Monday, October 20, 2008

A Course in Englishes

Yesterday I finished marking the exam papers for a first year course I wrote and have been teaching this term. As part of the course video podcasts were made of each of the six lectures (two hours each). As well there is a website (actually a wiki, which I think I would like to hand over to the students in future courses) which takes up well over 100 pages of text with images and dozens of videos. I suppose in one way it is now a free online course.

Cultures of Commonwealth English
A first year university English studies realia course titled Cultures of Commonwealth English. It attempts to provide a short but rather intense introduction into the the history, cultures and institutions of four nations that were once united as part of the British Empire. These nations are England, India, South Africa and Australia. In each of these nations the English language plays an important role in society. The Cultures of Commonwealth English course is an examination of why English is spoken in these nations and what events and practices led to the situation we have today where the four nations are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. We will discuss some of the cultural and social areas where English is spoken and consider some examples of where it is resisted, perhaps as a sign of a colonial past that still has repercussions today.
One of the aims of this course is to teach you to process information and not just absorb it. You need to look critically at what I have included in this website as course materials. DO NOT USE EVERYTHING!!! Choose parts from each section. Try to make connections between the parts. An example could be that the use of Australia as a prison in the early years of it as a colony gave the churches a special role in education which persists today with the power of so-called private schools in Australian education. There are many similar examples.

I am very glad it is online and freely available to all. I wonder if I can register it with a Creative Commons licence if it is on a University server...I shall have to ask about that. I will be teaching it again next term

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