Friday, June 26, 2009

review of ISW in June 2009 issue of Teaching Philosophy

Those of you who are fans, or at least regular readers, of this site probably also know about the journal Teaching Philosophy, which since its founding in 1975 "has provided a peer-reviewed forum for the exchange of ideas about the challenges faced by philosophers in the classroom, and has published the largest body of original work on philosophy teaching in the English language." Over the years, I have found the journal to be a very helpful resource.

The current issue (Volume 32:2, June 2009) includes a Digital Media Review section. One of the "digital media" under review is this very site. Prof. John Immerwahr (Villanova Univ.), the reviewer, gives a clear (yet concise) overview of this site -- along with advice about how to subscribe to a weblog such as this one.

I'll shatter the suspense -- SPOILER ALERT -- SPOILER ALERT -- SPOILER ALERT --

by saying that it's a positive review! Some selected bits of Immerwahr's review follow. (Seeing the full review online requires that you or your institution's library have an online subscription to the journal, I'm afraid.)

  • "This particular blog calls to mind the tradition of essay writing from Montaigne through Addison and Steele. The general format is that Cholbi or one of the other regular authors 'posts' a reflection on some issue related to the teaching of philosophy....other readers post comments or reactions to the original comment.... The whole process, in other words, is rather like a virtual 18th century coffee house. Most of the posts are brief, well-written, thought-provoking, and addressed to real concerns for a typical philosophy instructor."
  • "[The discussion of Michael's post, "What If I Just Don't Like You?", is] an interesting exchange that one can read in just a few minutes. It is just the kind of conversation that one might have in a department common room with a group of serious and thoughtful colleagues. But, as we all know, in today’s hectic world those conversations are increasingly rare. It fills a niche, in other words, between a researched article in Teaching Philosophy and a casual venting with a friend, spouse, or partner."
  • "ISW allows us to participate in a conversation around issues in teaching that is both thoughtful and thought provoking, inviting further commitment but not requiring it. For a small investment of time, it offers a rich reward."

Hooray for us (especially for Michael), and sincere thanks to Prof. Immerwahr for the positive and encouraging words.

By the way -- as it happens, the other review in the Digital Media Review section (this one written by Ruth Poproski)
is of a site developed and maintained by Immerwahr himself:, which "presents strategies and resources for faculty members and graduate assistants who teach philosophy courses, especially at the introductory level; it also includes material of interest to college faculty generally." There's a permanent link to that site down in the lower righthand side of this page. Check it out!

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