Classics (As of April 2003)

This is a priority, in that FTEP is pioneering work in the scholarship of teaching and learning at the departmental level.

"The Classics Department launched a 'Program in Technology and Teaching Initiatives,' thanks to support from FTEP. This initiative is tied to major curricular developments in the department and extends to all members of the faculty. The long-term goal is to make use of the extraordinary opportunities technology affords to improve the quality and accessibility of classics courses, research, editing of journals and discrete manuscripts, support and mentoring of students, and outreach to other scholars and to the local community. The program benefits all of the department's faculty as well as students."

- Professor Elspeth Dusinberre, Classics Department, February 2003

Classics organized three events in March 2003 as part of the college's "Assessment" project and invited three scholars well known for integrating technology in classics instruction.

Description and Evaluation of the Classics Project:

"The Department of Classics has concluded its series of three visits from external scholars and teachers who were invited to help us assess our teaching and learning goals and their implementation. Although we are still awaiting written reports from the two most recent visitors and have not yet tabulated all our findings from paper questionnaires, we submit this preliminary report on our project, which was inspired by FTEP and largely funded through a generous grant from FTEP of $1600, plus the costs of two receptions. A final report, with all our documentation attached, will follow in June.

We began our study with identification of three major areas in which we thought study would be rewarding: the philology curriculum (both in the ancient languages Latin and Greek and in translation), the archaeology curriculum, and the use of technology in courses of all types. We continued by identifying six general issues in our curriculum and pedagogy that we thought could be profitably investigated, some of which were directly related to only one of the three major areas, and others which crossed the boundaries. We identified four tools for studying these issues, which we refined and revised as we selected from our list of issues those that were appropriate for immediate study and discarded others that either were too large to take on in a one-semester time frame, or seemed, on reflection, to be general, non-discipline-specific issues that have already been well researched and discussed. We received useful guidance through these steps in meetings with (May Ann Shea) and with Lorrie Shepard of the School of Education.

Once we had selected our issues of focus and our instruments for studying them, we focused on our visitors individually. In preparation for the visit of Lillian Doherty, Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Maryland, 5-9 March, who was charged with the study of our philology curriculum, we prepared two types of paper survey to be administered in classes, one for introductory Greek and Latin classes and another for advanced courses in classical literature in translation. We arranged for interviews between Professor Doherty and the faculty, both individually and in a group of those faculty who have been involved in the teaching of Introductory Greek. We supplied her in advance with overviews of our curriculum and the college curriculum, and copies of sample syllabi from our department files. We prepared questions that we could address to her, as a way to learn from her experience at her home institution. Professor Doherty was charged foremost with assessing the effectiveness of our curriculum and teaching in introductory language courses and our retention rates, especially in Greek. For this purpose she attended 5 Latin and Greek classes on March 6-7, where she administered surveys and conducted open discussions in the absence of the course instructor. She also met with the faculty. She was charged secondarily with assessing the organization of the classics major in literature in translation, and for this purpose she attended one advanced course, our new (2000-01) CLAS 4040 capstone course, and interviewed faculty. Her conclusions regarding the Latin and Greek programs were informative and detailed, and she delivered practical suggestions for the teaching of both languages. Conclusions regarding the major at large were less available, since the data we were able to collect within our limited timeframe was less, but Professor Doherty was able to intimate feelings of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Further study on the classics courses and major in translation might produce clearer results.

In preparation for the visit of Kevin Glowacki, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University and at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, March 30 -April 1, who was charged with study of our use of technology across the curriculum, we arranged for a meeting with students in one course that makes critical use of a web site, arranged for individual meetings with Mark Werner, yourself, and classics faculty, and scheduled a public presentation by Professor Glowacki on his own use of the web in his teaching at Indiana. We also directed him in advance to our departmental web page and web pages for individual courses. The report of his findings from students and faculty has not yet come in, but his presentation, entitled "Techne + Logos: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with Technology in the Humanities," gave a rich and exemplary picture of the level of engagement between students and faculty, the speed and volume of feedback from faculty to student, the accessibility of vast stores of image and text, the ease of updating and manipulating material, and many further advantages inherent in the use of technology in teaching. Although many members of the department do use or have used technology for many of the purposes Professor Glowacki demonstrated, the sheer volume and extent of his use of his website in teaching was, I believe, a surprise to us all. This injection of ideas from our field beyond the walls of CU was an effective means for stimulating faculty and students here to use technology profitably.

Our final visitor, John Pedley, Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Greek at the University of Michigan, who was charged with study of our archaeology curriculum, was with us just this week, 14-16 April. We prepared for his visit by arranging two group meetings with archaeology students, one for undergraduates and another for graduates, scheduling meetings with individual faculty, and arranging for a public presentation by Professor Pedley on his own use of archaeological field work for pedagogical (and research) purposes. Again, his report has not been completed, but he indicated orally that he was able to collect substantive observations about the archaeology curriculum from his meetings with students and faculty. His presentation, entitled "Excavating a Graeco-Roman Sanctuary at Paestum, Italy: Purposes, Problems, and Results," provided another compelling example of teaching activities in our field that are staged at other institutions. The dig at Paestum, which Pedley led for several decades out of the University of Michigan's Department of Classical Studies and Kelsey Museum, and which is still ongoing under the direction of one of Pedley's former students now at Bowdoin College, was deliberately devised not only as a research project, but also as a field school for archaeology students. Pedley illustrated his presentation with slides from the site, which showed throughout the degree to which students were engaged with every aspect of the project, from the labor in the trenches to the discovery of key objects to the shaping of key theories. He also took opportunities to demonstrate the effects of the fieldwork on the future careers of his students, many of whom now hold leading positions in American universities and museums. As in the case of technology, this demonstration of the virtues of fieldwork was not news to us, but we were, again, stimulated and inspired anew by the level of the project staged at another institution.

The department gives grateful thanks to FTEP for giving us the occasion and the means to assess and reconceptualize our pedagogical goals and devices, and we look forward to further opportunities to continue this sort of project. Our final report in June will include the direct statements of our visitors, as well as data collected from our students, and at that stage we will also present further reflections on the value and implications of this important project, its potential for being continued in Classics, and its potential for other departments."

- Professor Susan Prince, Classics Department, April 2003.

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