pedagogy

By 616176 | June 5, 2017

Digital technology can support the emergence of a new kind of environment for reading, exploring, and thinking about classical texts—even those in unfamiliar languages. But realizing the ambitious goals for the new reading modalities, described in an earlier post, is a non-trivial task and requires research of various types.

By sarahcmurray | May 1, 2017

War and games have much in common: multiple contestants compete to win within a physically determined set of realities, each using strategies that are frequently buffeted by interventions of chance and chaos. It is no surprise, then, that war games have been used as predictive tools by military leaders since at least the early 19th century (see the recent collection Zones of Control [2016]). Less familiar is the idea of using games as reconstructive tools in academic military history, although the ancient historian Philip Sabin (Lost Battles [2009]; Simulating War [2014]) has done excellent work on this topic.

By 616176 | April 24, 2017

How do we support those who wish to push beyond what they can learn from the languages that they know? New developments in Digital Humanities offer some intriguing avenues for dealing with scholarly material in unfamiliar languages, even if present achievements only highlight more challenges. In the following visualization, David Mimno of Cornell and Thomas Koentges of Leipzig have identified recurring clusters of words in a collection of Greek Christian Church Fathers. The works of these men were produced over more than a thousand years and amount to more than 30 million words. I do not think many specialists in Christian Church history have read this entire corpus, and I do not believe that any human being has ever been able to read a collection this large critically—it is just too big.

By mountainmatt1230 | April 17, 2017

The online Packard Humanities Institute’s Classical Latin Texts (PHI) makes freely available material that was originally included on the PHI’s CD ROM 5.3, issued in 1991. It contains the vast majority of Latin literary texts written before 200 CE, as well as a handful of Latin texts from late antiquity. It therefore offers an alternative to two other free online resources: The Latin Library and the Perseus Project. The former has already been reviewed for  this blog by Ted Gellar-Goad, and some of his criticisms of it apply equally to PHI.

By Sarah E. Bond | January 17, 2017

In Roman Gaul, a large map of the known world stood on display at the school of rhetoric at Augustodunum (modern Autun). Around 300 C.E., when the school had fallen into disrepair, a man named Eumenius made a pitch to the Roman governor to allow him to rebuild the structure with his own money. He put particular emphasis on the importance of the map:

"In [the school’s] porticoes let the young men see and examine daily every land and all the seas and whatever cities, peoples, nations, our most invincible rulers either restore by affection or conquer by valor or restrain by fear. [They can] learn more clearly with their eyes what they comprehend less readily by their ears…" (Eum. Pan. Lat. XI.20, trans. Talbert).

By thmgg | December 26, 2016

If you’ve studied or taught Latin in the last decade or so, you’ve probably used or at least encountered The Latin Library, administered by William L. Carey, Adjunct Professor of Latin and Roman Law at George Mason University. It’s a simple, free, HTML-based site with a huge collection of Latin texts spanning the longue durée of Latin literature. The purpose of the site is to offer digital texts “for ease of on-line reading or for downloading for personal or educational use” ( see “About These Texts”).

By 152510 | December 5, 2016

The online companion to the print book The Worlds of Roman Women is an important resource that should be far more widely known and used than it is. It offers annotated primary texts, images, and pedagogical materials for teachers of Latin and was called “the gold standard for a web translation resource for intermediate as well as more advanced students,” by Andrew Reinhard nearly a decade ago,[1] and this judgment is still accurate—not because of a sleek or beautiful interface, but because of the wealth of carefully curated content it provides.

By 152510 | November 21, 2016

This paper was delivered as part of "The Future of Classical Education: A Dialogue," a panel organized by the SCS Program Committee at the 147th annual meeting of the SCS in San Francisco, January 8, 2016.

The economic volatility of the last decade has taken a toll on education at every level; the humanities in general and language studies in particular have suffered far more than STEM subjects; and among languages, Greek and Latin, which offer no immediately profitable benefits, feel especially vulnerable. Many of us feel this concern instinctively and find that anecdotes from around the country reinforce our concerns. In addition, three national organizations have published large-scale reports that each offer a different snapshot on the state of undergraduate education.

By Michael Lippman | November 7, 2016

Encouraged by the success of my Sparta course, I began designing a similar course on Athens. My hook was to make the syllabus a virtual blank slate, putting the power in the hands of the demos (in this case, the class). At the start of semester, the syllabus listed one test (the final), which constituted 100% of the grade. Policies and procedures were limited to those the university required, readings were broken down by week; otherwise, students were granted total democratic powers to structure the course. The demos could vote to add more assessments and course policies as well as define the day-to-day classroom experience, but, they would be held accountable for the material on the syllabus regardless of how class was structured.

By Michael Lippman | October 31, 2016

"This university does not promote fascism! We support democracy here!" I was in a Dean's office, trying to talk my way out of being fired on the spot. It started innocently enough. After the wild success of the film 300, I had thought that a large (500 student) lecture course on Sparta might be popular and help recruit majors, plus high enrollment keeps administrators off our backs and justifies our existence in the face of potential budget cuts. Still, I wanted to bring in this popular culture element without sacrificing educational quality, as well as try and make the large, lecture course simulate my preferred small, discussion-based ones. To do this, I created an experiential classroom in which course structure and daily interaction paralleled Spartan society. Students thus were to learn via an approximation of the agoge in the hope that the Spartan system might become a little more personal.

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