In this case, Western Civilization refers to a class we teach at my high school. Amanda recently posted this request for help from the blogosphere:
I am thinking of teaching Western Civ (European History from the Greeks to the present) without a textbook next year. I already use many outside sources, but I am thinking of just going with outside sources (subscription services, primary and secondary sources, etc.) entirely next year. I want to do this for two reasons: I don't think that textbooks in their traditional form are going to exist much longer, and I really don't think that they are useful because they necessarily summarize information that otherwise is very interesting.I think a class like Western Civ is a great one to utilize the resources of the Internet, so we don't limit our students to the "necessarily summarized" information that a textbook can present. By setting a goal of not using the textbook, I think that forces Amanda - or any teacher - to really look at what they are teaching and the resources they are using to see if they make sense. I think too often a textbook can serve as a crutch, a safety-net for the teacher so that they don't have to take a hard look at what they are teaching. And I think we all should be taking a really hard look at what we are teaching.
So, I am thinking of having a web-based class, in the sense that students will be given broad guiding questions and links from my website to other websites that they can explore in preparation for class. They will decide what is ultimately important about the people and times we study. I think that other teachers are probably doing this in some sense, and I'd rather not totally reinvent the wheel, so I would like to hear from other teachers. Which online resources do you use to teach Western Civ? If you would like to see the types of materials that I currently use, here is the link to my Unit I page - click on "Unit I (Greece)"
Amanda has already developed a pretty good list of resources, and will undoubtedly come up with some more before next fall, but if anyone out there has some good suggestions, please head over to her post and comment.