Using this site
The following syllabus provides an introduction to the course and a provisional overview of course assignments. We will certainly deviate from this schedule. Its purpose is to give you a sense of what lies ahead, as well as the expected pace at which we’ll move. For assignments and their due dates, always refer to the Google Calendars posted throughout this site (as above, and on every Exercises page).
Ironically, the technological revamping of this course will help us to realize the pedagogical ideal expressed in the traditional Sanskrit maxim (ācāryāt pādam ādatte...) below: namely, that the student learns as much from his or her fellow students as from his/her teacher, intelligence, or the working of time. Most Elementary Sanskrit courses involve so much in the way of in-class grammar lectures that there’s often not a lot of time for students to interact with and learn from their peers. By flipping the class and ‘outsourcing’ the lectures to video homework, a great deal of class time is freed up for us to use the language in class, both in group work and collective discussion.
The second Sanskrit maxim provided in the pdf below (pustakasthā ca yā vidyā...) will serve as another of our guiding lights throughout the year. Whereas in the US we tend to devalue internalized knowledge (as in the derogatory connotation that accompanies expressions like “rote memorization,” etc.), it was a mainstay of traditional education in South Asia. Students grew up committing a great deal of knowledge to heart—knowledge which could always inform their lives as it was ready to hand (as pointed out in the verse below). To be able to use Sanskrit with any facility, it’s this kind of knowledge that we’ll need to cultivate. You should dedicate some time every day to mastering Sanskrit’s forms and vocabulary. If you do, you will save yourself a great deal of wasted time aimlessly flipping through grammars and dictionaries. Instead, you will be able to enjoy reading Sanskrit in real time, i.e., as a language and not as a code to be laboriously deciphered.