8-12 June 2009
1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Very useful. Provided a good base from which to begin the class. 2: Very. 3: Very useful. 4: The pre-course readings were useful. There wasn't a lot of it, largely because they were theoretical and the course involves practice. 5: Very useful. 6: Useful. 7: I found the readings very helpful. Although many of the concepts, terms, &. were repeated in class, it was nice to have some context in advance, get a feel for the discipline and its particular politics, and have concepts reinforced and elucidated. 8: Very useful and thoughtfully chosen. 9: Very useful background information.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: All materials recommended pre-class and distributed in class will provide reference and additional resources for further work and study. 2: Yes. 3: Yes (the binder of material was very helpful). 4-6: Yes. 7: Those materials were terrific! Great slides and resources—the CD with photos and digitized abbreviation dictionary was especially helpful. I will keep these forever. 8: Yes. The notebook with images and transcriptions was particularly useful in class as well as additional images shown in class. Also the CD will be of great benefit in the future. 9: Absolutely useful—and generous.
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: The course content was appropriate and extremely relevant to any work in medieval manuscripts. The instructor was able to tailor the course to our interest and abilities. 2: Practice reading a variety of scripts. 3: Everything was relevant; although I felt intellectually overwhelmed at times, I learned a great deal. 4: The course was directly useful for me as I have many uncataloged medieval manuscripts in my collection. 5: An excellent crash course in deciphering all kinds of medieval script. Level was high. 6: Yes. Group transcription, homework. 7: In particular Caroline Minuscule, the Gothic book scripts, and the Humanist scripts (especially differentiating the latter from Caroline Minuscule) were of extreme relevance. The level of the course was just right. 8: Yes. Most interesting was actually hands-on working/figuring out abbreviations, &. Level was appropriate. 9: All aspects of the course were relevant; the intellectual knowledge and experience of the instructor (CD) was/is amazingly excellent—almost flawless—and humble at the same time. Fellow classmates were also exceptionally kind and intelligent.
4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1: The time spent in Special Collections was extremely valuable, providing a "personal" experience with original manuscripts not otherwise encountered. 2: N/A. 3: Yes, very much so. 4: The Special Collections trips were well-thought out and useful. 5: Yes—(to Special Collections) 6: It was interesting but only mildly relevant. I would much rather have continued with group transcription. 7: Yes. 8: Yes. Very interesting! 9: Yes, absolutely reinforced what we learned.
5) What did you like best about the course?
1: CD is a fantastic instructor, able to tailor the class to interests and research topics, gracious in sharing her time and knowledge, and encouraging to those whose skills at reading these scripts are less advanced. 2: The opportunity to study manuscript leaves rather than on the overhead. 3: Everything was excellent, but especially manuscripts in Special Collections. 4: CD is wonderful, and the whole course was well-constructed. I learned a lot about reading scripts, which is what I came here to do. 5: The instructor was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, well-organized. 6: Group transcription, homework an excellent idea. CD was excellent—challenged us but did not intimidate. 7: CD hit just the right balance between instruction and in-class practice. 8: CD provided a serious but unitimidating atmosphere which was helpful and provided a method of learning this difficult material that was attainable in the course length. 9: So much to speak highly of: Number one: CD! Information like slides, notebook of pages, homework, class setting was very well done and organized.
6) How could the course have been improved?
3: CD is awesome! 5: I wish there could be a part two. 6: More group transcription, last sessions of afternoons (Monday-Thursday) least useful, looking at some erased script under UV light would have been cool. 7: Occasionally the class spent a bit too long on tangents (and I may sometimes also have been at fault here), but that was a very minor problem that might just be kept in mind in the future. 8: I thought it was great as is. 9: It was very well done. Not sure I have anything to contribute on this question.
7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
2: N/A. 3: Instead of hand washing, it might be better to use cloth gloves. [Conservators almost without exception are in agreement that gloves are not a good idea when handing medieval manuscripts. Clean hands are better. - Ed.] 7: I thought this was about where it ought to be, actually. I appreciated the leaves that were in protective plastic. 8: Fine. We handled manuscripts and the system worked well. 9: More classroom space to spread out.
8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?
2: Yes, both lecture and movies were enjoyable. 3: Somewhat; I did not find the study night or rare book night to be very helpful. I think having more lectures would provide more "bang for the buck." 4: The lectures were swell this week. 5: I was disappointed in the two evening lectures—was hoping for more challenging or intellectual content. 6: No (Sunday) and No (Monday); especially Sunday lecture. 7: Yes. 8: Yes. Stephen Enniss [the Monday night lecturer] was interesting. I liked movie night as the particular videos were of interest to me. 9: The Sunday lecture and reception was a nice introduction. The two lectures could have included more intellectual content—rather than accounting for personal institutional involvement (not that they weren't interesting...)
9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: Certainly worth the money, but requiring dedication and attention on the part of the participant to get the most out of it. 2: Yes. 3: Because I paid for everything, I feel like this course is too expensive for students who come from poorer institutions that can't provide support (such as myself). If the course were a bit cheaper, like $500-$700 instead, I would love to come back again. My only advice is: Be prepared to work! 4: Absolutely. 5: Yes. Don't miss a minute—don't plan anything else for a week (there's homework!). 6: Yes. 7: Absolutely. I learned more in this week than I have in some semester-long courses. 8: Yes. It was worth the time and money. Highly recommend this course. 9: Yes money's worth, for sure ... I would advise any colleague in manuscript or medieval studies to take this course.
Number of respondents: 9
Institution gave me leave: 33%
I took vacation time: 0%
N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 67%
Institution paid tuition: 44%
I paid tuition myself: 44%
N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 11%
Instution paid housing: 56%
I paid for my own housing: 22%
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 22%
Institution paid travel: 56%
I paid my own travel: 22%
N/A: lived nearby: 22%
There were 2 rare book librarians (22%), 1 archivist/manuscript librarian (11%), 1 teacher/professor (11%), 3 full-time students (33%), and 1 retired professional (11%).