Sunoikisis 2012 Course Development Seminar: Common Day

As the Medieval Latin seminar drew to a close and the Greek seminar participants began arriving, everyone’s thoughts turned to the Common Day.  The Common Day served as a mirror for both high-paced course development seminars; this was a day where the participants could take a step back and examine the technological and pedagogical innovations currently underway in Sunoikisis programs.

The day started with a brief history of both the Center for Hellenic Studies and Sunoikisis.  Starting from their origins in the 1950s and 1990s respectively, Professor Kenny Morrell (Rhodes) presented an abridged and anecdotal history of the two institutions.  He provided detail about the key figures who helped to the organizations take root, spread across the globe, and take position at the forefront of technology in the humanities.

In the next session of the day, multiple participants in the Greek and Latin seminars gave presentations on trends and recent developments in the field of classics.  For example, a talk about the Information Fluency workshops which were hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges gave more insight into the Homer Multitext Project as well as how other universities are using technology to explore primary sources like never before.  NITLE  and Trollope’s Apollo were also discussed at length, and are examples of organizations and projects that work to engage students in the humanities through technology, interaction, and innovation.

The third session looked at various means for videoconferencing.  Google Hangouts and BigBlueButton are two options for connecting professors with students across the country during the Greek and Latin courses in the fall.  These programs combine simple layouts with practical functionality in order to be used by people anywhere on the technological spectrum.  Other software options include the video chat services of Movi and ClearSea, the later of which was used by Professor Hal Haskell (Southwestern) to connect to the seminars.

This session also explored opportunities for collaboration among Sunoikisis faculty and students.  One venue is Cyropaedia, an expansive online commentary on Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.  The online format of this project allows for a constant evolution of the scholarly discourse about this text without the time delay required by print publishing.  Other environments for large-scale scholarship and collaboration include study/travel programs like the J-Term (2012 information) and Maymester (2012 information) as well as the Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Symposia (past videos/abstracts).

The final session allowed for open discussion concerning the future of Sunoikisis and the course development seminars as a whole.  After seeing the abundance of resources and programs available, the participants were able to brainstorm about their effective implementation and integration into the classroom.  After much discussion, the day ended and all went back to their work with a renewed vigor for the end goals of the seminars in which they were participating.

In addition to those mentioned previously, the Common Day was attended by Prof. Sarah Bond (Washington & Lee), Prof. David Carlisle (Washington & Lee/Cornell College), Prof. Brad Cook (U Mississippi), Prof. Curtis Dozier (Vassar), Dr. Ryan Fowler (Knox), Prof. Scott Garner (Rhodes), Prof. David Guinee (DePauw), Prof. Kristina Meinking (Elon), Prof. Nigel Nicholson (Reed), Prof. Arum Park (W&L), Danilo Piana (Johns Hopkins), Prof. Richard Martin (Stanford), Prof. Brett Rogers (Gettysburg), Prof. Scott Rubarth (Rollins), Lindsay Samson (Agnes Scott), Prof. Susan Satterfield (Rhodes), Prof. Holly Sypniewski (Millsaps), Prof. Heather Vincent (Eckherd).

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