Link to What's NewThis Week A Classics Scholar Looks at Learning and Technology

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James J. O'Donnell's
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Latest update: August 20, 2000

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A classicist's view of learning and technology.
James J. O'Donnell is Professor of Classical Studies and Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing at the University of Pennsylvania." And this is the book in which Professor O'Donnell says: "The commonest objection to this suggestion is how to grade individuals for a common project. The correct response to that question is to urge agaian the disjunction of evaluation from the classroom. A well-structured classroom is one in which students will get feedback from both colleagues and teacher in an ongoing dynamic way. If at the end of a term you need an examination to know how a student is doing, my view is that you haven't been teaching well at all." (At p. 186.)

I have lost this book almost as many times as I've lost Rambo and the Dalai Lama and John Dewey and the Lessons of Art. That's because I carry them around with me and forget them in various parts of the house. May you also have them with you enough to strew them about.

See also Tools for Teaching. Link to Tools for Teaching in the left-most frame of O'Donnell's site at the University of Pynnsylvania.

In this section Professor O'Donnell offers some of the basic training that will enable teachers to effectively use the Internet. Excellent resource. And, while you're there, don't forget to click on his lion pictures. They are wonderful; and the second click brings a roar!

About a third of the way down the file on Even Better Communication (Under Tools for Teaching), you'll find an excellent suggestion for collaborative writing. Students respond to the essays of other students. We have the facility for that on Dear Habermas. Look at what Professor O'Donnell has to say about this: "In this way, the act of "writing a paper" becomes a real exercise in communicating with one's peers. If arespondent misreads a student's paper, the author of the original paper then has a precious new motivation for improving his or her work -- not to live up to the lofty expectations of a professor, but to get through to a real live audience. The teacher in this situation becomes a collaborator, not a judge." I just love it when Classics Professors tell you that your Sociology Professors are right! jeanne