Monday, July 5, 2010

Learning Inside and Outside the Classroom

This morning started with a terrific class. Professor McDougall lectured on the UK and the EU for a bit and then four students then gave their cultural briefings. Today students presented on food in the UK, the monarchy, rugby and Wimbledon. Following this the class had a discussion on the first several chapters in the textbook.

After a lunch break, the class broke into two groups and took a guided walking tour of Oxford. The guide was wonderful and we stopped at several of Oxford's 38 colleges, the Bodleian Library and saw several spots from the Harry Potter films.

The tour was rich with information, but perhaps one of the most interesting stops was the Bodleian Library. The collection there includes a copy of every book published in the UK and also 4 copies of the Magna Carta. There are only 17 in existence so this is a very special collection indeed. It's so special, that only Oxford University students and very select patrons can check out books. However, checking out a book only allows you to read it in the library as nothing in the collection is allowed to leave. On several occasions in history, kings and even Oliver Cromwell requested materials be delivered to them; but rules are rules and even they weren't permitted to access the collection outside the walls of the library!

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