|At Portland Seminary, we are committed to having our students "learn by doing." For an advanced seminar in Koine Greek, we had eight graduate students in the course, and our plan was to have them learn intermediate Greek by developing a textbook under my guidance and the help of a few strategic resources. We worked at a distance in GoogleDocs, and each student worked on a part each week (writing in different colors so I could track their progress individually). They were also instructed to check each other's work weekly to ensure quality. They would use the comment feature to ask questions or suggest corrections. We would meet live (via Zoom) periodically for additional instruction and reflection; and we sometimes invited expert guest speakers from around the world to educate us on tricky or advanced issues. We received a grant to get help with proofreading, book design, and publishing. Two staff members helped us to shepherd the project to completion, one a librarian (Robin Ashford) and the other a digital instruction expert (Gloria Doherty). I co-edited the book with one of our graduates (Jonah Sandford) who had studied Greek in depth previously at the seminary and served as a teaching assistant for Greek in the past. He also checked the students' work and helped to proofread and professionalize the book once the full draft had been completed. |
The students are proud to have a publication they contributed to that is free and available to everyone in the world with internet access. The final product is an e-textbook that can be used by groups or individuals for ongoing learning in Koine Greek. We have received positive feedback from students using the textbook in many different countries—and they are especially thankful to have an affordable textbook for their learning needs. Several of the students involved in this project have commented that this approach to learning has been deeply impactful because it requires the student to master the material in order to teach it to others, and it enabled the student to utilize all of that learning time to create a product that can be given away to others. This project and orientation to learning continues to inspire our staff, faculty, and students to develop "artifacts" in the course that can have a meaningful "afterlife" when the term ends. We could not have done this without the generous support of the leadership at George Fox University, the university librarian staff, and the Open Textbook Network. Our institution continues to invest in creating and using open textbooks.