Week 3 Untextbook Report

Here is a report on the UnTextbook reading selections people made in Weeks 2 and 3 of the class, the Classical-Biblical module.

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."

Classical units: 61 total

Cupid and Psyche4.4 (18 ratings)
Homer's Iliad4.4 (7 ratings)
Ovid 1 4.3 (13 ratings)
Aesop (Winter)4.1 (8 ratings)
Homer's Odyssey4.0 (2 ratings)
Ovid 23.8 (4 ratings)
Ovid 33.7 (6 ratings)
Aesop (Jacobs)3.7 (3 ratings)

Biblical units: 34 total

Gospel of Mark4.7 (3 ratings)
Adam and Eve4.4 (5 ratings)
Saints and Animals4.4 (5 ratings)
Jewish Fairy Tales4.3 (7 ratings)
Noah4.3 (4 ratings)
Bible Women4.0 (6 ratings)
Infancy Gospels4.0 (2 ratings)
Women Saints4.0 (2 ratings)

Below are some responses to the comments people made, and I am SO GRATEFUL for all this feedback. 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 — and you might want to check out my replies to last week's comments too. Below I am just replying to new comments made this week:

Reading Diary strategies. As you can see, some units have more stories (but shorter) and other units have fewer stories (but longer) — but all the units are the same length, appx. 15,000 words. Some people who chose units with lots of shorter stories seem to have thought they needed to take notes on every story, which is not the case at all! I will add a comment to that effect on the units with more (shorter) stories. Meanwhile, here is some information from the Reading Diary assignment page:
Diary Guidelines. There are lots of different approaches you can take based on your own preferences and interests in the reading, but here is the key thing: Don't get bogged down in taking notes! You don't have to do a summary of the plot, but instead you should record your reactions and thoughts, the ideas you have while you are reading — and focus on your favorites. You can see some of the diaries I've written up here: Sample Diaries, and you can see some Sample Diaries from other students too. It's entirely up to you how long your Reading Diary posts are, but here is the main thing: you don't want them to be too long. Instead of summarizing, focus on being selective and analytical, noting the best stories and what you thought about them, why you liked them, what really grabbed your attention. The length of your Diary Post will vary from week to week based on the specific unit you have chosen, how much you enjoyed the reading, and all kinds of other factors.
Greek and Roman names of the gods. I will definitely prepare a handy cheat sheet for this — it sounds like it would be helpful both for Ovid and also for Cupid and Psyche.

King James Version. One of the virtues of the King James Version of the Bible is that it is in the public domain. Some people mentioned their favorite contemporary English translations such as the NIV, but those translations are copyrighted. I believe there are some contemporary English translations that have been put into the public domain; I will investigate that and see if I can provide a choice of King James or a contemporary English translation next semester.

Ovid's Poetry. Some people who read Ovid made comments about the use of a prose translation. There are some English verse translations of Ovid in the public domain, and since people were curious about Ovid's poetic style, I will provide a verse version of one of the Ovid units as an option for next semester. And those of you who do not like poetry at all can stick to the prose, of course!

The term "fairy tale" (as in the Jewish Fairy Tales unit). The terms fairy tale, folktale, legend, myth are used in so many different ways! I really need to write up a page about the history and range of use of these terms. Meanwhile, you will have lots of fairy tale options in the readings for Weeks 4 and 5, some of include stories that are probably much more like what you expect when you read a fairy tale! :-)