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Monday, August 18, 2014

Deciphering Secrets! Medieval Manuscript Citizen Scholar!

Hello!

Part of writing (a big part, especially when you write historical fiction) is research. I read a ton of books to research, visit museums, look up documents online, watch documentaries, recall lessons from school and genealogy. If you read Past is Prologue, you also know that I'm a big Coursera fan. It's wonderful getting to research from top universities in the world in a wide variety of classes and subject matters for free. It's the equivalent of strolling into the campuses of these prestigious universities and taking a seat with students around the world to learn whatever you want to. I've always loved school and learning and Coursera is a great way to continue this.
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One of the courses that I'm currently enrolled in is Deciphering Secrets: Unlocking the Manuscripts of Medieval Spain with the University of Colorado. As well as learning about Medieval history, particularly Spanish medieval history, this course has meant examining Medieval Spanish documents and their nineteenth century transcriptions. Specifically, it means unlocking the secrets kept in Cathedral records from 1399-1453.

I'm excited to report that I too have now assisted in helping to transcribe these documents. This week marked the first transcription assignment. Unlike other Coursera courses, where the instructor sets a syllabus and the student does the assignments, readings and watches the lectures to retain whatever information is expected to complete the class, this course involves actually actively participating in the transcription of documents that no one has transcribed before. It involves producing real information for the historical record. I'm excited to be a part of this!

Have you ever participated in historical projects or in the creation of new material for the historical record? Or, maybe you've done some really interesting research in the past. I'd be delighted to hear from you!

My best to you all,
Megan

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