Professor Bob Cape and I are in the last year of a three-year Mellon Grant for collaborative teaching, the first year of which involved heavy exploration of digital pedagogy (use of iPads, collaborative sites, multimedia projects). One of the critical difficulties we face is the logistical problems of bringing students together for shared experiences (e.g. performance, public reading, screening) by means of shared texts (such as Athenian tragedy). Current students expect access to texts asynchronously, and yet part of the goal of a course teaching classics is constructing a shared conversation from common references. We find that texts shared across classes opens considerable teaching opportunities, but that capitalizing on them becomes difficult without logistics and shared data formats.
I propose to work with two existing multimedia texts I already use in teaching theatre history (THE 142) – for a comedy by Plautus (Amphitryon) and a tragedy by Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound) to consolidate and edit that material to construct a digital textual experience by means of which students can share a common text from multiple platforms and devices. I’ve already experimented with work like this on Euripides’ Bacchae and Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken. This grant will support the construction of two multimedia texts designed as much as learning environments as presentations or content, usable from multiple classes (with overlapping material, such as Dr. Cape and I often use) simultaneously. A trailer of some of the video for Prometheus Bound can be seen here:
Material costs might include a large-volume hard drive for backup and storage – perhaps up to $300. Additional costs might involve service contracts with platform providers, depending on what delivery options become clear this fall (the course is taught every spring). The largest potential need for funding would be for editing – the cost of a specialist for compiling and collating four nights of raw video from two cameras – or for software for more efficient editing (less expensive, but far more time-consuming). I would like to examine possible options with the new digital pedagogy consultant, based on what skills and experience this person brings to AC, to develop a sustainable tool set for presenting these texts. Because the goal is to provide material accessible to current students with current devices, our expenses are likely to be higher in time and expertise than in equipment.
Rough projections: $300 for hard drives, $0 – 350 for software, $450 – 700 for editing services (if needed).