Friday, April 18, 2008

A New Blog for the "Life of Paul" Class

As soon as I started college teaching, I wanted to try out using blogs in order to enhance my courses. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

During the first three semesters or so what I found out was, forget the blog idea, I was having a hard time keeping my head above water just doing the basics: creating syllabi, reading textbooks, writing tests, putting together power points. When I first started those were added to what teachers normally do: meeting with students, answering their email, grading tests, going over term papers. Oh, and I was also a student in a course for new college teachers, and was the faculty sponsor for the Kappa Chi club.

I don't regret any of the work, but it was tiring. And, no, giving up "Frankly Speaking" in order to free up more time for a course blog was simply not an option. By then, this place was known to a handful of family and friends and cyber acquaintances. At this intersection, I met up with a few people who "got" me, which is a big part of why I've continued to blog here.

Anyway, especially during that first year, I felt overwhelmed. From that experience, I can tell you that if someone teaches a solid, glad-you-signed-up college course, two things are probably true: (1) They've been at it for a while (2) They're still working hard to make the course content and presentation even better. By the first point, I don't mean to say that the classes of new teachers are bound to be mediocre at best. I do mean to say that if a first-year teacher's class sessions are really good, he or she is working hard. But I digress.

A few weeks ago I finally started my first course blog. I'll be using it through the end of this semester for my "Life of Paul" class. Up to this point, we've surveyed all of the New Testament material: the relevant sections of Acts and all of Paul's letters. We've also looked at some of the post-biblical material that pertains to Paul: passages from Clement of Rome, the Muratorian Fragment, Eusebius, etc.

So during these last few weeks of the semester, we're shifting over to something more like a topical seminar: so far, we've taken up "women in ministry." I'm having the students read and report on a speech by N. T. Wright and, on the other side, an open letter to egalitarians by Wayne Grudem. I think from here we're going on to something like "Paul and the Law." We'll see.

Here's the course blog for "Life of Paul." And here's the link to the course syllabus.

Thoughts? Suggestions for topics? Experiences from those who've used blogs in teaching?


preacherman said...

Can we adit your course? :-)
I want to thank you for letting us know about this blog on "Life of Paul." I wish more of my wife's professors did what are doing. It would make it easier on our family.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Hi, Preacherman.

Auditors are welcome. Every semester, there are several who audit a course, especially one of the evening classes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank,

Your class on Paul looks so interesting and I would love to audit it, also. It's also good to see you are back to blogging more often. I love reading about what you are doing and the topics you select for your readers. Keep it up! Say "Hi" to Michele.