I am mostly moved into my office (save the one box of books that turned up in a totally strange place in the house). I have another week until my orientation starts, two weeks until I start teaching.
Oh. Yikes. I start teaching in two weeks. At the moment I have a messy syllabus-shaped object instead of a proper syllabus. It is full of question marks and italics and proposed readings that I haven't quite settled on.
The course that concerns me is on women in the Middle Ages. I've taught it twice before, at a different school each time. It was originally heavily based on a couple of courses I had taken myself, although I have changed things around a bit each time.
This time I kept the two somewhat older collections of essays I've liked to use, but added a more recent one. I'd like to expose the students to newer as well as "classic" scholarship. I also want to do a better job of teaching them how to read scholarly articles. This is an "advanced topics" course for majors, so reading scholarly articles is a more than appropriate goal. Usually I make the mistake of assigning articles and assuming that students can read and get them, and then become frustrated when they have read but not gotten. I'm much better at teaching students to deal with primary sources in useful ways.
In this class one of their papers will be an assignment to analyze and critique a scholarly article. I am thinking it will be one that they choose, not already on the syllabus (partly because there is so much excellent stuff I'm having to leave off), although I will supply them with suggestions as necessary. I think I need to precede that with more exercises involving identifying arguments, homing in on clear or unclear points, and figuring out what evidence an author is using to support her argument. Suggestions for useful exercises are welcome.