Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Update to my last

Update to my last

Apologies for the attempts to make this entry a little less google-able.

So as an update to this post, I've done some weeding. I've also added some stuff, because Shock!Horror! I had nothing on early Christianity for a course that goes from Archaic Greece to (barely) Constantine. I've been pretty good about keeping the information about those wars that happened between one group of city-states and another in the beginning in the late 5th c. down to three speeches, but that other series of conflicts about which a noted re-creator of a certain slightly warped, cowled, ultra-wealthy hero wrote an illustrated novel turned cinematic testoterone fest? There's just so much, even if I just keep it down to a little background and the three big battles -- and I feel obligated to give battles because there are a couple of military historian types in the class. Can I cut out the background revolt? What else? I mean, really, that's all the reading they have to do for the week ...

And then we get to that guy who wrote a lot about the wars of a certain boot-shaped country and its expansion. I was going to assign the whole book, but have cut it to maybe 25-35%. Again, the major points of the two conflicts he talks about. And the elephants. And, out of order, the whole section on governments.

I avoided almost all of the guy who wrote matching vitae of famous types. Didn't want to. Kept a chunk of the guy who writes my favourite Latin, and balanced with one of my least faves, Mr. Garbanzo. Kept both of the short works by the stodgy senator about his father-in-law and those folks who (mostly) live beyond the limes -- kind of had to, since one of the set papers is on a famous quote from the former. Kept the whole book that's kind of like a story by Carlo Collodi.

I think it's much more manageable, but am now worried that the students will be synthesizing a lot more than they are used to. Am also torn over dumping one of the three papers for an online presentation. I know the students would love that, but really, I think there is more value in asking them to write an essay that forces them to synthesize and analyse rather than spend extra time doing what is essentially a report. Still, at this point, everybody has been so helpful that suggestions are still very welcome -- especially if it's about cutting.

The other readings are all pretty short, and I've taught them all before in other guises. One of the things about teaching World History is that this period gets short shrift, and I can recycle and beef up some of the things I'd normally have included in a Western Civ class.

Am now working on the other new prep. It's the class about how to do what we do, and the history of the writing about stuff in the past. If anybody has an assignment/description for that kind of paper that starts with a big list of all the important sources on a topic and then makes paragraph-shaped notations, all tied into a big essay? I'd love to see it. Considering the library facilities at SLAC and the absence of the best of the article databases, I may just ask for a more in-depth lit review with a list of primary sources on a particular topic. With luck, some of these folks will use the opportunity to start working on that big paper they have to write in order to graduate.


Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Don't apologize for the attempts to make the entry less google-able - they gave me the best laugh I've had in days.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Always happy to be of service ;-)

Marc said...

Nice vaguery! WRT methods course, I made a hopefully helpful suggestion in the comments to this post last month. I won't mention it again, promise!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Thanks, Marc! I missed that comment, but seem to remember helping to award you a prize for that ...!

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