This presentation is based on two insights that have grown over time but came into sharp focus over the summer of 2009 during which time I was a faculty fellow at Teaching and Learning with Technology here at Penn State:
- Education is being radically transformed by technological advances that allow communities of learning to grow in ways that cut across time, space and philosophical perspective.
- In higher education, these technological innovations can be leveraged to integrate scholarly research and teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in ways that extend the reach of research and deepen the scholarly roots of teaching.
The figure of Socrates who appears in the Platonic dialogues is shown to practice a very peculiar form of politics: he enters into dialogue with each individual he encounters, attempting to turn their attention to the question of the Good, the Beautiful and the Just. My current research focuses on the various dimensions of the Socratic practice of politics and specifically on the question of how to cultivate the excellences of dialogue that open possibilities of human relation that are socially and politically transformative.
The blog platform offers me a dynamic digital environment in which to develop a community of learning that roots my teaching in my scholarship and infuses my scholarship with new insights and connections that emerge out of the living dialogue of the community.
The Community of Learning
- The Digital Dialogue – a podcast dedicated to cultivating the excellences of dialogue in a digital age. (Subscribe via iTunes)
- Invites scholars from around the country working on issues related to ancient Greek philosophy, social and political theory, the question of deliberative democracy …
- Generates interest in the work, cross-pollination of ideas, and attempts to model the excellences of dialogue it seeks to theorize.
- Socratic Politics in Digital Dialogue – a blog that hosts the Digital Dialogue, my undergraduate course (PHIL200: Ancient Greek Philosophy) and my graduate seminar (PHIL553: Ancient Greek Philosophy).
- Undergraduate Teaching: blog rubric (pdf), weekly round-up podcasts, the emergence of a community of learners engaged with the material:
- Jordan’s Why Are You Here? post generates self-reflection
- Participants from outside the class: Holly Moore, Asher; UPDATE Nov. 2, 2009: Marina McCoy, Associate Professor from Boston College, has encouraged her students to join our digital community. See my presentation to the IT Faculty Advisory Committee where I discuss how we are blurring the boundaries between institutions.
- Dynamic and substantive commenting on posts about: Religion, typical post with comments;
- Integration of video: Conan, Big.
- Graduate Teaching: more sophisticated level of discussion, community of scholarship via Zotero – allows for collaborative collection of references: Socratic Politics Group.
- Integrating the blog into the classroom: using Evernote to identify posts and comments on which to focus in-class discussion.
- The Search for Justice video – an attempt to provoke responses from a wider audience and to encourage those who watch it to consider: What is Justice?