Harrison Middleton University

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chasisaac, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  2. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    HMU does provide its students free subscription access to the GBs through this MyiLibrary online system. All of the GBs are there except The Great Conversation. I never found it of much use for myself; others might feel differently. I don't think these would be of any help in the actual assignments/discussions because those need to be very specific in book, chapter, page, column, etc., plus the final course essays must reference proper page numbers as well. So it's probably nice to have for some reason or other (maybe online searches for passages or something else) but the GB set is what HMU currently uses.

    -- Carole
  3. Any electronic edition of the Great Books would need to include the Syntopicon, the idea index with entries pointing to the trace of ideas through the centuries. A user can look up "Evolution," for example, and see extensive references to writings on the topic from Aristotle to Freud and later.
    I hadn't realized that the whole set had now been digitized at MyiLybrary (thank you, Carole, for posting that info.) I played around with it and it seems to offer a great deal of promise. The Syntopicon even has links to text throughout the set. On the negative side, I would miss the ability to make detailed marginal notes. I suppose technology will allow that someday. Might even be better, since users could search their marginal notes electronically.
    I am currently completing the coursework for my D.A. degree at Harrison Middleton; planning to do the final project in 2013.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It has for some time; publishers that offer digitized versions of textbooks typically include this sort of functionality. Whether it's really the same, though, is an open question....
  5. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    For anything else you can paste or save documents in to OneNote or Evernote and there are a lot of ways to take notes directly in the original text such as Wacom or Skitch. OneNote has good handwriting recognition, so your notes are searchable. Both will capture screenshots, so there's nothing you can't collect and take notes on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2012
  6. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    The online GB through MyiLibrary still needs work

    Hey Phillip, I'm impressed you're working on your DA with HMU. I'm a lowly master's student in philosophy/religion. So I decided to go back to the online GB set via our HMU online access, and it still needs some work. I couldn't get past the one page "print view" when trying to read an entire chapter of any book. I'm using FF 16 so I'm up to date. There doesn't seem to be any option to *not* be shoved into the "print" view. Also no way to go forward or backward when looking at individual chapters. So, not as helpful as we might think. Maybe I'll try IE 9 and see what happens, but it's not my browser of choice.

    Personally, I have found it much more time consuming to take notes electronically, in any way with any software on any device, instead of the old-fashioned margin or sticky notes. And no, I'm no Luddite by any means. There are too many steps involved in electronic note-taking. But HMU may be forced to do something in the future, since it appears the GB print set is getting difficult to find.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Which books in the series aren't in the public domain? Seems one could do a print run at "Dover Thrift Edition" quality fairly cheaply.
  8. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Not in public domain:
    1. The Great Conversation
    2. The two volumes of the Syntopicon

    Also, any cheap public domain printed material must be the same translations, same page numbers, footnotes, etc. as the original print GB set. HMU students, Tutors (the profs we have our phone discussions with) and essay evaluators must all use the same editions, translations and page/column references. No exceptions (yet). It's the way the program is implemented. Ditto the only Bible acceptable as reference for course materials -- KJV. I know all this sounds strange to those who aren't in the program, but it's the way HMU does it.

    And .... it is not an online program.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Fair enough. But that's only three.

    Working from the same translations makes sense. It does sound strange that they wouldn't come up with a way to allow people to use different editions, though, especially given the expense and increasing difficulty you say there is to get a complete set.

    Oh. So it's correspondence, supplemented by conference calls, or how do they do it? Do you know whether that's the case for doctoral courses as well as Master's level ones?
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I happened to see a "Great Books of the Western World" set at a local library. Having looked it over, I can better understand HMU's position.

    The amount of material in the GBWW set is enormous, and would cost several hundred dollars, even at "Dover Thrift Edition" prices. A typical DTE paperback costs $3-5, which seems really cheap. But a single GBWW volume contains the equivalent of 2 DTE paperbacks, and there are 58 volumes of classic texts (not including the 2-volume "Synopticon", discussed below). If you do the math, you could be looking at something like $400 to $500 for a huge stack of cheap paperbacks. This is admittedly less expensive than ~ $1000 for a huge stack of high-quality hardbacks, but even so it may not be an appealing investment.

    Yes, but the 2-volume Synopticon may be the key to the whole thing, at least for HMU purposes. It is a truly impressive piece of overview and indexing, which allows the reader to trace concepts like "Democracy", "Medicine", or "Soul" throughout the other 58 volumes, including comprehensive indexes with references to specific pages. It's sort of like a combination of Wikipedia and Google for the other 58 volumes, only in print form.

    You could study each GBWW separately without the Synopticon. But if you wanted to do comparative analysis of multiple works -- and I think both the editors of the series and HMU see this as the real goal -- then the Synopticon is probably a critical tool. For educational purposes, it may make the GBWW set into something more than the sum of its parts.

    I still think the GBWW set needs to be available in a new format, but it will probably come in the form of an electronic (online or DVD version) of the existing printed edition.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2012
  11. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Hey "Gadfly" -- I can send you something if I'm allowed to do so via the PM system here. Otherwise, PM me and I'll give you my real e-mail addy and send you the info that way.

    All programs, Bachelor's and higher, require students to begin with HMU's Cornerstone course, which requires "The Great Conversation" and the two vols. of the Syntopicon. That includes doctoral students also. Graduate programs are 4 semester units each, and each course must be completed within 16 weeks.

    There have been only two editions of the Great Books of the Western World, as developed by Adler and Hutchins at the U of Chicago. First ed. was published in 1954, 2nd ed. published in 1990. Although I'm not a big fan of Wikipedia as a reference, they do have information on the differences between the editions. They didn't just slap on a few vols at the end of the series, they made other changes within existing volumes:
    Great Books of the Western World - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    One of my favorite Tutors with HMU was at the U of Chicago when the 2nd edition was being discussed and thrashed around. The story of the development, marketing, reasoning behind creating the Great Books editions is really fascinating.

    I think if you read what I can e-mail you the program might make more sense. We design our own curriculum (at the graduate level), other than the 1st Cornerstone Course. Yes, our own curriculum. Nothing is pre-determined for us, it's all ours to define for ourselves. They do have some structure required -- make that a lot of structure -- in form, not necessarily content. I get the idea the doctoral programs have more flexibility as far as using outside reference material, but I'm not positive. Definitely not allowed in the master's programs, but outside references are allowed for the final Capstone project (thesis, dissertation, whatever).

    Each student-designed course is divided into four parts, which the college must approve before each course is started. After we read each part of the assignment (remember, we design this for ourselves), we then must submit 5 interpretive questions and 2 passages for discussion with an HMU assigned Tutor. When submitting the questions and passages we have to quote the book volume, author, chapter, pages, columns. The Tutor who is assigned to hold the one hour phone discussion with us (one-on-one, Socratic method) reads exactly what we will be discussing. I'm certain all the Tutors, who have their own academic credentials in subject matter, have read the same material many times. But you can understand why we all have to be on the same page, literally. Many times I've been discussing a question or passage and the Tutor has asked me to read paragraphs or the entire passage.

    There are no communal phone calls, just one-on-one between Tutor and student. It was very intimidating at first but all of my Tutors have been kind, witty, understanding, low key and knowledgeable. But they aren't there to tell us what an answer is or what something means. They discuss with us, not lecture to us.

    All of this applies to MA and DA programs. Someone who enters needs to understand this isn't collaborative learning with other students, not online, it's a distance learning program and for someone who can complete the reading and courses with self-discipline and on time. I love it, most might not. If you don't also love to write or your skills aren't up to speed then this wouldn't be for you either. The college is unique in its demand for absolute perfection when the final course essays are evaluated and graded. I was shocked and quite insulted when my 3rd course essay was returned for corrections -- punctuation, grammar, syntax, transitional words and phrases, use of 1st person, content, references. We're not allowed to use a reference that we haven't already read in a previous course. Yep, they catch everything! Now I'm used to it. I get the feeling they're so strict about form and content because they're NA and not RA, and the accreditation committee might come down hard on them. I've even had a course outline sent back for revision because I wasn't consistent in my outline of my own course readings -- piddly things like capitalization of "column" vs. "Column," "page" vs. "Page," etc. Now I pay a lot more attention!

    Okay, PM me and I'll send you something interesting.

    -- Carole
  12. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Okay, the MyiLibrary for the GB set doesn't work on IE 9!

    I tried the experiment using IE 9 and I couldn't get the GB TOC opened, much less see anything in any of the volumes. Very odd. So, still not impressed with the online resource.
  13. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Cal, you're so right about the Syntopicon. Students are not able to get through the 1st required Cornerstone Course without the Syntopicon, nor would they be able to create their entire curriculum without the Syntopicon. It's required to know what authors, what topics, what volumes, etc. they can pick and choose as they create their own courses.

    But you know what? Even though I've been in I.T./I.S. since 1969 it had never occurred to me that the entire GB set, including the Great Conversation (1st book) could be marketed on CDs. What a great idea! HMU will have to do something when the print edition is almost impossible to find, which is about the case now.

    Yeah, I need to be reading Augustine right now (yikes, City of God is so repetitive!) but I'm stalling by being here. :grumpy:
  14. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Actually, CDs and DVDs are slow, scratchable, awkward to load, and have relatively small capacities. And optical drives are bulky, so many computers (especially Macs) don't even come with them any more.

    Sio forget CDs and DVDs -- it should either be downloadable, or distributed on a read-only flash drive. A flash drive reads faster, is easy to connect, is hard to damage, comes in large capacities, and doesn't require an optical drive. The Brockhaus Encyclopedia (which is the German equivalent of the Britannica) is distributed on flash drive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2012
  15. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Considering the number of volumes in the GB set, including the 1st 3, you're right about the number of DVDs that would be needed. But flash drives have a finite life. I agree, the best solution would be to offer a choice, I'd prefer download but others might choose something else. My Macbook Air doesn't have a DVD drive but I do have a USB DVD drive I can attach, but haven't needed it yet. iPads and Kindles, not so much -- no USB, no DVD, but that's what capitalism and choice are about, right?
  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    As print-files, they shouldn't take ALL that much room... not too much for CDs /DVDs, I'd wager.

    I find that, using PDFs or other printable files, I can get thousands of pages on a single CD and many, many thousands onto a normal single-layer 4.7 gig CD. IIRC, back in early-computing days I read that an ASCII file of the entire works of William Shakespeare was about 1.5 megabytes - aproximately 1/400 of a CD capacity and 1/3000 of a DVD. The works of William Shatner can fit into even less space! :smile: That space still sounds about right - I know an ASCII page is a little over 1K - so a megabyte and a half should be around oh-- maybe 1,200 pages. PDFs etc are bigger - but still easily manageable.

    Right now, I may have a few hundred books on my hard-drive, not taking up all that much room. I have EVERYTHING (zillions) on CD/DVD as backup - I copy entire files to my machine as needed - I don't waste time reading from the disc every time I need the book. That wears the discs - and the drives.

    As I remember, the first CD versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica were on a small number of discs. Seeing as 6 CDs equal one DVD in capacity -- long works can be put on VERY few discs. Flash drives are great - but I don't use them much for permanent storage. The beauty of them is you can load/erase and re-use thousands of times. I also have a couple that I use strictly for "portable software" - so I can work exactly as I want, on computers that aren't mine, e.g. college campus.


    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2012
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    BTW - I'm all for the download option. That's how I got most of my books, in the last few years. I DO recommend backing them up on CD/DVD once you've downloaded them. It's VERY cheap insurance.

    If you've ever experienced a hard-drive failure (and who hasn't?) you know why.

  18. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Well Johann, you must have a better means of creating or reading PDF files than I do. I'm looking at a PDF file of 9.51MB, called the "Constitution Town Hall Reader" downloaded from Hillsdale College. It's 143 pages, the same whether I open it in Foxit Reader or Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader). You might have a magical way of compression for PDF files!

    -- Carole
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    No magic here -- I'm not smart enough, as you've probably realized. :smile: I do use Adobe Reader. (Why not - it's free!) I have Foxit, etc. but I've found I sometimes have poorer printing results with PDF files and non-Adobe software. Reading is usually A-OK.

    Yes - most of the files I download are compressed - RAR or sometimes ZIP etc. I only have to uncompress 'em when I want to put them on my hard drive to read. I can save the compressed files as backup, if I want.

    That file-length that you mentioned doesn't sound too bad. I find a 500-pager is often in the 20-30 meg range, uncompressed - sometimes less. At your rate, (150 pages per 10 meg) a CD would hold roughly 10,000 pages and a DVD roughly 60,000 pages or a bit more.

    That's a fair number of books - on one disc, uncompressed.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2012
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Avoid adding images to it? :)

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