism essay plan with notes and a Guide to writing 20 and 30 mark (AQA) essays. The Functionalist essay plan has been created in a Structure Strip style which you might find to be a helpful template if your students struggle to construct coherent answers to higher mark questions.

Overall, while the site’s never going to be updated there’s enough interesting video material here to share with your students, plus some useful pdf resources that could be time-savers too.

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