Bob Cape

Project Proposal

I would like to apply for funding to develop electronic, real-time, target-language response materials and incorporate elements of a “flipped” classroom to the introductory and intermediate Latin courses (LAT 101, LAT 102, LAT 201). The materials will supplement my Internet Workbook for the Oxford Latin Course (, which has been one of the most successful and most heavily accessed web projects hosted by Austin College for over a decade, serving hundreds of users in many countries. It has, however, become dated. This project would allow me to add two new features that were not available when I began the Workbook: timed exercises in the target language, and a repository of video lectures about Latin and English language principles, with custom exercises designed to help students understand the material.

The materials that currently reside on the Workbook are javascript exercises designed to help students review vocabulary and new grammar materials with immediate feedback, enabling them to learn which elements they needed help with rather than simply be told an answer is correct or incorrect. This looped feedback was rather innovative at the time and is still useful. One thing I’ve learned from the exercises is that Latin students often approach exercises—even on-line exercises—with their book in hand, looking up words and forms, taking a long time to answer a question because they want it to be correct on the first attempt. There is a place for this in all learning and review, but this habit impedes the development of spontaneous understanding and response in the language. The new exercises I plan to develop are timed responses which, when queried in the target language, help keep students focused on producing the language without recourse to translation into English. We use oral exercises in class to develop this skill, so the electronic materials will support our classroom work and will help students practice outside of class, which is difficult at present. The predicted outcomes of using these exercises are improved student confidence and performance in class and on timed quizzes and exams (which is all of them), and enhanced intuition and deeper understanding of the language.

The second set of materials I plan to develop will provide short videos focused on language content (both English and Latin), and new exercises based on the videos for student review prior to class. These materials are typically used in the so-called “flipped” classroom, but my intention is not to “flip” the class, but to provide more content and exercise practice before and after new concepts are introduced. I have tried it with two chapters this semester and the students were ecstatic about it. Not only could they replay the videos to hear again the concept of verbal adjectives and antecedents (we did these for present participles and relative pronouns, two rather tricky grammatical constructions for students to understand), they also heard them presented in three slightly different ways, improving their chances of understanding how these words work. My goal is to create new materials and assemble already existing materials into a series of web pages keyed to our textbook, and to assign them for every chapter. I will also make a series of review questions tied to the videos to help students be sure they understand the principles before they come to class.

These projects will allow me to integrate technology more fully into my teaching and will significantly enhance the amount of technology used in the course. Latin 101 and 201 are offered every fall, Latin 102 every spring, so the gains from this grant will be realized semester. I also intend to work with Martin Wells on his project, so our classical languages courses will be aligned, and with Mo Pelzel to learn new digital applications.


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