The course in question is called “Ancient Political Theory: Justice and the Good Life.” And you can take the course … kind of.
In place of traditional writing assignments, we will have an on-going blogging project for our course. The idea, in keeping with the subject matter, is for the class to create a sort of on-going virtual symposium. Here are the writing guidelines I’ll be giving to the students on the first day:
- Argumentative Texts should be a minimum of 500 words on a topic related to our course readings. All of these posts will be evaluated for the quality of writing and argumentation, and your ability to prompt (thoughtful) comments from other students will count as a positive. Students will be expected to write a minimum of one such post every other week. Each such post must be tagged #pols383.
- If you think that something you’ve seen online resonates with our discussions, then you might write a Heroism, Justice, and the Good Life in the News post about it. This should be a short post of approximately 100 words and should include a hyperlink to the original story, post, or item that you read. These posts should do more than describe; they should explain and analyze. Students will write a minimum of two such posts each week.
- Commentary on other students’ posts will count as a form of writing in this course; you may comment as often or as infrequently as you choose. Standards of civility, quality of argumentation, and writing apply.
So, basically, you can follow the class blog here on Tumblr and you can follow the #pols383 hashtag; you’ll start seeing posts there in about three weeks, I’d guess. You can even do the readings along with the students, if you’d like.
I certainly hope you’ll engage them in discussion of what they write; the reasons for this blogging assignment are to teach students how to write for a broader audience than just the professor, to encourage them to revise and respond to their audience, and to demonstrate to them the many ways in which the themes of our course find expression in political life today.
They’ll be hearing from me and from one another about their posts, but hearing from all of you with some regularity would definitely confirm what I tell them, namely that political theory is a living field of study rather than something only written by dead philosophers or for a professor to assign a grade.
Among my most common tags are “agricultural politics,” “agricultural economics,” and “food politics.” It would be meaningless to comment on any of these without a grounding in political theory.
Professor Kohen teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (Full disclosure: my alma mater albeit many years ago.) We are privileged to enjoy this technology to learn, or refresh our knowledge of, political theory.