Medieval Education and Information Technology

University of Toronto: Summer 2015

Amid the growing importance of intellectual property, and calls to overthrow traditional educational and publication models, it is imperative to understand the development of these phenomena. These can fruitfully be traced to the Middle Ages, which saw the rise of the modern form of the book, the university, and scholastic culture. This course explores the history of this period, from the late Roman Empire to the fifteenth century, emphasizing developments in education and technology, and analysing their implications both in their own time and in the modern world. While the stereotype of this period is of a backward, unlearned society, surviving texts and other artefacts – such as manuscripts, art, music, buildings, inscriptions, and coinage – show us the roots of the systems that have both given a structure to our world which we cannot change without knowing their origins.

Latin and Greek in Scientific Terminology

University of Toronto: Summer 2014, Fall 2014

The natural sciences, and the life sciences in particular, employ an enormous vocabulary of technical terms, presenting a sizeable challenge to the beginning student. The complexity of these terms is owed in part to the fact that many were formed from Greek and Latin words, to allow for easier communication within a multilingual scientific community at a time when most of its members learned these languages as a core part of their education. This course provides a basic exposure to the Latin and Greek elements of scientific language to facilitate understanding of technical vocabulary and enable students to use appropriate language in communicating with both specialists and the general public. It also provides an overview of the history of scientific communication to allow students to both appreciate and improve upon contemporary methodology for the dissemination or research.

Full details are available on my course website, whose source files are available under a Creative Commons licence.