26 October 1994: update on Classical Studies/History 28

I've now written e-mail notes to every author of a paper that I have in my possession: if you've not heard from me, let me know and we'll figure out which end the problem is on. The papers were on balance not bad for first efforts. The average grade was B (extreme range from D to A). How to make them better? I'll say again what I said on the syllabus and said to numerous of you: what I look for is *your* mind at work, not just digesting and regurgitating, but seeking, probing, asking good questions, thinking hard about how to get the answer, and expressing the results clearly and interestingly. Digesting what the book you were reading says and then spitting it back up again is something cows and sheep do. A useful sort of skill at times in life, but not what you pay the real $$ to come to Penn for.

Your comments on the forms yesterday were very helpful. Two adjustments to program as a result. One, sometime this week, I will have up on the server a set of brief outlines of all the lectures so far, and I will continue to provide those. These will not be substitutes for being there, but it will help you check your sense of what I'm getting at with *my* sense of what I'm getting at. Comments welcome.

Second, if there was a theme on the reports it was that the reading assignments were heavy. Now I have to be careful how I take this. After all, no professor ever distributed these forms and got back a chorus of remarks to the effect of, "Well, *gee*, I haven't got a *thing* to read, and *you're* certainly not helping with all these powderpuff assignments!" Yep, trust me, incredible as it may seem, it never happens. There *is* a logic to the readings, that I want to emphasize:

But ok, there's a lot of stuff, so here's the adjustments: