One Major thing down
One Major thing down
read book and write book review 2 by 30 Sept (postponed till Nov)
finish pedagogy article
LJ for Methods/Historiography course? Decided against it after reading the advice in my own article
syllabus for Freshman seminar? Seminar leader sets the syllabus
and/or elsewhere (Thank you, anonymous reader!)
put all the important due dates in my calendar
Well, I managed to finish cranking out the pedagogical article last night, after having lost a couple of thousand words the night before. Now it’s up to a couple of nice friends who are reading it over, and a couple of notes to track down, and I can do some (I hope minor) editing and send the thing out. I’ve only recently begun to take notes and write on the computer. Even now, I normally start out my writing process on legal pads with a fountain pen (two pads — one for text, and one for notes), but by the time I get past the first page or two, I move to the computer. I still outline in a moleskine notebook. This article/essay is the first thing I’ve ever written for publication that comes from my own experiences. It’s also the first thing I’ve ever written completely on the computer. And the first time I managed to lose an entire day’s work. Funny, no?
In some ways, it’s also the hardest thing I’d ever written. The research was simple, in that it was based on my own classroom experiences with a particular pedagogical method. But writing about that was hard, because I was the authority. I wasn’t citing other people, and had little objective evidence, just my experiences, and my students’ responses. Blogging is one thing — readers know that this is all about me. I’m just another damned medievalist spouting off with all the other damned medievalists and academics of other types. What was also hard, but ultimately good, I think, was that I had to really look at what I had done in my courses and re-assess things objectively.
Interestingly, as I wrote, I realised that what I was writing wasn’t what the evidence supported. I had discussed the different assignments with students who had done both. The students hated one of the assignments, and loved the other. Initially, I wrote as if the assignment the students hated was a failure. As I looked over their work again, though, I found that the students’ work in the assignment they hated demonstrated a much higher achievement of my intended outcomes than the one they liked. This made me realise that it was not a bad assignment; in fact, it was very effective. The problem was that I had chosen a format that didn’t work with that kind of assignment. So I ended up re-writing that part of the article, too. But really, I’m so looking forward to writing medieval stuff, where I can point to actual documentary evidence and scholarly opinion. It may be much more laborious, but you know, I’m happy to admit that I like to work within that comfort zone.