Week 4 UnTextbook Report

Here is a report on the UnTextbook reading selections people made in Week 4 of the class, with people choosing between the Middle Eastern and Indian units.

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."

Middle Eastern units: 38 total

4.4 (7 ratings)Persian Tales
4.25 (8 ratings)Arabian Nights
4.0 (8 ratings)Sindbad
4.0 (5 ratings)Ancient Egypt
4.0 (3 ratings)Holy Land
4.0 (1 rating)Georgia
3.5 (4 ratings)Turkish Tales
2.5 (2 ratings)Parrot Tales

Indian units: 12 total

5.0 (2 ratings)Life of the Buddha
5.0 (1 rating)Ramayana
4.8 (5 ratings)Twenty-Two Goblins
4.0 (2 ratings)Jataka Shedlock
4.0 (1 rating)Bengali Tales
4.0 (1 rating)Indian Fairy Tales

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 previous comments too.

Stories. When you do your own storytelling blog post, the idea is to choose one "story" to retell in your own words... and in some cases, that will be just part of a big story. For example, in "Life of the Buddha" you would choose just one episode to focus on in your storytelling. Likewise, with a long story like the Egyptian "Two Brothers," you could zoom in on just a critical part of the episode, the part of the story you liked best, and then in the author's note you can explain the larger context. The reading units are long (15,000 words), so when you create your own story, you have to choose just one part of the unit to retell.

Egypt. I should definitely add notes to this unit, especially some help with keeping track of all the names. A chart might be good!

Parrot Tales and Sindbad. I need to add some notes to both of these units to help people see the distinctive features of the stories as well as the formulaic way in which they are composed. In fact, I should probably write up a page about "formulaic composition" and how important it is for the folklore tradition, from Homer and beyond!

Life of the Buddha. People liked this unit but wanted some historical notes, so I have now added notes to this one!

Jataka - Shedlock. People asked for notes on this unit and since I am such a huge fan of the jataka tale tradition, I added those notes also. (As you can guess from there being two different jataka units, I love the jataka tradition!)