Week 2 Untextbook Report

Here is a report on the UnTextbook reading selections people made in Week 2 of the class (with a few students working ahead to Week 3 already also). First, here are the number of ratings and the average of those ratings — with so few ratings, though, I wouldn't make too much of the averages, but over time this is going to be incredibly helpful to me as I learn more about which units are proving more successful, which units need improvement, etc. So, 5 is "excellent," 4 is "very good," 3 is "good," 2 is "okay," 1 is "did not enjoy."

Cupid and Psyche4.4 (13 ratings)
Ovid 1 4.4 (11 ratings)
Aesop (Winter)4.3 (4 ratings)
Homer's Iliad4.2 (1 rating)
Aesop (Jacobs)4.0 (2 ratings)
Homer's Odyssey4.0 (1 rating)
Ovid 24.0 (1 rating)
Ovid 34.0 (1 rating)

Gospel of Mark5.0 (1 rating)
Saints and Animals4.7 (3 ratings)
Adam and Eve4.3 (3 ratings)
Bible Women4.0 (5 ratings)
Noah4.0 (2 ratings)
Jewish Fairy Tales4.0 (1 rating)
Infancy Gospels3.0 (1 rating)

Below are some responses to the comments people made, and I am SO GRATEFUL for all this feedback. I was able to make some changes that I hope will be useful for next week, and I'm also getting some good ideas for improvements to make for future semesters also. Because the comments you make in the Google Form are anonymous, I cannot reply to people individually, and I'm thinking these replies might be of general interest anyway:

Language. People commented on the difficulty of the language used in some of the units, so I have added a note to each of the unit pages with some comments about the type of language used in the reading. Of course, the most important thing is to read at least a few paragraphs before you make your choice to see what you think!

King James Bible. The King James Bible is actually written in modern English, but it has many archaic forms (like the singular "thou" as opposed to the plural "you," and the verb endings -est and -eth, etc.). Meanwhile, Old English is the language of the Anglo-Saxons used until around the year 1200. Middle English was used from around 1200 through around the year 1500 (Chaucer, for example, wrote in Middle English). If you want to use a different Bible translation instead, you can do that, except for the Bible Women unit. In that unit, the stories of the women are often pieced together from verses scattered through a given Bible chapter, which would make it very hard to follow in another translation.

Cupid and Psyche. If you are curious about the frametale (the story about Lucius, the donkey-man), you can read a summary here at Wikipedia: Golden Ass - Plot Summary. In general, Wikipedia is excellent for plot summaries, more reliable than sites like Spark Notes, etc.

Homer. Several people mentioned how there were lots of names to remember, and it would not be too hard for me to make a "Character Guide" for those units where there are recurring characters from page to page. There are not too many units like that, but that is a difficulty with the Homer units, and with the Iliad unit in particular. So, thank you for this good suggestion, and even if I don't get it done this semester, I will work on that for next semester.

Iliad. Oh, I am so sorry to say: there is no Trojan Horse in Homer! The Trojan Horse story is one that we know from Vergil's Aeneid. So I guess I need to add a unit on Vergil's Aeneid. Meanwhile, I have updated the Iliad overview to make it more clear just what period of the war is covered. Plus, there's a great article about the Trojan Horse at Wikipedia.

Someone asked about whether Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph show up in a unit - there are some GREAT stories about Abraham in the Folklore of the Holy Land unit coming up in Week 3. One of the units I would like to add to the Bible units in the future is one about Jacob and Joseph and his brothers. Even better: Ginzberg has some incredible legends about Joseph that fill in the many gaps in the Bible story. I actually had a Joseph unit almost done, but I ran out of time. It will be part of the UnTextbook next year I am sure!

Reading Unit Titles. When you fill out the Google Form, please make sure you provide the title of the specific unit. "Classical Greece" is not the name of a reading unit, but "Cupid and Psyche" or "Iliad" is a specific unit.

More Numbers:

44 laptop computer
10 desktop computer
9 tablet
3 smart phone
3 audio