[With apologies for cross-posting]
Dear graduate students in the New York area,
Following a talk by Leipzig’s Greg Crane last month at Columbia, I wanted to pursue in more depth the idea of undergraduate students conducting and publishing their own original research right from the beginning of their studies. Please join me for a brief workshop this Wednesday 3rd December, 2.10-3.25 p.m. in the Studio@Butler lab (Butler, room 208b)* in Columbia University’s Butler library, where we shall:
— briefly define what is meant by original research into Classical texts, and discuss its purpose, merits, and challenges.
— harvest some low-hanging fruit by designing a few practical exercises for student research — particularly those involving more low-tech and Columbia-specific resources.
I would be most grateful if you could pass this invitation along to any postgraduate colleagues you think might be interested, and request that you all RSVP to <firstname.lastname@example.org> so I can ensure the library security staff grant access to people from other institutions.
Light refreshments will be served (please let me know if you have any requests). Please see the abstract below for more details.
What: Original Research & the Undergraduate Classics Classroom
When: Wednesday 3rd December, 2.10-3.25 p.m.
Who: you — plus anyone else who’s interested!
Where: Studio@Butler / Butler 208b*
* Butler 208b / Studio@Butler is opposite the Reserves desk. To reach it, turn left after passing the security checkpoint at the entrance of the building, and follow the corridor around two corners until you reach the south side of Butler. It is the door on the left before the large reading room 209.
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There is no reason why undergraduates in the Humanities cannot conduct their own original research projects, much like their counterparts in the sciences. Scaffolding is required, however, in the form of training, collaboration, and quality control. Such an activity stands to promote active learning, develop transferable or practical skills such as planning and communication, and make genuine contributions to the field, as well as providing students with a tangible product at the end of the semester and perhaps even renewed motivation. As Humanists we arguably have a moral imperative to make the millions of words of untranslated Latin and Greek more accessible to the public, especially if they are funding us — and at least one convenient open-source platform now exists to facilitate such an initiative.
A 75-minute session will introduce graduate teachers to the concept and practice of structuring online the information contained in Classical texts — lexicographical, morphological, syntactical, and thematic — followed by an exercise aimed at applying these ideas and technologies to our classes at Columbia. Graduate teachers will leave the event with an overview of how to design and manage original research projects with students, as well as exposure to at least two tools that can facilitate and host such projects and a few concrete ways to incorporate these ideas into classrooms at Columbia. Participants are most welcome to bring along their laptops, but they should not be necessary.