Posted on 21. Feb, 2009 by James Miller
The website is designed principally to complement undergraduate courses in religious studies at the 200-300 level. Each section poses questions that are designed to stimulate discussion, and viewers are invited to respond to those and other questions on the website's discussion boards. Viewers are invited to progress systematically through the twelve interviews in the order set out on the menu at the right, but are free also to browse the website in any order.
This website is designed principally to function as a collaborative web-based learning tool to help facilitate discussion about contemporary American Daoist cultivation. It makes available video clips, commentary and discussion and enables students and teachers at across multiple institutions to collaborate in an online learning experiment. You are invited to integrate this website into your own teaching in any way you think appropriate, but I do offer some suggestions based on the original concept for the website. The key to the successful use of the website is (1) to prepare your students before they come to the website and (2) to bring the students' experiences with the website back into the classroom discussion.
The website first of all makes available content that would otherwise be difficult for students to find. The video interviews allows students and teachers to hear directly from leading North American Daoist practitioners. The website was not, however, designed principally to convey information, though it does that through the clips and the commentary. Rather, the website is designed to facilitate critical discussions about the topic. Thus it will be necessary for students to have some background knowledge about Daoism and Daoist cultivation before they come to the site. You may need to supplement the commentaries and introductions so as to integrate the site well in to your own course.
The website discussion are designed to be integrated into a traditional classroom situation. If there is a particular question you want to discuss, register with the discussion board and create a new thread that the students can easily locate. Then ask the students to go through the website in their own time and respond to your questions before the next class. Then in an web-accessible classroom you can pull up their discussion postings and faciliate a conventional classroom discussion based around their postings. If you don't have a web accessible classroom then you will have to review your students' postings before the class and perhaps print some of them out to facilitate a classroom discussion.
The commentary and questions have been designed for 200-300 level courses but you can pose your own more advanced questions and start new discussion threads on each of the four bulletin boards on this website.
Your feedback is welcome and will be integrated into future versions of this website.