Dr. H Goes High Tech

Meet my new course packet for my Political Science Career Seminar class.

Most of the readings we hand out in our Political Science Career Seminar are on-line, and it’s always struck as slightly silly to print, make multiple copies of, and hand out an on-line reading. But asking students to follow a bunch of html addresses printed on the syllabus is a sure-fire way to ensure nobody reads. I have in the past created dedicated websites, but that’s a time-consuming task, can be expensive, and if–like me–you let the domain name lapse and don’t have everything backed up properly, all your hard work gets flushed.

So what about using a free blog, like the ones that, say, WordPress makes possible? Because they were created for a very different purpose, blogs have their own functional limitations for this kind of task, primarily in that you can’t organize all the main categories as a neat series of buttons on a single front page, so finding things is going to be a less intuitive process for the reader. But I’ve devised–I think–a structure that allows for, if not intuitive, at least a straightforward and clear process of getting to the articles. It might not work for a course with a much more extensive range of categories and either far more or much longer readings. But I’m optimistic it will work for this class.

One of the pluses, also, of having this type of course reader online is that my students can continue to refer back to it after they have finished my course (usually as either a sophomore (preferred) or junior. And if some student out there at another school–who isn’t paying my salary, hence compensating me for this effort–stumbles across it and benefit, that’s a positive externality I’m very happy to subsidize.

Any comments, critiques, suggestions, or additional valuable readings to link to are welcome.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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2 Responses to Dr. H Goes High Tech

  1. pierrecorneille says:

    James,

    Have you thought of including this link by Timothy Burke on the new site?

    http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/permanent-features-advice-on-academia/features/

    [I tried commenting this before and it didn’t take for some reason, so I apologize if it’s in your comment queue.]

    I have a lot of agreement with Burke’s view, at least when the graduate program under consideration is a PHD program in the humanities and “softer” social sciences. For masters programs in humanities and social sciences, and for PHD programs in other fields, the essay may be less apt.

  2. J@m3z Aitch says:

    Yes, Pierre, that post by Dr. Burke is included. But thanks for making sure I was aware of it.

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