In the summer of 2013 Professors William Turpin (Swarthmore College, Classics) and Bruce Venarde (University of Pittsburgh, History) offered a free online Latin translation course, meeting on Google Hangouts (i.e. Google Plus, in the "Community" called "Medieval Latin (Summer 2013) the Gesta Francorum"). We hope that a similar course will be offered in the summer of 2014, though no decisions have been made about this.
Here is the original description:
The class will meet once a week starting on Monday, June 3rd, from 8-10 p.m. EST and will continue for perhaps ten weeks. We will be translating and discussing the Gesta Francorum, an anonymous first-hand account of the First Crusade written in relatively straightforward medieval Latin.
The course is intended for students who have completed a year or so of classical Latin at the college level, or the equivalent in high school. It should also be suitable for those whose Latin may be a little rusty, or for those particularly interested in medieval Latin. Google Hangouts will allow eight active participants (i.e. people who may wish to translate a particular section of text) and an unlimited number of auditors (who will be able to submit questions and comments by email).
All are welcome, as active participants or as auditors. We had not originally planned to record and archive these sessions, but apparently Google Plus will automatically do so, via YouTube. Certainly this will make it possible for people to catch up for missed sessions if they wish to, and of course it will make the sessions easier for people in different timezones. Also, we at present have no mechanism for awarding formal credit or certificates of completion.
The basic intention of this course is to replicate to the extent possible the experience of a student in (say) a college Latin class at the early intermediate level, minus the quizzes, tests, and continuing assessment. The most immediate model, in fact, may be an informal reading group devoted to a particular ancient or medieval text. The basic premise, as with those reading groups, is that a small community of interested participants can both encourage and enhance what is essentially a private encounter with a text.
In practice, we will provide a mechanism for interested participants to sign up for particular sections of the text; such participants will then be invited to translate and to raise questions or comment as seems appropriate. The "instructors," and other participants, will offer assistance and comments as necessary, just as in an ordinary class with participants sitting around a table. At this point we are not sure how much of a difference the online nature of these interactions will make.
Should there be more active participants than slots allowed by Google Hangouts we will ask people to take turns.