Leading a Study Group

The coordinator of a study group is a volunteer responsible for setting the group's agenda, collecting assignments, and posting the collations to the list.  Coordinators neither correct assignments nor give grades.  They are not necessarily experts in the material and are often participants in their group.

Coordinators are often motivated by the desire to (re)learn Latin or Greek or to read a particular classical or medieval author.  Assuming the responsibility of coordinating a group is often that extra little push that ensures a person will see such a project through to the end.

Coordinators should have participated in a LatinStudy or GreekStudy group in the past.

Coordinating is a time commitment.  Once a group is up and running, that commitment is less than a couple of hours a week.  Introductory groups require some additional time in the beginning to sort out various minor issues.

Getting Started

If you are interested in coordinating a group, the following are the main steps to actually establish a group.

Check if there is interest.  Send mail to the list asking if anyone is interested in your proposed group.  There's no minimum size, but a groups of a half dozen or more tend to be more successful.

Establish a schedule.  Weekly schedules are the most common, followed by biweekly.  It is common practice to make assignments due on the evening of a particular day, then to post the collation and the next assignment on the succeeding day.

Construct a syllabus.  Be sensitive to how fast you cover the material.  If you overload group members, they will drop out.  But if you go too slow, they'll fade out as well.

When constructing your syllabus, remember the major holidays.  Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter are pretty much universally taken, as are the US holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.  Throw in whatever additional holidays you feel are appropriate, e.g.  your birthday, your family vacation, your national holidays.

Get on the weekly activities posting.  Contact the person responsible for either the LatinStudy weekly activities posting or the GreekStudy weekly activities posting and ask him or her to mention your group in subsequent postings.

Advertise your group.  Post a summary to the appropriate study list and consider advertising your group on other, classics-related mailing lists.

You do not need to set up your own web page for your group.  Contact latinstudy-owner@lists.quasillum.com or greekstudy-owner@lists.quasillum.com if you'd like a place to park your syllabus and related materials.  If you do create your own website, you may want to link to the appropriate pages on this website, such as the FAQs.

Collation Software

Collations can be created by cutting and pasting email.  A few coordinators use that technique for some smaller groups.  However, you will be rewarded with more time for other, more pleasant activities if you suppress your inner technophobe and use the collation software.  Check the collation FAQ if you have problems.

If you are using the collation software for a GreekStudy group, this discussion of collating Unicode text will be enlightening.

Coordinators commonly include the original Latin or English in the collation.  When reading a collation it is very handy to have the original text close by when figuring out differences in translations.

Wheelock Materials

We have a number of resources for coordinators of introductory Latin groups using Wheelock's Latin.

This sample Wheelock syllabus assumes the use of Groton & May as a supplementary text. More recently Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes has been used as a supplement. In any event this sample syllabus can be used as a template for your group's syllabus.  The first two chapters of Wheelock are simple enough to do in a week each.  Thereafter the pace is usually two weeks per chapter, stretching out to three weeks per chapter towards the end of the book.  This is the pace that has worked out the best over the years. Faster and slower paces have too much attrition. 

The online copies of the text for the Wheelock exercises may be included in the collations where, if the collation software is used, they appear at the top of each collation section.  This is a very handy for the student who now has the original text at hand while reviewing the collation.  Some coordinators also include the text in their weekly assignment postings.

Advanced Group Materials

Typically the coordinator of a group will post the Greek or Latin text to be translated, unless all the group members are using a particular textbook.  The Latin Library has a large selection of classical and medieval texts that may be used for translation groups.  The Perseus site has a large number of original Greek and Latin texts.