About

Goal of the Site

It's not enough to just teach how scansion works. You need practice, practice, and more practice. And that's what this site aims to do: give its users the ability to try line after line in order to spend the needed time required for attaining mastery at this skill.

But beyond that, this site offers adaptive lines that grow in difficulty as your skill grows, and instant feedback so you'll know whether you've made a mistake or not. There are also ample statistics, charts, badges, and many more features so you can track your progress and feel good about yourself along the way.

About Me

I am Ben Johnson, and I have taught Latin at a public school in Maine for 15 years. I have a bachelor's degree in classics from Cornell University and a master's from the University of Florida. In my own courses, I have stressed how the construction of a hexameter line helps not just in the grammar, but also in understanding the sense of the phrase. Latin poetry was meant to be performed, so the caesuras and diaereses are important.

But unfortunately, my students didn't get better at scanning until they were practicing over and over. Grading tens to hundreds of lines at a time for my advanced students was just impractical. That's where this site comes in: my own students have used this website to give them the practice they need at the level they are at, and they are allowed to grow at different rates.

Beyond my own feelings about the educational nature of this site, I also think that scanning is fun, relaxing, and at times addicting.

This site was created by me from a bootstrap template, using php, javascript, and html5. If you find any bugs, please report them using the contact form below.

How It All Works

It's pretty simple: you get presented with a line roughly around at your rating, and if you scan it correctly, your rating goes up (meaning that next time you'll probably get a tougher line). If you scan it incorrectly, your rating goes down (and next time you'll probably get an easier line). There are more bells and whistles, but that's pretty much it.

Perhaps a more important question is: does it work? With my own classes, the answer is a simple yes. The key is to scan as often as possible, learn from your mistakes, and grow over time. To the right is the graph of one of my own student's progress as she learned how to scan. Other than a very basic intro and presentation of the rules of scanning (focusing on the two syllable rule), everything else is due entirely to using this website. Impressed?

Rating and RD

There's your rating, but there's also another metric that each user has called RD, which stands for "ratings deviation". Your rating tells us roughly how good you are at scanning, but there's some wiggle room. RD tells us how much wiggle room. As you scan more and more lines, we get more confident of your actual rating, and so your RD goes down. And since scanning is a skill, every day you don't scan, your RD goes up just a little bit. So if you take a month off, you'll very likely be rusty, and so your rating probably isn't very accurate.

RD is important, though, in figuring out your new rating. If you have a high RD, your rating will change a lot more than if you have a low RD, because with a lower RD (i.e., you have scanned a lot of lines recently) we are pretty confident of your true rating.

The key is, practice and practice often. That is the best way to increase your skill and rating.