An excellent overview of a complex subject , with the rare option to explore the practical skills involved in making manuscripts , and with a forward view of new research evolving IT makes possible.
fascinating subject. Excellent course whether you want to just learn about the history of the manuscripts or try creating some yourself. The Spanish professor is a real expert in the subject.
by Avery B•
The historical context portions were probably all right, but I found the codicology sections troubling. I trained as a bookbinder and am now a book conservator. Most of these examples are from the final week because it is freshest in my mind, but they hold true for the rest as well.
The videos and quiz questions are full of errors, both spelling and factual, and the video transcripts were clearly not proofread.
Some of this can be attributed to translation problems, for example the two broad categories of paper, laid and wove, were called "watermarked and non-watermarked". There were many instances of incorrect or misused terminology, such as "gauffering" for "tooling" (tooling is the general term, gauffering generally refers to edge decoration) and the confusing insistence on "quaternio" when "octavo" is far more common in my experience. Again, this could be chalked up to translation issues.
Others were simply careless, for example one of the questions asked you to select "concave spine" as an innovation of Gothic bindings, when a concave spine was actually a problem resolved by Gothic bindings by rounding the spine into a convex shape.
There were some not just careless but actively counterproductive errors. One of the questions claimed that the use of sewing supports made the board attachment weaker, when the opposite is true. Boards sewn on with the thin sewing thread are much more likely to detach than a thick thong of alum-tawed leather laced into the boards.
In the quiz, a model with a stereotypically Carolingian headband was misidentified, on the grounds that "the headband doesn't look very Carolingian". (I later checked the link, which led to a completely different model of a Romanesque binding, which might put this in the "careless error" category, except that the note on the quiz mentioned a feature which is not present on the Romanesque model.)
In a previous week, the video and a quiz question on iron gall ink claimed that the reason iron gall ink causes deterioration was because it was acidic, when the acidity has very little effect compared to the excess of unbound iron ions, which cause oxidation reactions in the substrate. I wrote my thesis on this subject, and I grant that it might be easier to say "it acts like it is acidic" rather than explain the chemistry, but the correct explanation is given in one of the links for further reading, on a website for high school level science.
I would not recommend this course, although the links for further reading could be useful. The Les Eluminures documents seem very well produced. The instructor for the history component was also very good, and I appreciated the recognition that history is complex and interconnected, and the links to projects on less-studied topics like Cahokia and pre-Colombian contact with the Americas.
by John R•
I learned a lot but I think the class could be more efficient. First up, even though projects assignments are one or the other, you have to submit both else Coursera will keep telling you you're missing an assignment. Also every video starts with a 35 second song introduction, and each week has at least 6 videos, so that's 3.5 minutes of wasted time on average per week. Then there's credits at the end of each video that is even longer.
Learning from the videos are a nice way to learn something passively, but so much of the class is about manuscripts fine details that it would be nice to see documentation and diagrams in readable form instead of video. It's sad to see the message pop up saying 89% of your class failed the quiz, watch this video multiple times. Having to watch a 12 minute video multiple times is annoying.
by Elisa M•
First I'd like to say that this course is quite original and I give a lot of credit to Dr. Sanchez-Pinto for taking on such a project. Her videos are the most instructional of the class. That said, there are two instructors, and Dr. Martinez-Dávila mostly introduces a series of reading materials, so there are hardly any videos on the history component of the class.
Also, the weekly assignments are quite lengthy and require quite some work. For these, there is a deadline of only one week and the feedback from students is very diverse, depending on whether they are themselves librarians or not.
Overall an interesting course for those who are curious about manuscripts, but could definitely use a makeover.
by Lara A•
Really enjoyed the course- many reminders and useful snippets of information on the history of manuscript production. If you get over the chunks of poorly transcribed videos, some mistakes in the information provided (do check details)- then it is a really good introduction. The parts I learned from most are the board projects, where they reminded me to really look at the identifying features of manuscripts that you find in many collections across the world.
by franca g c•
While this course was not exactly what I had expected, it certainly offered insights that I would have never imagined. More importantly, I now know the terminology used and can differentiate the different periods in which the books were bound.
What I loved most was the hands-on-project, which takes the students through the full process of not only creating an illuminated manuscript, but it also drives the student to one of the most important elements which makes up the codex, the binding.
Participating in the above process is invaluable. If you're a lover of illuminated manuscripts, or letters, the freedom towards the creative process is quite "illuminating." Coming up with the content for the copy and the corresponding illustrations was quite fun and somewhat unnerving at the same time. I was nervous about approaching the illumination, not of the letters, but of the other elements such as the initials. Once done, though, it was a very satisfying feeling. The binding process was a bit unnerving as well, not because it's so difficult, but because I didn't necessarily have all the tools.
Having said, this, I would have given the course 5 stars. I gave it 4, only because, the binding process "how to" was not the most clear.
Otherwise, this is an excellent course which I highly recommend. I look forward to other related courses.
by Carol S•
Very engaging and creative course that allowed me to study a subject I have always been enchanted with. The only issues are that the professors accent was so deep that it was difficult to understand her and the machine generated transcript had the same issue I did. Still a most enjoyable course and I would highly recommend it to all. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to take it.
by Mark W•
Course is interesting and I have learnt a fair amount in doing the hands-on project. However, some links and readings are no longer accessible but thankfully, the missing readings are not detrimental. The instructions are largely present but you would often need to consult external sources for the detailed know-how. The time indicated in completing the weekly assignments need to be taken with a pinch of salt. What is an hour can translate to several as you need to account for trial-and-error or the time taken to buy the necessary materials for the project. The peer-marking is sometimes an issue especially if your course mates do not take it seriously and gives a nominal grade despite meeting the upper band of the rubrics. Also, take note that the message board is largely ornamental. Do not expect to find helpful replies to your queries.
by Wendi S•
While the information was quite fascinating, the presentation was very dry. I realize English is not Dr. Sanchez's first language, but she was stiff and obviously reading the text. There was little or no inflection. Her attempts at humorous or light comments fell flat because of this and didn't add anything. I would also like to have seen the writing portions of the lesson integrated into the history. It was awkward reading about the times/peoples and then going on to the writing. Certainly there was a better way to do this. It was like taking two different courses at the same time.
by Irina I•
(+) I really liked the manuscripts part - it was great.
(+) I liked the hands-on project about creating the manuscript, but sometimes instructions were too vague or missing at all.
(-) I didn't like the history part. It has a lot of reading materials and none of the videos. And I didin't always see a connection to manuscripts.
(-) I hate the system when other students should grade my assignments. There was one student who always put too low grades to me and I didin't understand why (for example, I have written ductus of 3 letters and he put that I have done only 2 etc). I suppose that he doesn't understand English quite well so he doesn't understand the rubrics, but that's quite demotivating.
(-) The interview with a Dutch scriptor, who showed letters from manuscripts, was not translated to English.
by Dora V•
Dora Villar · hace 8 minutos
Dear teachers, I am very grateful for this Mocc. I have learned a lot. The presentation of the historical framework is interesting, the focus on the study of medieval times. The enormous amount of information they offer for further investigation is also very appreciable. It is the first time that I have found such a willingness to give all possible information to the students and through different channels as does the teacher Ana Beatriz Sanchez Prieto. Thank you very much! Also the history teacher Roger Martinez Dávila has taught us medieval history in a very didactic way. I have learned with him points of view unknown to me.
I have really enjoyed this course.
As everything is perfectible, I would advise that in the presentation of the practicals to be corrected by the pairs, it should be compulsory for the students to put their first and last names in the practical to avoid plagiarism in the practicals.
Only at the end of the course I discovered a link on Coursera to report that problem that I had to experience, when when correcting works I found that I had to correct mine, which someone else had usurped and put in their name. I reported it in the forum but no one answered me.
by Kathryn G•
I enjoyed this course immensely. It was challenging and illuminating (pun intended). It was particularly interesting to come away with an appreciation about the ways in which the methods of ancient and medieval writing and book making influence the ways we read, write, and preserve information today. As a copyright attorney, I was intrigued by the notion of copying as preserving civilization and the idea that without copying, large parts of our heritage can, have been, and will be lost. The materials, videos, and readings are done well, especially the second part of each week's lesson on the manuscripts themselves. The only criticism I have is that the transcripts of the videos have quite a few errors in them, but that did not prevent me from learning a great deal. I recommend this course and am looking forward to my next visit to a museum with a medieval manuscript collection as I am now armed with a greater understanding of what I will see.
by Birgitte B•
Even though I already had some knowledge on Medieval manuscripts via Philology and Paleography courses I took as part of my BA English Language & Culture, this course gave me additional and broader knowledge on the subject, particularly on codicology. I found the hands-on project exercises both fun and instructional. I really learnt a lot in this course.
This is a very well-structured and informative course, suitable for students with no prior knowledge as well as students who have already some prior knowledge.
by Angelina W•
This is an excellent survey of ancient manuscripts. I really enjoyed the option of doing a hands-on project to create our own manuscripts and the opportunity to practice digital research. The lectures are also good for those who simply want to obtain knowledge, but you must do one of the projects to obtain a passing grade.
by Sandra B•
I completed the course in April 2017. I found it challenging (which I like) and thoroughly instructional. I loved it. It is well presented, with a lovely combination of theory and practical work. The visuals are stunning. It has fostered a desire in me to keep on exploring these resources.
by Kate S•
Lots of information here! I enjoyed the content and lay out of the course as well as the presentation of the material. I have a new-found appreciation for the production of manuscripts and an interest in learning more about their illustration. Thank you for offering this course!
by Kathy C•
I've seen medieval manuscripts in museums, but have no prior knowledge; I thought it was a fascinating course, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in museums. The professors were great, and with a good sense of humor. Thank you! I hope you make more courses. :)
by Jennifer H•
Really enjoyed the course and learned a great deal from it. I felt that some of the contextual history was a bit dry and did not boost my overall understanding of/appreciation for manuscript production. I had hoped for more information on the content of manuscripts vs the production of manuscripts. Did not enjoy the "Board" project - tedious! But making a manuscript really drove home production techniques and was helpful to me as a teacher.
by Emiliano O R•
I get stuck at the end of the course. I choose the hands on project but I must complete some of the pin board in order to finish the course. In despite of that, the course is awesome!
by David B•
This class was even better than I expected, and I expected a really good course. The professors are passionate about the subject, and they have very good teaching methods. I should probably say subjectS, because there were so many interesting things involved in this course. We learned about writing materials, the chemistry of ink and paint, textual analysis, analysis of the structure of the book and of the page layout, some psychology, lots of history, and - something very useful - advanced internet search methods for original sources. I would recommend this course to anyone; in fact, I've already done so several times. I look forward to doing more courses with Professors MARTINEZ-DÁVILA and Professor SÁNCHEZ-PRIETO in the future. Nice work!
by stephen M R•
I'm still going through the course but it's excellent course if you enjoy studying history, art, warfare, chemistry and of course illuminated Manuscripts this is a course you will devour. They have created a very professional course, there is a lot of new information I have never read or came across before and i'm not even half way through the course, I look forward to the rest of the course. I would HIGHLY advise you to take this course if you love art and history from ancient to around the 16th century.
by Nathan B•
An excellent course covering all aspects of Medieval Manuscripts, from parchment and pigments to illumination and binding. The only drawback is the Peer Review process, the vast majority did not leave comments so it was not that helpful, and those who were not thorough in their review of your work can provide an incorrect review lowering your overall score. The instructors are great and their passion for the topic shows! Expect a lot of work, but there is a lot to learn. I had a grand time!
by Rowena A•
This course has been easy to follow and enjoyable, while still offering a high level of rigor and challenge. I especially appreciate the differentiation in projects available, so as to allow learners to choose their degree of engagement. The instructors are clearly knowledgeable, and responsive to learner communication. Highly recommended even (or maybe especially) for novice MOOC learners!
by Eleni P•
Very interesting MOOC. Don't miss out on the opportunity to make your own "medieval codex" from scratch! Choose the hands-on project and put everything you learn through the videos to the test. You don't have to be an artist, don't worry; there are a lot of shortcuts available for us (the non-artists). I enjoyed it a lot!
by Gwyneth T•
This was an extremely interesting course. I learnt a lot about medieval Europe and its history alongside knowledge of medieval manuscripts and bookbinding. I am tempted to do it again using the practical projects but I am not sure I have enough time to actually complete them.