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One Major thing down

1 August, 2007

One Major thing down

  • read book and write book review 1 by 30 Sept
  • read book and write book review 2 by 30 Sept (postponed till Nov)
  • contact German publisher and remind her that the person she forwarded my stuff to hasn’t responded, and would she like to try the second choice?
  • finish pedagogy article
  • get doc collections/analyze data for women and property article
  • write up data, analysis, and add in all that nice secondary research I did at the BL
  • take article an use as a basis for book proposal for meeting at end of August
  • update my CV
  • syllabus for Ancient course
  • blackboard site for Ancient course
  • LJ for Ancient course
  • Syllabus for Methods/Historiography course
  • blackboard site for Methods/Historiography course
  • LJ for Methods/Historiography course? Decided against it after reading the advice in my own article
  • update survey Blackboard sites
  • update survey syllabus
  • clean up office, which flooded three days before I left on my summer travels
  • syllabus for Freshman seminar? Seminar leader sets the syllabus
  • find a paper panel for Kzoo and/or elsewhere (Thank you, anonymous reader!)
  • go to Jesuit U and get books for current work
  • read for fall courses, because I’ve never used many of the books I’ve assigned, or have not read them myself since I was a grad student. At the moment, that means Tosh, Freeman, Apuleius, Polybios, Suetonius, Herodotus, and Tey.
  • put all the important due dates in my calendar
  • is there other stuff? probably
  • Write up Wikipedia Assignment for Freshman seminar

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.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 August, 2007 5:35 pm

    I also write out initial drafts long-hand, on yellow, narrow-rule legal paper, with a fountain pen. I thus have an entire long-hand draft of my dissertation (except for the conclusion, which I wrote directly into the computer).

  2. 1 August, 2007 9:59 pm

    Interesting post. I’ve always loved reading pedagogy articles (or at least good ones!) but never thought I could write one for the same reason you point out, that I don’t have any real evidence per se, because apparently I think that my own experiences aren’t actually evidence. Maybe this is different for folks not in the humanities who do their own experiments all the time?Anyway, congrats on getting the article drafted — good for you!

  3. 2 August, 2007 3:00 am

    Rebecca, that’s awesome. I only have the first 6 or 7 pages of each chapter — well, had. I think I may finally have purged my old diss drafts.WN, thanks! I’ll feel better if/when it’s actually accepted and published!

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