Monday, February 28, 2005
On BibleDudes, Bart developed a really cool interactive movie about stratigraphy. It can be seen by going here to the archaeology section and scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page and you have to click on the trowel to launch the interactive movie. I think it does a pretty good job of summarizing each layer. I'm nearly finished writing all of the critical methods section, with only literary and source outstanding. I hope to have the entire section finished and on the web at the close of this semester. Then I guess we're set to start publicizing it.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Saturday, February 12, 2005
The topic of the first critical essay that I assigned this semester involved comparing and contrasting a story from the Torah with another ancient Near Eastern account. Most students focused on the deluge accounts of Gilgamesh XI and Genesis 6-9, or on the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 as well as the Enuma Elish, Creation by Atum, or the Theology of Memphis. A large number of students unfortunately argued that Genesis was accurate, while the Mesopotamian/Egyptian versions were false. The main reason for this, according to them, was that Genesis is about the true God, while the others are polytheistic, and therefore silly, or worse, blatantly deceiving their readers. It seems every day our culture becomes more and more binary. At least the students are not being nihilistic, but it is frustrating for me to see such a lack of objective critical thinking in the future leaders of the world. I think I need to spend more time with the paper help section of my website. Or probably more accurately, I need to motivate the students to read what is already there.
My experiment in teaching without using any paper is going pretty well. Last semester I made it a policy that I wouldn't hand out anything in class, but that it would all be digital. But I still gave exams on paper and the students turned in their papers to me in hard copy. But this semester I am trying to be completely paper free. The first paper assignment was due last Thursday, and I asked that the students email me their papers before class started. I ran into a few problems. A few students sent me wordperfect documents, which I can't read so well, being that wordperfect requires Windows and is not available for Mac users. Which leads me to another problem. I require that the papers be in MS Word format. What is good about that is I can check the five pages in length, proper margins, fonts, etc well. It helps me to get the students to follow rules and directions. I also like the track changes feature, as my comments stand out very well. But I'm not comfortable supporting Bill Gates and Microsoft. I've thought about just having them email in text format, but for now I still think I prefer MS Word. So the paperless papers are going well, but I guess I need to find a better term for the assignment, like critical essay for example. For the final exam, I'm going to try an oral interview with each student.