Monday, March 31, 2008

First Entry: what this blog isn't

It's not just about medieval history. My area of interest is around 1100 to 1700, which doesn't fit neatly into a single name. Plus, because I teach Western Civ, there are going to be some other topics here as well.

It's not just about history, either. It's also about pedagogy, about the discipline of history generally, about the use of the Web in teaching history {whether or not you're a general}, and about using blogs in particular. There will be no particular order to all this. The blog is best suited to digitizing consciousness {I have ten digits}; a website is for bringing pattern and order from the stream. I have only just now decided this.

I have only just today signed, and had counter-signed, a document, which must be further counter-countersigned and yet counter-counter-countersigned, that states that I am officially in some sort of Blog Project. This news would be more exciting if I knew what the devil that meant. Alas, I do believe I'm supposed to Figure It Out.

In the name of Figgerin' therefore I offer up this:

Fall 2008 I'm going to keep doing this. One may pass it off as research, if one is so inclined. But it's really more the case that I can't figure a way to inflict blogs on my poor freshmen in Hist101, so I've decided to spare them. May they lead long and happy lives.

Spring 2008, though, the sword falls. I teach the Reformation. And, hey, wouldn't it be just ever so nifty if the students blogged from the point of view of the various churches? Here a Mennonite blog, there a Lutheran, a Calvinist, a Socinian, maybe an Antitrinitarian, certainly a Catholic. Room for all, I should think. Playing with dynamite, sez you? All o' that, sez I, and more. It wouldn't be as much fun if it weren't dangerous.

I may go further. Why inflict doctrine and dogma upon them? Remove the essays from the site (hope they don't know about the Wayback Machine) and let each group construct its ideology from research. Maybe make 'em use a wiki. That'd be wikid.

At least that's the working theory until a new brainstorm comes along and washes away the tender sprouts.

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