Truth in Society

March 14, 1995

Prompt #61

Scheduling and organizing . . .

Welcome back! Besides working today on getting everyone up to date on what got written and read in each of the focus groups over the break, we need to do some looking ahead for the next four and a half weeks.

We expect that by the end of the day today everyone in each of the focus groups will have identified a particular area of interest, or angle, and will be working either in a small group or independently. As we've said before, this second round of explorations is going to be conducted in a slightly different way. Starting now those individuals or groups will be working pretty much independently, with feedback from the rest of their focus group (and the rest of the class) occurring on the basis of written progress reports and drafts. The publications that are produced, then, will be much more like edited collections of related articles than they will be like jointly-authored books.

In order to create a structure that will offer you as much support as possible in this, here's what we envision. The most important structural aspect of this is the requirement to have written "research reports" at regular intervals both in drive Q: and in hard copy ready to be read and responded to. These will be copied to P: at regular intervals in the same way that the READLOGS were.

It's important to know that a "research report" is neither a term paper nor a simple account of what you read; it needs to be as substantial as you can make it, and to give the rest of the focus group not only an understanding of what you're doing, but also some understanding of what you're learning about your particular angle. Much of what's in these reports, suitably edited, will become parts of a final publication. For now, however, they need to be detailed enough, and reflective enough, that the rest of the group will be able to see how what you're doing illuminates what they're doing. The research reports should always include full bibliographical information on everything you've read or worked with.

14 March (Today)
Exchanging of information and reports on reading in focus group meetings; identification of particular interests and angles, and formation of smaller working groups. Research reports due in Q: at end of day.
16 March
8:30 full class meeting to discuss scheduling. Small group meetings with Russ, John or Thom as necessary, in library or in EC 120. New research reports due in Q: at end of day.
21 March
Focus groups meet in afternoon, at 1:00 or 2:30, for discussion of the last sets of research reports. Schedule will be posted. These research reports are due in Q: at end of day.
23 March
Full class meeting, 8:30. Small group meetings with Russ, John, or Thom as necessary, in library or in EC 120. (These will probably be focusing on beginning to edit research reports toward publication.)
28 March
Focus groups meet at 8:30, in this case for planning the assembly of a draft set of chapters for circulation to the rest of the class at the end of the day. By end of day, collections of draft chapters should be ready to circulate.
30 March
Reading and responding to collections of draft chapters. Everyone will read and respond (in writing) to two collections in which they weren't involved.
4 April
Focus groups meet at 8:30 to read and discuss feedback. Individual working groups revise chapters.
6 April
Focus groups meet at 8:30 to read revised chapters and begin drafting reflective introductions. Introductions, and individual chapters, should be ready for publication by Tuesday morning.
11 April
Publication; publication party; closing exercises.

One thing you'll probably notice here is the absence of the Chautauqua, which was originally tentatively scheduled for March 30. We've had little or no response to the suggestion of a public display of what we've learned (either from within the section or from either of the other two Aquinas sections), and our view is that it's too much work and would tend to shift our focus away from the publication of the booklets. We're prepared to discuss this (or anything else in the schedule), but after having discussed it ourselves over the break, this schedule makes the most sense to us.

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