Culturally Responsive Teaching with TikTok

Amanda Zunner-Keating
3 min readAug 23, 2021


The following is a tip for educators seeking more equitable course design. The material is available for use under Creative Commons License ShareALike (CC BY-SA 4.0).

No two people learn in the exact same way. When we offer diverse types of assessments, we help all types of learners to succeed in higher education.

While some students are comfortable completing a traditional research paper or exam, others may thrive when asked to record and edit video. One way to reach these students is to invite students who are active on TikTok to create a short video for the social media platform based on your course material. This works best as an alternative to a traditional assignment (still make room for students who prefer an essay or exam).

Below is the text for a sample TikTok assignment; feel free to adopt this language in your own courses.

Canvas users, it’s recommended that you upload this assignment page directly from Canvas Commons; you can find the content on Canvas Commons.

Educational TikTok

Create a short, educational TikTok video that clearly explains something that we’ve discussed in this module. You’re welcome to summarize anything from:

  • Our course lectures
  • Any of the readings from the course (be sure to name the author)
  • Any of your own observations, ideas, research (in this case, be sure to connect your own ideas to course material)


The information that you include in the video must be backed up by course material (lectures or readings).

Academic Integrity

  • While you’re welcome to follow a trending format, please do not just lip-sync someone else’s audio and do not copy another TikTokkers video verbatim. You need to develop your own, unique ideas in this video.
  • If you duet another educational TikTok, you need to add something unique to the discussion (do not just react to their points).
  • Wherever possible, cite your sources. You can directly mention the anthropologist’s name in your explanation, of you can write their name on the screen as a caption, etc.

Length and Content

  • There is no required length, but shorter videos typically keep people’s attention better.
  • If you can write and follow a script that is about 5–10 sentences long, that will be sufficient!

Showing Respect

  • Do not use this as an opportunity to disparage others.
  • Videos that include hateful stereotypes, or demeaning language against another community will not be accepted.
  • If you include accurate captions in your video, you’ll earn 10 more points!


Here are two educational TikToks that directly addressed the exact material that I teach in my class. Use these as guidance for what I am looking for.


Please closely follow the rubric for this assignment and be prepared to make revisions (I want to ensure that the information that you are sharing is correct). This is extra credit task can earn 50 extra credit points which will replace a traditional assignment. Review the rubric by scrolling to the bottom of this page and viewing the attached rubric.

What’s the point?

🎯 By making a TikTok, students will help introduce a wider audience to the field of cultural anthropology which will, ultimately, help to translate cultural views across groups that could not previously hold a dialogue.

👉 The point of this task is to give you an opportunity to turn the course material into something meaningful, and, to show the world what you have learned. Furthermore, sharing these concepts with your larger community will be your first introduction to “applied anthropology” (where anthropologists offer their knowledge to solve practical issues). The spirit of this task is to help offer more people the skills they need to understand the world around them.

🎁 Remember, this task is an optional alternative to any of the required tasks in this module. You are not required to complete this, but you’re welcome to use this task to advance your knowledge, to replace a missing score, or to bring up your overall grade. If you cannot squeeze this into your schedule, then please skip it!

Feeling overwhelmed? Need help?

If you need more support please:

  • Contact me if you have a question
  • Post questions on the Q&A Board, your classmates will answer them
  • Check the General FAQ page for common questions