Sunoikisis 2013 – Faculty Development Seminar Common Day

Bookended by the discussions for the Greek Lyric and the Literature from the Early Republic seminars was the common day, led by Prof. Ryan Fowler (Center for Hellenic Studies) and Prof. Kenny Morrell (Rhodes). Rather than focusing on specific subject matter, this day was reserved for all the seminar attendees to discuss innovations in technology and pedagogy that would benefit the Sunoikisis courses going forward.

The common day began with a history of and introduction to both the Center and the Sunoikisis program as a whole, given by Prof. Morrell. The current initiatives of the Sunoikisis program were discussed, including the undergraduate research symposium, the Kenchreai archaeological school in Greece, and the “J-term” where students spend the month of January abroad in Greece.

After a brief break, the participants discussed methods of presenting Sunoikisis courses to college registrars, such as noting how the courses expose students to the expertise of faculty at other institutions while providing the same amount of local instruction. The group considered adding information about participating faculty on the Sunoikisis website to communicate more clearly who the faculty for each Sunoikisis course are. They also discussed how to display the classes to students, such as using a general ‘topics’ model or actually building in the iterations of the course into an individual institution’s course catalogue.

In conjunction with this discussion on the Sunoikisis courses, Center for Hellenic Studies director Prof. Gregory Nagy (Harvard) discussed “The Ancient Greek Hero”, his MOOC (massive open online course) through Harvard and how he is using a gradated multiple choice component to assess both factual knowledge and depth of understanding for the class. Prof. Morrell then brought up studies showing the different benefits that students and faculty enumerated when asked what they gained from studying the Classics.

After lunch, everyone reconvened to discuss the ways in which the synchronous online sessions of the Sunoikisis courses could be facilitated and assessed. Everyone present was walked through a tutorial of Google Hangouts which will be used to broadcast the weekly course lectures to YouTube and to record the sessions for later viewing. Prof. Amy Singer (Franklin & Marshall) took the seminar participants through an example of a course description and syllabus to discuss how to construct and display clear course objectives and how to create assignments that actually assess the degree to which a student has accomplished these objectives.

During the last session of the day, the seminar goers heard about some of the new initiatives that Center and Sunoikisis are involved in. One of these is the Information Fluency Workshop being hosted later in the summer at the Center, where undergraduates from several institutions come to learn about the field of digital humanities and library science. This year is the first time the Center has offered the workshop; next year applications for the program will be open more broadly. Students who complete the workshop will receive a badge in information fluency through Mozilla Open Badges. The Center is experimenting with badges as a way of offering more granular accounts of student achievement.

Prof. Morrell explained the new Elementary Greek sequence that would allow interactivity among institutions and decrease burdens on any one institution to provide both Greek and Latin. Prof. Norman Sandridge (Howard) discussed the ongoing efforts on the Cyropaedia “communtary” for an ever expanding and evolving resource for this text and then other texts in the future. Finally, a discussion was held about appropriating some part or version of Prof. Nagy’s MOOC course for use by the Sunoikisis program. With such a wealth of information on the opportunities ahead for Sunoikisis, the seminar day ended with a clear vision for the future.

Also in attendance beyond those previously mentioned were Prof. Ryan Fowler (Center for Hellenic Studies), Prof. Del Chrol (Marshall), Prof. Ben DeSmidt (Carthage), Prof. Heather Gruber (Concordia), Prof. Dave Guinee (DePauw), Prof. Hal Haskell (Southwestern), Prof. Kathryn Milne (Wofford), Prof. Lyvia Parara (Maryland), Prof. Arum Park (Brigham Young), Prof. Molly Pasco-Pranger (Mississippi), Prof. Joe Romero (Mary Washington), Prof. David Sick (Rhodes), Prof. Niall Slater (Emory), Prof. Ron Stottlemyer (Carroll), Prof. Heather Vincent (Eckerd), and Prof. Dave Yates (Millsaps).

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