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Storytelling as Inquiry: Course Information

College Seminar
Bryn Mawr College
Story Telling as Inquiry

Fall, 2007
Course Information

Image above from NASA

This course was co-designed by faculty members in Biology and English to explore the variety of ways in which we are all continually reaching for new understandings of ourselves and our place in the universe. Readings include fairy tales, the nineteenth-century satire Flatland, Bertold Brecht's play Galileo, Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, and essays on topics ranging from psychology, linguistics and neurobiology to the culture of Bryn Mawr. In addition to traditional elements of inquiry--acting, observing, imagining, reading, talking and writing--we will explore images, the potential of the web, and other aspects of developing information technology. Our task is to enhance our creative, synthetic, critical and communicative skills, to learn how to better "get it less wrong," both individually and collectively. Students will be required to contribute to the education of their colleagues as well as to people beyond the College by participating in a weekly on-line forum and putting some of their essays on the web.

Paul Grobstein
, Park Room 107, x5098,
Anne Dalke, English House 205, x5308,

Course web page:

Course requirements:

  • Active engagement with readings and discussions
  • Weekly web postings
  • Weekly writing assignments
  • Bi-weekly individual conferences
  • Final portfolio

Evaluations: It is the instructors' feeling that concerns about grading are, for both teachers and students, a hindrance to the kind of open and productive interactions on which effective education depends. Moreover, no measure on a single scale can adequately represent any given student's distinctive engagement with and achievement in any given course. Students will receive grades on the completion of this course that reflect the instructors' evaluation of the degree of engagement with the course that they have displayed, the progress they have made in becoming better writers/inquirers, and the level of sophistication they have reached. Individual assignments will be commented on but not graded. Students wanting feedback on their performance during the course are invited to consult with the instructors during individual conferences. The instructors are also more than willing to supplement final grades with more nuanced evaluations as needed for future academic and professional activities.

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