Class on Feb. 14th:
I was unwise enough to wait a few days before writing about class, but I really enjoyed the extra care that was put into the presentation, and all the old Valentines. I also liked how the McGonigal talk was linked to other classes taught here— it really gives people a chance to take classes that are going to interest them more. I like it when information in class branches off so that you can pursue it on your own, rather than just dead ending as the section ends.
I must also admit that I am looking forward to the book club activity. I’ve always kind of wanted to be in a book club, but never got around to it due to worrying about not liking the book they chose, or not being able to come up with anything worthwhile to say about it, or just more mundane concerns about being able to find time and transportation.
Readings for next week:
I think the Socratic method piece by Tredway was really interesting. I kind of wish I’d had a chance to partake in interactive thinking and learning like that when I’d been younger. I wonder if this is what goes on in forensics classes. Again, it seems to tie back to making students interested and involved with their learning to make it stick. Using a novel (well, novel to someone used to America’s public school system, but actually ancient) method such as this one seems like it has nothing but benefit— and in only an hour a week!
On Hoffert’s book-splosion: I had never thought of book clubs reading separate books to discuss a common theme. It kind of blows my mind. I’m not sure how well it would work out… I do think that there is some merit to having some common ground— as I mentioned when we all found and read our own articles for this very class some weeks ago. I think if there is a shared text, it would make discussion so much easier, as people would be referring to concepts and events familiar to everyone. It’s always interesting to see how different people interpret the same text. Of course, as I also mentioned before, I’ve never taken part in a book club using either format, so I can’t say for sure which method would work better. I certainly can’t argue with the results mentioned in the article.
Oh, Metzger’s article involves the Socratic method, too! I guess I’m reading these in the wrong order. This article’s really interesting, too. It’s longer, so it has a chance to get into some specifics of using this method. I really like her students. :) They really seemed to take the concept and run with it. I’m really impressed. I keep thinking back to my high school literature classes (what I can remember of them, at least) and wondering how an activity like this would have changed the experience. I think it would take some time to get into the right mode, but Metzger also mentions how the first few sessions were a learning experience for everyone.
On to the Darnton, which I printed out before class on the 14th— it feels as though it’s been a while since I read something not on a computer screen, but of course that isn’t true. I have physical texts for two of my classes this semester, and maybe more once spring break is over and my 1.5 credit class starts. Hm, I’m supposed to read this one closely. Pressure’s on! Are we supposed to mark these up like the students in the Metzger article? Because right away I noticed that one of the words in the title is unfamiliar to me, so I looked it up. Jeremiad: A long, mournful complaint or lamentation. Yeah, I thought it sounded Biblical.
Actually, I think it’s getting a little late for such intimidatingly close reading, and I have some other stuff I need to do tonight. I’ll add on to this blog post later with my super-close reading!
Okay, let’s do this.
Wow, Harvard’s book collection is (of course) very impressive! I’m glad that they’re digitizing it for the world. I would love to have the chance to touch a Gutenburg Bible, oh-so-carefully! It must be crazy to touch such an important piece of history. I love old things like that.
It’s always a little strange to me when someone says ‘vicious circle’ instead of ‘vicious cycle,’ but now that I think of it, most people I’ve heard go the ‘circle’ route. You know, I’m not sure this is really a close reading so much as me getting hung up on irrelevant details.
So Jeremiad 1 deals with the problem of disproportionate increase in the cost of serials, a topic that has been discussed in several of my classes. I thought that the plan they came up with to try to counteract it was a good one, and I’m sorry that it didn’t end up working out. The best-laid plans of mice and men…
Jeremiad 2 shows us some shocking statistics. I can’t believe that those journals cost so much! I mean, I suppose I’m still stuck thinking as an individual consumer and not an institution that has many people using its resources, but good golly! How do journal publishers expect libraries to keep shelling out that kind of dough? The article mentions a court case that may indicate that publishers will no longer be able to prevent the circulation of information about their contracts— I think that’s all for the good. Perhaps I’m biased, but it certainly seems to me that libraries are getting the short end of the stick, and any advantage they can get is all to the good.
Oh, and I see that Harvard has a policy like the one at U of M we learned about in 620 the other day, where the university will reimburse the fees for people submitting articles to open-access journals. I like it, but it is kind of a Band-Aid solution rather than a real fix.
Ooh, the Espresso Book Machine! I’ve heard so much about it, but have yet to see one in action. I understand that there is one on campus, is that right? Is it available to the public?
Jeremiad 3— Google, where most things inevitably end up.
Oh, I didn’t realize that libraries would have to pay to access Google Books— that seems kind of underhanded, especially considering that many of the books were only scanned in the first place because of the goodwill of libraries.
‘Cocaine pricing’? That is so 80’s. Let’s call it ‘methamphetamine pricing.’ Get with the times!
(I don’t know, is meth still the ‘big’ drug? I find it so hard to keep up with these things. I suppose some would argue that coke will never go out of style, though I’ve always found drug-abuse-related deviated septums somewhat gauche. But I digress.)
Oh, my, a national digital library would be wonderful! How futuristic!
I thought that this article was interesting. And it always makes me feel nice when things that we talk about in class and read about are mentioned out there in the real world. :)