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Michael Lee Wesch
Dr. Michael Lee Wesch, Digital Ethnographer
|Born||June 22, 1975
|Education||Doctorate, University of Virginia, 2006|
|Alma mater||Fairbury Junior-Senior High School, 1993|
|Occupation||Associate Anthropology professor|
|Employer||Kansas State University|
|Known for||Anthropology, Digital Ethnography, notable YouTube videos, 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year award|
|Home town||Fairbury, Nebraska|
|Title||Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology|
|Awards||2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities, et al.|
Michael Lee Wesch (born June 22, 1975) is associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University. Wesch's work also includes media ecology and the emerging field of digital ethnography, where he studies the effect of new media on human interaction.
Wesch is a cultural anthropologist and media ecologist exploring the effects of new media on human interaction. He graduated summa cum laude from the Kansas State University Anthropology Program in 1997 and returned as a faculty member in 2004 after receiving his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Virginia. There he pursued research on social and cultural change in Melanesia, focusing on the introduction of print and print-based practices like mapping and census-taking in the remote Mountain Ok region of Papua New Guinea where he lived for a total of 18 months from 1999-2003. This work inspired Wesch to examine the effects of new media more broadly, especially digital media. Also as a consequence of this trip, Dr. Wesch has gained some command in the Tok Pisin language, a primary lingua franca of Papua New Guinea.
To this end, Wesch is launching the Digital Ethnography Working Group, a team of undergraduates exploring human uses of digital technology. Coinciding with the launch of this group, Wesch created a short video, "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us." Released on YouTube on January 31, 2007, it quickly became the most popular video in the blogosphere and was viewed over 10 million times. Wesch has won several awards for his work with video, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award and the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Media Praxis from the Media Ecology Association.
Wesch's videos are part of his broader efforts to pursue the possibilities of digital media to extend and transform the way ethnographies are presented. Wesch is also a multiple award-winning teacher active in the development of innovative teaching techniques. Most notably, Wesch has developed a highly-acclaimed "World Simulation" for large introductory classes in cultural anthropology. On Nov. 20, 2008, CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching honored Wesch as Professor of the Year.
Currently he is the coordinator for the Peer Review of Teaching Project at Kansas State University, part of a broader nation-wide consortium of universities pursuing new ways to improve and evaluate student learning. He is also working with the Educause Center for Applied Research on "The Tower and the Cloud" project, examining "the question of how higher education institutions (The Tower) may interoperate with the emerging network-based business and social paradigm (The Cloud)."
Administrating Tests 
Dr. Wesch is significant in that the final exams for his anthropology classes only have one question: Why are you here? The responses must be an essay of a minimum of 800 words, and a maximum of 1500 words.
Further reading 
- Official Page with Bio, Videos, Presentations, News, and Other Materials
- MediatedCultures.net at Kansas State University
- Professor Wesch's Faculty Page at Kansas State University
- Michael Wesch's Cultural Anthropology Collaborative Class Wiki on WetPaint
- Michael Wesch's Twitter - mwesch
- YouTube videos by Wesch: