On Saturday, October 1, faculty from the Sunoikisis consortium will meet to plan an inter-institutional elementary Greek sequence. Meeting participants include: David Carlisle (Washington & Lee), Megan Drinkwater (Agnes Scott), Ryan Fowler (Knox), Hal Haskell (Southwestern), John Henkel (Georgetown), Stephen Maiullo (Hope), Elizabeth Manwell (Kalamazoo), Kristina Meinking (Elon), Scott Rubarth (Rollins), Norman Sandridge (Howard), Jeannine Uzzi (Southern Maine), and Heather Vincent (Eckherd). The meeting begins at 9:00am and a live webcast will be available at rtsp://stream.chs.harvard.edu/HouseA, viewable with Quicktime or Real Player.
During the summer, the faculty discussed some preliminary ideas for an online elementary Greek language course. Notes from the previous meeting below also identify topics for the discussion at the October 1 meeting.
Notes from Preliminary Summer Meeting
We discussed possibilities for the exploration of different schedules and ways of taking advantage of information technologies. For example, without abandoning the idea of having all the students meeting via videoconferencing on a regular basis, we might try engaging them at various times and in different ways to motivate more frequent engagement with the language. Ideas include:
1. Sending periodic text messages or emails in the target language and having the students reply also in the target language
2. Using podcasts to which the students could listen and respond by answering questions
3. Sending short scripts, questions, or topics to students and have them work in pairs to record and upload short dialogues for review
Format of Assignments
Due to potential problems associated with having students produce the language primarily through typing, we thought about having students write assignments by hand, scan them (or take a picture), and then submit them for review. On this point, we will explore the possibility of using a smartboard during the synchronous sessions.
Process for Reviewing and Correcting Student Work
We discussed an evaluation system that would simply indicate where students need to review and revise their work rather than adding the corrections ourselves. We noted, too, that we could have students engage in more spoken exercises. Finally, we talked about the possibility of hiring a graduate student to work with the students and help develop the materials.
Since we know fairly precisely what the students well encounter as they emerge from the sequence and begin participating in the advanced Sunoikisis courses, we can work backwards and engineer the three courses to prepare them to handle specific types of texts. In other words, most language curricula have to be general in their approach because curricular designers have to prepare students for a wide variety of texts in intermediate and advanced courses. Although we, too, want to develop the students’ ability to handle a range of materials, we can also be more focused in our approach and work toward a higher level of fluency for certain domains.
We discussed the idea of some sort of “bridge” course, perhaps during the spring semester or summer, for students who finish the elementary sequence in the fall and who would have to wait until the following year to take one of the advanced Sunoikisis courses.
Comments on these plans are welcome.