Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Teaching RCC

I have been kinda quiet this summer, working on my garden and preparing to teach RCC this Fall. The latter has given me a new understanding of teaching faculty. This is a lot of work! particularly since this is new prep for me and I haven't been able to find a good textbook for the course (there are reasonable ones on the invention of writing and the proliferation of media since the nineteenth century, but not one that does both) an introduction to the history of recorded information. Here is the course description:

"Why do almost all humans learn to speak and understand language as infants, but we don't all learn to read and write, and if we do it is difficult and we do it much later? The answer is that writing is a technology rather than an innate part of being human. This course will be an introduction to the history of recorded information focusing on the moments of technological change: from orality to literacy, from scroll to codex, from manuscript to print, and the one we are currently living through, i.e., from print to digital. We will see examples of some of these technologies in the Library's Special Collections. We will participate in weekly field trips to an Elementary School in Orlando to help students there learn to read. We will also visit the Orlando Sentinel office as the employees of that newspaper go through this digital revolution. This course will help you better understand what we can and cannot learn from history, what is happening around you as some daily newspapers go out of business and books can be read on your iPhone, and your role as agents of change."

Here is a list of all the books (there are a bunch of articles and blog entries as well, but these are the books) from which I selected readings for this course and how to locate them at Rollins and beyond.

Casson, Lionel. Libraries in the Ancient World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1983. (see also her The Printing Press as an Agent of Change."

Hessler, Peter. Oracle Bones: A Journey between China's Past and Present. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

Houston, Stephen D. The First Writing: Script Invention As History and Process. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Johns, Adrian. The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Manguel, Alberto. A History of Reading. New York: Viking, 1996.

McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. The Medium Is the Massage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

McNeely, Ian F., and Lisa Wolverton. Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.

O'Donnell, James Joseph. Avatars of the Word: From Papyrus to Cyberspace. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen, 1982.

Plato and William S. Cobb. The Symposium: and, The Phaedrus ; Plato's Erotic Dialogues. SUNY Series in Ancient Greek philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

Roberts, Colin H., and T. C. Skeat. The Birth of the Codex. London: Published for the British Academy by the Oxford University Press, 1983.

Stephens, Mitchell. A History of News: From the Drum to the Satellite. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.

Trithemius, Johannes. In Praise of Scribes. De Laude Scriptorum. Lawrence, Kan: Coronado Press, 1974.

There are a huge number of readings I could have chosen from, if you have any suggestions, let me know.


Tom said...

This looks like a very interesting course, but I am wondering whether it has worked out as an RCC course. My experience is that Rollins first year students have a lot of adjustments to make in order to do even basic college level work. How has the course gone so far?

Tom Lairson

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