We are still having problems with Sandie’s access to post to this blog, so here is her dairy for the last few months
2 April 2008
Searching for useful Anglo-Saxon and Old English websites to use for the MOSAIC project has been illuminating. As well as the better-known academic sites and databases, I’ve come across a number of sites produced by people not affiliated to an educational institution or publisher or such. Some of these are large, complex, and beautifully illustrated, clearly the work of dedication and devotion. I’m including a number of these in the course, and listing others for further exploration, because the enthusiasm is infectious and I hope that in looking at them participants will see that learning about the Anglo-Saxon world can be a great pleasure, and fun. One site contains photographs of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ villagers going about daily tasks, and includes detailed descriptions of the villagers and their respective occupations. That should be very useful for participants writing the diary’ of Anglo-Saxon life activity I hope to include.
10 April 2008
I’ve amassed a huge collection of possible existing online material on Anglo-Saxon history and Old English literature to use for the MOSAIC project. The problem will be in making a selection so that the course is not dauntingly huge, and the amount of required reading is of a practical length. Also, there is quite a lot of overlap between some sites. I might want to include one section of one site but to leave out others because they contain the same sort of material as another. I hope that when we start to contact the site owners and to clear copyright that they will allow partial as well as complete use of their respective sites.
20 April 2008
The units are coming together and I’ve managed to prune each one so that the required reading and other activities are comparable in amount (words) and duration (i.e. total study and participation time) to the other courses we run at this level. There is a difference between the structure of this course and the other (literature) courses I’ve written. The writing of the literature courses always comes before the production of the live online course, and follows a structure that I am familiar with and a set order. For this course, writing and production are chicken and egg. In the literature courses, participants read course materials I have written, follow links to external materials, and read textbooks. Activities might be reading, discussing, or writing criticism. In this course, there will be no textbook and in a sense all the activities are reading – reading online material. As I don’t know which sites will be embedded in the course so that they follow my introductions and links seamlessly, which will open in new windows, and which will be accessed by participants clicking on links, I don’t know where reading the course ends and reading as an activity begins. Also, of course, I’m still writing under the assumption that we shall be given permission to use the sites I’ve chosen, and that may not be the case. The thing to do will be to stay flexible and regard what I’ve written as a succession of drafts – starting points from which we can work but which will change and develop over time.
1 May 2008
Tact will have to be employed in the negotiations with copyright holders. Some of the websites that I’ve included in the units have minor mistakes of spelling, punctuation and grammar which I’d like to correct before they appear in our course, but I’d hate to give offense. I hope that the copyright holders will regard this as just another stage in production – an extra copy-edit – since we all make mistakes, and typos are hard to spot in one’s own writing.
10 May 2008
I think that the ten units now comprise a coherent course. It moves from introducing the Anglo-Saxon peoples at the points of their various arrivals in the British Isles, to their culture, their language, their literature, their dominance over the country and its establishment as England, and finally the loss of that dominance. I would have liked to have set the scene more, with information about post-Roman Britain and the Romano-British, but there isn’t space. I have included some resources on the Vikings and Normans, and I hope that participants will be inspired to work both backwards and forwards from the period covered by the course. The other thing I must do is make sure that my introductory and linking text has some good illustrations, copyright permitting. Working with lavishly illustrated websites, it’s easy to forget that some will open separately, and I don’t want my words to look like the boring grey bits that people will skip!
5 June 2008
Meeting with Marion and Tom in the TALL office. Marion has brilliant ideas for the design of the course and the different ways in which the external materials will work. Most can be incorporated or open in new windows, and we shall be asking for permission to set up some mirror sites. It will be important to have the larger database-type sites (lexicons, dictionaries, lists) available to participants but not fixed in position so that they have to be navigated before the participant can move on, so those will open out of the introductory and link material. Tom is working on obtaining permissions, and has already produced a list of my suggested external sources and their respective owners. It’s huge!