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ANAHITA  December 1997

ANAHITA December 1997

Subject:

Re: web-based syllabus

From:

Ross Scaife <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 11 Dec 1997 11:26:57 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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>Fellow list members,
>I am in the process of doing some thorough revisions to my course on women
>in antiquity, and in particular am thinking about making my syllabus more
>web-based.  I have been prowling around Diotima's listing of courses and
>have found some very impressive and elaborately linked syllabuses (Ross
>Scaife's is remarkable!).  I would be very interested in hearing some
>reports on how these play out: do the students find them more
>helpful/engaging or otherwise educational than traditional paper syllabus
>and book/reserve assignments?  What have you found the advantages or
>disadvantages are with this medium?  Do they have any impact on the quality
>of student work or discussion?
>Thanks for any tips!
>Clara Shaw Hardy
>Carleton College

Thank you for the comment, Clara.  There are _many_ interesting sets of
course materials in Diotima now, but I'd especially advise people to have a
look at what Marilyn Katz has been doing at Wesleyan this fall.

Last spring when I did the course you mention, there were 15 students
enrolled, all women, and all agreed that they were willing to obtain some
of the course documents via the web site.  I could see from what they
brought to class that they were indeed doing this, and there were no
complaints.  I didn't even hold the previously customary "this is how you
use the web" session, though from time to time I did use the internet
display capabilities of the wired classroom in which we met.

So, advantages for the students: significant savings in cost of course
texts; 24-hour availability of course materials and schedule from many
locations on and off campus; increased confidence in their legitimate
academic use of the web, especially for their own exploration and research
into matters of special personal interest.  Disadvantage: access to web
limited by overcrowding in labs at certain times of the semester.

Advantages for me: ability to discuss with students a great range of
materials which they had seen (or were supposed to have seen) by class;
development of course documents that can be modified very easily for future
teaching assignments.  Self-criticism: for some days I had too many links
and it probably wasn't clear what the bottom-line requirements for students
were, so I need to be more disciplined in shaping the assignments and
thinking about what I want to have happen.  But restraint is always hard
for me!

It would be good to hear from other people about this.

Ross Scaife

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