In a recent article in Lingua Franca, David Damrosch asked "Can Classics Die?" [Lingua Franca 5.6 : 61-66]. He asserted that Classics' efforts to survive in the current intellectual climate, wherein students and scholars alike seem obsessed with the present, may be paradigmatic for "the survival of historical study itself" (66). While we believe that Damrosch's statistics and his prognostications are gloomier than the actual situation warrants, we recognize that the discipline faces serious challenges, particularly with regard to the study of classical languages in small undergraduate programs. Some classicists are meeting these challenges with great creativity. Classicists have been among the first humanists to see and exploit the educational possibilities of new developments in information technology; indeed, NEH Chairman Sheldon Hackney described James O'Donnell of the University of Pennsylvania as "at the forefront of a revolution in teaching, driven by and made possible by the computer" (Humanities 16 : 5). Perseus, the Greek interactive database on CD-ROM and the World Wide Web, is perhaps the most visible and fully developed of these technological classical tools, but there are many more, ranging from programs developed for use in a single class and made available to others as freeware (e.g., SCRIBA, a software program designed by John Gruber-Miller for use with the Oxford Latin Course), to large and growing web sites like Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women & Gender in the Ancient World, developed and maintained by Suzanne Bonefas and Ross Scaife (URL http:/www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html). Many academics have expressed surprise that classicists have been so quick to adopt the new technological tools, but we maintain that there is a logical connection: those who teach languages that are no longer spoken and civilizations and cultures that are extant only as incomplete and decontextualized fragments have always been dealing with "virtual reality." The job of classicists is to restore the missing life, context, and immediacy of these cultures, and computers are powerful aids in this task. Recognizing this fact, the American Philological Association (APA) established a Committee on Computer Activities (CCA) more than 15 years ago; and in January 1996 a subcommittee dedicated to Classics, Technology, and Teaching (CTTS) was formed to facilitate and promote the use of technology in the teaching of Classics, particularly in small undergraduate programs. The first action of CTTS was to initiate CLSTECH (an electronic discussion list designed to foster communication and collaboration among smaller Classics programs through the use of technology); this grant proposal is the second action of the subcommittee.
This is a large-scale and ambitious project, in keeping with the national scope and urgency of our mission. In a time of dwindling resources and increasing economic pressures, small size and isolation are disadvantages that are doubly felt by small programs within a small discipline. On the other hand, humanities education in the United States would be immeasurably diminished were classical languages and cultures no longer widely taught. This project seeks to address two related issues: 1) to improve and expand the teaching of classical languages and cultures through technology-assisted collaboration between small undergraduate and secondary school Classics programs, and 2) to enhance students' learning of these topics through the excitement, immediacy, and "virtual re-creation of lost contexts" that modern technology can expedite. We have chosen to focus on the teaching and learning of Latin language and culture for the period of the grant, but the project's inherent flexibility and potential for growth will make it easily adaptable to the teaching and learning of Greek language and culture and explorations of the interaction of many ancient cultures. The Latin focus was determined by the fact that this language is more frequently taught than Greek in both secondary schools and undergraduate programs, thus making collaboration more widely feasible, and also by the fact that there is a dearth of high-quality Latin materials available on-line or even on CD-ROM in comparison with the rich variety of Greek materials already accessible.
Two key elements will constitute the core of the project: 1) a virtual forum ("VRoma"), a multi-user networked environment (MOO/web server) where faculty and students can meet, interact, collaborate, hold classes, access databases, texts, images and teaching materials; and 2) two intensive two-week summer workshops that will build community, develop technological expertise and the ability to help others acquire it, initiate creation of on-line teaching/learning materials, and plan collaborative teaching projects for subsequent years. Both of these elements are particularly suited to overcome the limitations of small size and isolation that plague both faculty and students in Classics, particularly those in smaller programs. The workshops will bring together a number of faculty from both college and high school settings to experience the kind of intensive face-to-face networking that rarely happens among these two groups. These workshops will forge a community of scholar/teachers based on common goals and shared technological expertise that will give the project its initial impulse. The on-line materials and collaborative courses created by these workshop participants will generate ideas and provide models for similar courses by other faculty.
Furthermore, VRoma will be the center of a much larger community, one that will continue long beyond the grant period. A combined MOO/web server offers exactly the resources we need for this project. Like all MOOs, VRoma will provide "a social space in a permanent state of evolution" (David Bennahum, "Fly Me to the MOO: Adventures in Textual Reality," Lingua Franca 4.4 : 22); unlike some MOOs, however, this one will be directed by academics, and its energies will be channeled toward an educational purpose, capitalizing on the fact that "almost all students enjoy using virtual space" (Bennahum 36). As a virtual environment founded on a spatial metaphor, VRoma will offer the opportunity for students and faculty to reconstruct ancient Rome through a combination of scholarship, creative imagination, and technological expertise. The reconstruction itself will provide opportunities for exciting collaborative projects based on research that combines textual and material evidence with various interpretive paradigms, and the site can grow exactly as the Roman Republic and Empire did, by adding allied cities and annexing provinces. After parts of the site have been constructed, they will provide an appropriate context for studying the language, texts, and culture of Rome, and for imaginatively enacting events from Roman history. Unlike CD-ROMS, which tend to promote individual and isolated study, a MOO is by nature multi-user and can be accessed from any type of computer with no more than a Telnet connection (though users with high-end equipment will be able to perform more sophisticated activities). Hence VRoma will ameliorate many of the negative effects of small size by facilitating different types of collaborative projects --from team-taught courses and courses that incorporate distance learners to group assignments for students from different campuses. Both students and faculty will have the opportunity to meet and work with peers from institutions across the country, and real-time interactions will be supplemented with time-independent materials on the web server. Once established, VRoma will be self-sustaining (it can be developed and maintained by an administrative board of classicists) and will be flexible enough to incorporate new technological developments.
For all these reasons, we anticipate that this project will have a deep and lasting effect on the way classical languages and cultures are taught and learned in undergraduate programs across the country, and in many secondary schools as well. By engaging students in the subject in imaginative ways and bringing them in contact with other engaged learners, VRoma will encourage students to study Classics longer and more deeply. By making it possible for small undergraduate programs to offer their students more contact with other students, expanded cultural courses and more advanced language courses (as well as better contextualization of all classical studies) the project as a whole will offer much-needed support for a quintessentially humanistic area of study.
2. INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT
VRoma is by nature a distributed, collaborative project, directly involving three institutions, and involving many more indirectly. Two of these institutions will act as project focal points: Miami University (Oxford, OH) will serve as the administrative home of the project, while Rhodes College (Memphis, TN) will serve as a workshop site and physical home of the VRoma server and database. Both these institutions have strong commitments to the use of instructional technology in the humanities and proven track records for innovative teaching methods in Classics.
Miami University is a state-assisted university with an enrollment of 14,000 undergraduates and 1,800 graduate students on its main campus. When Miami University was founded in 1809, the study of the Greek and Latin Classics was a centerpiece of the curriculum. Indeed, the classical humanities makeup one of the few subjects taught continuously at Miami University since its inception, and this continuity typifies Miami's long-standing commitment to the humanities and to liberal education. Miami has long been recognized as a center for the study of Classics by its involvement with the American Classical League, the national organization for the promotion of the study of Latin and Greek in primary and secondary schools, which has had its headquarters at Miami since 1947. The presence of the ACL, which serves as a professional organization for secondary school Latin teachers, makes Miami an ideal location for a project involving collaboration among college and secondary school teachers and students.
In addition to its strong support of classical humanities, Miami is also committed to the integration of technology into the teaching and learning environment, as evidenced by such ongoing efforts as the Learning Technologies Initiative and the Learning Technologies Enrichment Program, a grant program "designed to enhance Miami's learning environment through the continual broadening of the application of technology by providing focused, and therefore visible, activity furthering the integration of technology into the curriculum." The MiamiMOO Project, which will serve as the foundation for VRoma, was originally funded by Miami through the LTEP program. MiamiMOO has already been the setting for intensive collaboration on this project, as the four directors met to put this proposal together.
Rhodes College in Memphis is a small, coeducational liberal arts college that provides its students with an outstanding undergraduate education in a cloistered, urban setting. Founded in 1848, Rhodes has had a long history as a strong regional institution for its commitment to academic goals and impressive record of achievement. Recently, however, Rhodes has emerged as a national leader among liberal arts colleges. For example, the highly-regarded Fiske Guide to Colleges identified Rhodes as a "Best Buy" in 1996. Over the past ten years, the Rhodes endowment has increased from $64 million to $133 million, and enrollment has moved from 1063 to 1421. The average college examination scores of our students (1211 on the SAT for the class of 1999) places them in the top 2% of students nationally.
Rhodes is particularly well suited to participate in this initiative, first, because of the College's outstanding computing infrastructure. In 1995, Rhodes spent over $1.34 million on information technology to expand and maintain a high-speed, campus-wide network and a large installed base of workstations and laboratory facilities. Second, Rhodes has had a long-standing commitment to Greek and Roman studies. From its earliest period as Clarksville Academy, instruction in Greek and Latin has remained a constant element in the curriculum. In 1994, the faculty approved a new program in Greek and Roman studies that features new pedagogical approaches to the languages, a travel- study program, new courses for general audiences, an expanded role in Humanities 101-102: Search for Values in the Light of Western History, and more creative uses of computer-based materials. Finally, Rhodes attracts a large number of students from the Mid-South region where Latin instruction at the high school level is very strong. For example, over ten percent of the first year students in the class of 1999 took the placement examination in Latin, and Whitestation High School in Memphis, from which a number of students come to Rhodes, has one of the largest AP Latin programs in the country.
The site of the second workshop (Summer, 1998), to be administered by Michael Arnush of Skidmore, will most likely be somewhere in the Northeastern part of the country, possibly at Skidmore College itself. The principal mission of Skidmore College is to prepare liberally educated graduates to continue their quest for knowledge and to make the choices required of informed, responsible citizens. The Skidmore curriculum, whose founding principle links theoretical with applied learning, balances a commitment to the liberal arts, humanities and sciences with preparation for professions, careers and community leadership. Within this framework, the College's Classics Program examines the literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, and archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Firmly rooted in interdisciplinary studies, the program offers a wide range of courses taught by members of the Skidmore faculty drawn from Classics and a number of other departments. The Classics Program has been a pioneer in the application of digital technology to the Skidmore curriculum, and its interdisciplinary nature has lent itself to enhancing the profile of information resources at the College.
These three institutions have already demonstrated their commitment to enhancing the teaching of Classics through technology-assisted collaborative projects. Rhodes College is playing a major role in Mellon grant recently awarded to the Associated Colleges of the South, entitled "Enhancing the Learning Environment Through the Use of Technology." This project will bring representatives from thirteen colleges and universities in the consortium to Rhodes in the summers of 1996 and 1997 to develop their fluency with instructional technology, build an archive of teaching materials and images primarily for ancient Greek language and civilization, and begin laying the groundwork for a "virtual department" of Classics. Our initial workshop will be also held at Rhodes under the direction of Kenneth Morrell, enabling our project to take advantage of the materials and expertise developed during the previous ACS workshops. Furthermore, Suzanne Bonefas, Miami University, and Michael Arnush, Skidmore College, have constructed a team-taught course delivered to students at both institutions that includes a substantial Internet collaborative element. Skidmore and Miami students, together with the faculty, exchange ideas through a variety of media linked to a web page: a listserv that reaches every member of this community, a newsgroup for archiving commentary, MOO-rooms constructed by the students based on their research into the physical and literary world of classical Athens, and a weekly video/audio link between the two classes in computerized classrooms that provide a culminating forum for discussion. We envision this course as one paradigm for the types of educational collaborations that will develop from this project.
3. CONTENT OF THE PROJECT
A. THE SERVER AND VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT
The basis for VRoma will be a MOO (Multi-User Dimension, Object Oriented), a server originally developed at Xerox PARC, principally by Pavel Curtis. A MOO is a real-time text-based environment in which users can both communicate with other users and easily extend the environment itself. In other words, users can "build" Virtual Rome by entering text describing the space, the objects in it, and the ways objects can be manipulated. MOOs (and MUDs in general) have been put to numerous educational uses at a variety of levels. They are particularly suited for constructivist activities and descriptive writing, and are also ideal settings for long-distance collaborations. Some educational MUDs include MariMUSE of the Pueblo Project, which involves collaboration between college students and an inner-city elementary school; LinguaMOO at University of Texas at Dallas, which focuses on language skills; and WriteMUSH, where college students learn writing skills. A MOO can function not only as a classroom and a repository for materials, but also as the basis of an academic community.
VRoma's core database will be based on an enhanced version of the VA Core, originally programmed by Chris Jones and now in use at MiamiMOO (Miami University), where it has been continually improved for use in Classics and other humanities courses since December 1994. This core has been field-tested in three undergraduate classics courses with a total enrollment of approximately 125 students, and has also been used in courses in the Religion Dept. at Miami. Student and faculty feedback have resulted in major interface improvements intended to promote both its effectiveness as a teaching and learning environment and ease of use for new users.
The second major component of the VRoma server will be a World Wide Web server and materials site. The MOO and Web servers will be linked so that images and other multimedia materials, as well as textual databases, can enhance and extend the text-based VRoma MOO environment. In addition to serving as a repository for materials developed in conjunction with this project, the use of a web server has the additional advantage of allowing the project to create links to materials developed by scholars engaged in similar research, e.g. the Romulus Project (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~romulus/), the "Roman Perseus" Project planned by Greg Crane at Tufts University, and John J. Dobbin's Pompeii Forum Project (http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/pompeii/) at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. Our project will be very different from these, the former of which are just in the beginning stages of development, because of the real-time collaborative possibilities of the MOO; indeed, the existence of VRoma will greatly extend the usefulness of these other resources for teaching and learning.
The MOO and Web servers in VRoma will themselves be linked, so users of the Web can browse and edit MOO objects, and the project intends to extend this capacity in VRoma with CGI scripts and with Sun Microsystems' Java programming language to make VRoma both dynamic and fully interactive from a Java-capable web browser. As a result, it will be possible for students and instructors, for example, to collaboratively make use of such multimedia elements as sound and video via a Web/MOO whiteboard, a technology which allows users at remote site to view and manipulate shared images and text. Such a capacity will not, however, render VRoma off-limits to clients without high-end workstations, because the server itself will be accessible via a simple Telnet connection. In this way, the project hopes to ensure that the basic environment is accessible even to those without expensive equipment, while those who do have the hardware can take advantage of the server's high-end capacities.
The programming, configuring, and initial building of the MOO will begin in the months prior to the first workshop. One component of the workshop will be the training of core faculty to extend the range of materials and capacity of VRoma. By the end of the second workshop, the core faculty will be able to assume the collective responsibility of maintaining the materials and environment. While the server will initially be maintained by the Director, we plan to select a volunteer board of administrators (a "Senate") from among the core faculty, student mentors, and perhaps other interested and technically proficient members of the Classics and VE communities. These administrators, who will have access privileges, will perform such tasks as database and server management and setting up new user accounts. With a board of four or five administrators, each will have to spend no more than 3 hours a week on such tasks once the server is stabilized. The first board will also be charged with deciding how long they and their successors will serve, as well as drawing up a protocol for the selection of new administrators. In addition to the administrators, volunteers from the VRoma community may also serve as Staff, for example, holding office hours for two to three hours a week on the MOO.
All aspects of VRoma will contribute to the learning experience, since we will make imaginative participation in the virtual reality of ancient Roman space and culture a key part of the site. The administrative board (Senate) and other staff will be given Roman titles commensurate with the roles they play in the virtual civilization, following the Roman cursus honorum (to which advanced students as well as faculty may aspire), and activities will be conducted in appropriate ancient spaces. Sound research (often conducted collaboratively by students working with peers and faculty) will provide the basis for the virtual civilization of VRoma , so the Senate will provide a measure of control to ensure that there is an authentic factual basis for spaces added to the site (e.g., aediles will issue building permits and inspect sites). The flexibility of the virtual environment will allow for a number of educational experiences and exercises, no doubt including many which the directors of this project have not anticipated, and which we expect the core faculty and workshop participants to develop as they explore and grow more comfortable with this medium. For example, in addition to receiving instruction via the internet, students can log in to discuss material informally, practice "oral" Latin skills, as well as contribute to the virtual Roman landscape. Students would also be able to practice their language and grammar skills with built-in drill and practice modules, which would be among the materials developed at the summer workshops.
B. THE WORKSHOPS
The workshops will provide, as it were, the will and the limbs of VRoma, animating it with their commitment to employ its technological wizardry in the service of humane learning and enabling it to reach a wide audience through practical applications in classrooms across the country. Indeed, it is the organic connection of VRoma with the workshops that makes this project unique and worthy of the kind of funding support that it will require. Many excellent electronic resources dealing with classical languages and cultures have already been developed (though fewer in Latin than in Greek); however, CD-ROMS and web sites will enhance humanities education in a truly meaningful and lasting way only if there is a substantial community of teachers and learners who have the requisite skills to make use of them, models of how to do this most efficiently, and evidence of effective learning outcomes. This project can provide all of those things by tying its web site and materials to a collaborative MOO, by creating a community of trained and dedicated classicists to develop and maintain it, by building collaborative courses and on-line materials around it, by publicizing, enlarging and extending it, and by evaluating and refining it on the basis of fully integrated outcomes assessment.
We have selected five classicists to serve as core faculty in the first workshop: John Gruber-Miller of Cornell College in Iowa, Cindy Pope of the TI-IN Network in Texas, James Ruebel of Iowa State University, Ross Scaife of the University of Kentucky, and Randall Stewart of the University of Utah; information on their qualifications for this role can be found in section 4. We plan to enroll ten additional participants in this workshop, who will be selected by the directors of the project and core faculty according to the following criteria: 1) record of excellent teaching in Classics; 2) some geographical proximity with one of the core faculty or directors of the project in order to constitute effective working partnerships for the subsequent course collaborations and field testing; 3) evidence of some skill with computers and electronic media, as well as openness to technology-enhanced teaching; 4) institutional access to the internet by the beginning of the academic year 1997-1998; 5) institutional commitment to permit and facilitate participation in collaborative courses and field testing of materials in the subsequent academic year. These selections will constitute regional partnerships that draw on existing ties among institutions whenever possible (e.g. Randall Stewart has worked with two private schools in the Salt Lake City area; Cindy Pope, with local universities such as Trinity University in San Antonio; John Gruber-Miller and James Ruebel with the "Amici," the Classical Association of Iowa). Once at the workshop, each cluster will, in turn, explore ways of building further partnerships with other participants from other regions. For Workshop 1 Schedule, see Appendix 2.
Because the participants at the first workshop will be responsible for designing and creating the internet site, the directors of the project have identified and invited individuals to serve as the core faculty who have achieved a relatively high level of computer expertise. For the second workshop, the level of participants' computer skills need not be as high as the first; thus we will issue an open call for participants through the established channels of communication, including printed and electronic publications of the American Philological Association and Archaeological Institute of American, the American Classical League, and professional organizations at the state and regional levels, as well as a wide range of on-line discussion groups and web sites. Selection criteria will be essentially the same as those listed above, although we may refine them slightly based on experiences from the first workshop and subsequent field testing (e.g., we will have a better idea of whether geographical proximity does or does not play a significant role in effective collaboration). For this workshop, we will also make special efforts to include some institutions with few or no classicists but an interest in working on a collaborative offering with another institution (e.g., we might invite a school such as LeMoyne-Owen College, a historically black college in Memphis, to send an appropriate faculty member in preparation for a collaborative course with Rhodes).
The schedule of the second workshop will be similar to the first, though it will incorporate refinements and changes suggested by the previous year's assessments. Since the design and initial construction of VRoma will already be accomplished, we will have more time for training in high-level computer skills, development of on-line course materials, and planning of collaborative courses that will complement and supplement those offered in the first year. The second workshop will also feature opportunities for colleagues from remote locations, including core faculty from the first workshop, to interact on-line with participants.
C. COLLABORATIONS AND MATERIALS
Each partnership will implement at least one course collaboration. These courses could range from a fully team-taught course taught on two campuses, to a course on one campus with distance participants on another, or to a partial collaboration on some aspects and activities of two different courses. Since we expect these collaborations to grow organically from the workshop experience, we cannot specify all their details in this proposal; furthermore, the on-line materials developed during and after the workshops will be designed to support the projected collaborations. However, we have selected a specific pilot course for the first year, an upper-division Latin course on Roman comedy, that will provide one model for the type of collaborations that will be implemented. We have chosen to focus initially on comedy because of its broad appeal, its potential for linking the study of language and literature with the study of civilization and culture, and the fact that the comedies of Plautus and Terence are frequently part of undergraduate college Classics programs and may be used in some high schools as well.
This course will be offered in the first year as a fully collaborative course involving at least two of the participating colleges; other participants may draw on its materials in various ways (e.g., in courses that do not read ancient literature in the original languages, such as a course on Greek and Roman comedy, the ancient theater, etc.). This will be a team-taught course, with instructors and classes at each institution but including some joint class meetings in VRoma (with at least full textual interaction on the MOO, and optimally with audio-video interaction as well, in a manner similar to that implemented by Suzanne Bonefas and Michael Arnush in their Athenian Democracy course). As part of their assignments, students will meet in VRoma in pairs--some same-school, some with their counterparts at the other institution--to read selections from the Latin texts. Students will also work in groups on cultural projects associated with VRoma (e.g., virtual reconstructions of the setting for Roman comedy, such as stage, masks, costumes; real-time enactment of a scene from Plautus or Terence, etc.). Students will be able to access the course materials at any time, as well as arrange to meet informally with other students for study or tutoring sessions in VRoma. Student mentors (advanced Classics students) will be available for Latin tutoring as well as generally to assist students with basic VRoma navigation. Some class events, such as shared long-distance lectures in VRoma, may be attended by students enrolled in civilization as well as Latin courses.
During and after the first workshop, we will produce on-line materials for this course. These materials will include Latin texts and commentaries of at least one entire play by Plautus as well as selections of other works by Plautus and Terence. These texts and accompanying grammatical and literary commentaries will be extensively "hyperlinked", so as to be useful to students of the ancient world regardless of their explicit involvement in the courses in which these materials will be utilized. These texts will also be accessible through both the MOO and Web interfaces of VRoma, to allow for real-time long-distance discussion as well as multimedia links. In addition to texts and commentaries, we will also develop cultural materials relevant to ancient Roman theatrical performances and the stage. These will include basic plans and images as well as commentary, and be linked to internet materials such as "Skenotheke: Images of the Ancient Stage" from the University of Saskatchewan (http://www.usask.ca/classics/skenotheke.html) and the scholarly journal "Didaskalia" (http://www.warwick.ac.uk/didaskalia/didaskalia.html). Recent work at the University of Richmond to produce a hypertextual multimedia version of Plautus' Aulularia (URL http://www.urich.edu/~classics/about.htm) likewise serves as a model of the kind of materials we intend to make use of in this collaboration.
Besides the materials specifically designed to facilitate the study of Roman comedy, workshop participants will begin to develop modules which will be generally useful for both language and civilization courses on various topics related to the collaborative projects they are planning. Participating faculty will bring to the workshop their own materials (e.g., articles, course plans, syllabi, handouts, notes, commentaries, quizzes, slides, and video and audio recordings), which will serve as the basis for collaborative reworking and translation into electronic media. We envision that the skills which participants gain in electronic text development will enable them to produce electronic versions of other commonly-taught texts (e.g., those read for the AP Latin exams, such Vergil and Horace). Thus, we will spend part of each workshop discussing which authors and works to put on VRoma, taking into account the availability of texts from emerging internet sites such as The Vergil Project, which we will link to our server so they can be used in VRoma. In fact, VRoma, which will function as a pedagogical interface for existing materials as well as creating its own materials, will become more and more useful as more high-quality texts and commentaries become available over the internet. All materials linked to VRoma will be indexed and searchable, in order that they may serve a research as well a curricular function.
Among these materials will be the virtual Roman forum and other Roman sites and spaces, which workshop participants will begin to plan and construct, and which will be readily extensible by any VRoma instructor, as well as by students within the parameters described earlier. Once these materials are in place, they will be used in a variety of collaborative courses offered in the following academic year. Students in Roman civilization courses can participate in lecture tours of the Virtual Roman spaces and be assigned to contribute to the space. Like the Latin sessions, such projects can be collaborative, so that students from two or more institutions (whether on the same or different educational level) can work together.
4. PROJECT STAFF AND PARTICIPANTS
As Project Director and Technical Coordinator for the project, Suzanne Bonefas will assume primary responsibility for the administration of the project as well as for the configuration and maintenance of the VRoma server. She is currently co-director and principal developer of the MiamiMOO Project, a real-time, text-based virtual environment which will serve as the basis of the VRoma server, and has developed numerous MOO and web based materials for use in her classes. She is also co-editor of Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World, a site which has served as a model for the use of the World Wide Web for both scholarly and pedagogical materials. As Visiting Assistant Professor at Austin College from 1991-1994, she became interested in the integration of technology in the classroom as well as more closely coordinating college-level with secondary-level Latin instruction and learned MOO programming as a means of fostering such interaction. Together with Michael Arnush, she pioneered a fully interactive course collaboration which is attracting national attention. At Miami, she has worked extensively to introduce faculty to the use of technology, as well as developing and coordinating innovative collaborative approaches to teaching.
Michael Arnush will serve as a co-director of the two summer workshops. In the last five years Skidmore's Classics Program, which he directs, has been a leader in the application of digital technology to Skidmore's curriculum. Classical language, literature and civilization courses now incorporate expository writing exercises both posted and critiqued on-line; networked software programs; Perseus and other databases; MOO, listserv and newsgroup communications for courses in classical languages, literatures and civilization; and Netscape-based interactive syllabi. He has conducted numerous workshops on technology-enhanced teaching and learning for a variety of academic and administrative programs both at Skidmore and elsewhere, has delivered papers on this topic at Classics conferences, and he currently heads a national and a regional committee dedicated to this purpose.
The other co-director, Kenneth Morrell, was one of the original members of the team that developed Perseus; while completing his graduate studies at Harvard, he administered the early phase of the project and participated in building the earliest prototypes of the system for testing in courses. Through subsequent publications and presentations, he has helped prospective users in a variety of educational settings assemble the necessary resources, develop strategies for redesigning their courses, and integrate Perseus into their curricula. He is currently a member of the Technology Group for the Associated Colleges of the South and helped draft their successful proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation described earlier. He will serve as the director of one of the three pilot projects supported by the grant, including coordinating the two workshops to be held at Rhodes.
Barbara McManus will direct outcomes assessment for the project. Currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Philological Association, she has long been a spokesperson for small Classics programs in the profession. She served as the first chair of the APA Committee on Smaller Classics Departments, spearheaded the establishment of the APA Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics, compiled a national directory of small Classics programs for the APA Committee on Education, and provided the impetus for the recent founding of CTTS and CLSTECH. Her interest in outcomes assessment, sparked by her service on regional and national grants panels, led to work as Coordinator of Assessment at her own college and as assessment consultant for two other colleges, where she successfully conducted workshops on writing outcome goals and designing assessment plans. She brings to this project a commitment to the discipline of Classics, expertise in the content itself, and extensive experience in evaluation.
As the only Classicist at Cornell College in Iowa, John Gruber-Miller has made extensive use of technology and the Internet to provide his students with other perspectives. He recently organized a national system of Latin e-mail "pen pals" in order to provide his students with a larger learning community. He is also the author of Scriba, an interactive program that asks students to practice Latin grammar within the context of complete sentences and paragraphs, and his knowledge and experience gained from designing and developing software for language learning will prove invaluable for our project. He and his Iowa colleague, Jim Ruebel, are planning a collaborative course involving students at their own institutions as well as local secondary school students.
Cindy Pope has been a satellite television middle and high school Latin instructor in conjunction with the TI-IN Network since 1988. Although interactive television is the primary instructional mode of the network, she also utilizes electronic mail and a web site to augment communication with over 700 long-distance Latin learners in 130 schools across the U.S. She is an active promoter of the use instructional technology in the Latin classroom, and has given numerous presentations and workshops to local and national organizations on such topics as "Multimedia in Distance Learning" and "Computers in the Classroom." She currently serves as co-chair of the Technology Task Force of the American Classical League.
Throughout his career at Iowa State University, James Ruebel has been known for his innovative and successful teaching of Classics, and in 1994 he was awarded the profession's highest pedagogical honor, the APA's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics. Of particular importance to this project is his extensive experience with computer technology. He and his colleagues have been among the first to focus their energies on effectively using the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), by which all regions of the State will be linked by fiber-optic cable. He created the Web site for the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures and Classical Studies Program and is now working on an interactive, on-line placement interview for students beginning their study of foreign languages at Iowa State.
Since joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1991, Ross Scaife has been very active not only as a teacher and scholar, but also as a leader in the use of technology in the discipline of Classics. He is most widely known for developing the web site Diotima along with Suzanne Bonefas. In addition to his expertise in building internet sites and publishing on the Web, Professor Scaife has worked extensively with high school programs in Kentucky, serving, for example, as the editor of the Bulletin of the Kentucky Classical Association and as a consultant for the Distance Learning Program of Kentucky Education Television, which offers first and second year Latin instruction to over 600 students in fifteen states.
Randall Stewart worked at the University of Michigan as a research fellow for the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri before moving to the University of Utah as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of the Coptic Encyclopedia and later joining the Classics faculty. He has established himself as one of the leading developers of computer applications for the study of ancient Greece. HyperMyth, which he recently sold to Longman, is now used as a computer-based text for mythology courses at a half dozen colleges and universities and can be found as a resource on Greek mythology in almost a hundred high schools. He is currently at work on a multimedia edition of the Odyssey and a hypertextual handbook on ancient sports.
Joseph Farrell has taught Classics at the University of Pennsylvania since 1984. He has combined his interests in Vergil, Latin teaching and instructional technology in numerous creative initiatives, including a highly successful Vergil course opened to Internet participation (Fall 1995), and the ongoing Vergil Project (founded in 1995), "a collaborative enterprise dedicated to collecting, creating, and disseminating resources for teaching and research about Vergil." His experience with Internet teaching and providing resources as well as his expertise in the preparation of text for Internet publication will prove invaluable to the VRoma Project.
Robert Latousek has been working with computers and Latin teachers for his entire career. During his graduate studies in Educational Technology at the University of Wisconsin, he worked under a grant from IBM and the College of Letters and Science to develop software to support the elementary Latin curriculum in their Classics Department. Since then, he has been designing and publishing educational programs for Centaur Systems, Ltd., which specializes in software for the Classics. He currently chairs the American Classical League's Committee on Educational Computer Applications and writes a semiannual column on computer-based resources for their journal, Classical Outlook. He continues to present workshops around the country on the evaluation of educational software in the field and recently published the sixth biennial update of the ACL Software Directory for the Classics.
M. Delia Neuman will serve as external evaluator for the project. Her interest in instructional development and evaluation began when she worked as a program associate for the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at Ohio State. She quickly developed an outstanding reputation as a consultant on instructional uses of computer technology. After joining the faculty at the College of Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland, College Park, she has established herself as one of the leading practitioners of naturalistic inquiry in the evaluation of instructional systems and computer-based education. Having widely published on strategies and approaches to assess the use of instructional technology, she comes to this project after serving as a member of the evaluation team for the Perseus Project, a initiative principally funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project to develop an extensive textual and visual database for the study of ancient Greek civilization.
In a recent article in Change magazine ["From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education," November/December 1995: 13-25], Robert B. Barr and John Tagg argue that American higher education is gradually moving from an "Instruction Paradigm" to a "Learning Paradigm." They maintain that successfully negotiating this shift is crucial for the future of education and conclude, "In the Learning Paradigm, the key structure that provides the leverage to change the rest is a system for requiring the specification of learning outcomes and their assessment through processes external to instruction" (25). Since this project is founded on the proposition that new modes of collaboration made possible through recent developments in information technology will not only facilitate the teaching but especially improve the learning of classical languages and culture, we have made systematic outcomes assessment an integral part of the structure of the project. Instead of relying solely on one or two external experts who evaluate an overview of the project, we have chosen to include a Director of Outcomes Assessment, Barbara McManus, in every stage of the grant activities. By initiating assessment at the very beginning of the project, we will be able to use it in a formative way, capitalizing upon the malleability of on-line materials to incorporate refinements and changes on an ongoing basis. We will also review the assessment process itself, since we expect that this project will make an important contribution to the search for effective methods to evaluate educational uses of information technology. Indeed, by the end of this project, we expect to produce transferable models not only for technology-enhanced collaborative courses, but also for outcomes assessment of technology-enhanced learning.
The mode of assessment that we propose to employ is what Donald Schön describes as "a kind of action research that enhances common sense, a form of inquiry that builds on and feeds back to modify what we already know-in-practice. Studies of this kind would proceed . . . through observations of students at work with the program, interviews with them about their experiences, and reflection on the data generated through such observation and interviewing" ["Knowing in Action: The New Scholarship Requires a New Epistemology," Change (November/December 1995): 34]. The technological center of our project, VRoma, makes detailed "observations" of those who use it (including faculty as well as students) not only feasible, but also nonintrusive and unintimidating, since it is possible to log exact textual transcripts of all actions and interactions that take place within its virtual space. This type of action research will be combined with more standard forms of data collection, such as pre- and post-testing, and all forms of assessment will be goal-driven, based upon outcome goals set for collaborative courses and on-line materials.
The Director of Outcomes Assessment will play an active role in the summer workshops. She will introduce the participants to the philosophy and methods of outcomes assessment with particular emphasis on its role in this project. During the course of the workshop, she will meet individually with the various partnerships to develop measurable outcomes goals for their collaborative projects and thence to design instruments and procedures to assess goal fulfillment. Thus we will ensure that specific learning goals are built into the construction of the collaborations and on-line materials from the ground up and that the assessment instruments are tailored to measure the individual goals of the various projects. Through the subsequent year, she will keep in touch with the various partnerships via the listserv CLSTECH, e-mail, and VRoma as they implement their course collaborations, and they will send her results of the instruments as they are administered, so she can give them feedback as the course is progressing. At the conclusion of each course collaboration, the Director of Outcomes Assessment will collect the results of all the assessment instruments that have been administered and analyze them on an individual (for that particular course) and aggregate basis (for all the collaborative courses offered thus far). She will present the results of the analysis and feedback to each partnership privately and specifically. All the directors of this project will together reflect on the data generated by these instruments in order to recommend changes for the second workshop and second-year collaborations, and all aggregate results will be posted in VRoma. At the conclusion of the two-year project, the Director of Outcomes Assessment will publish an assessment overview in VRoma and in other appropriate fora (e.g. in journals such as Classical Journal, Classical Outlook, and Classical World, plus presentations at various regional and national classics conferences). This overview will include data analysis, reflection on the learning outcomes of the project, and models of the assessment instruments and methods that proved most successful in evaluating computer-assisted learning.
Although these instruments and methods will vary depending on the nature and goals of the various course collaborations (to be worked out in detail with core faculty during the workshops), the following scenario provides a concrete example how one of the goals of our pilot course in Roman Comedy will be assessed; this scenario can also be adapted for any other collaborative course that involves developing skill in reading and translating Latin literature. One goal of the Roman Comedy course will read something like this: "Students will demonstrate the ability to express in English a passage from Plautus or Terence that they have not previously seen with an initial rate of at least 85% accuracy." One of the means to achieve this end would involve collaborative student reading/translation sessions in VRoma. For this activity we will set up a building (a scriptorium or some such) with numerous little rooms for pairs of students to work on reading comprehension and translation together. The instructors would set up blackboards (or whiteboards, depending on available technology) with the target texts, notes and commentary. Students would be assigned passages in teams, and they would be required to log their sessions and turn in to their instructors not only the completed questions, paraphrases, or translation but also the log of their session (in effect, a transcript of the process they used to read the passage). This way the instructors could see what each student contributed to the finished product, could understand what triggered miscomprehension, and could help the students to refine and improve the process they use to read/translate Latin (something like the way math teachers require that students show the steps used to solve a problem). A plan for outcomes assessment of collaborative courses using this type of reading/translation assignment would involve three steps: (1) a pre- and post-test using sight passages from Plautus or Terence of similar length and difficulty. A comparison of the performance on these two tests would provide evidence of change in behavioral outcomes (i.e. level of skill in reading/translating Roman comic texts); (2) questionnaires administered to students and instructors designed to elicit their perception of changes in skill, comparison with previous translation courses (students) and with previous performance of students on courses using more traditional techniques (instructors), problems and difficulties encountered, sense of satisfaction, etc.; (3) observation of actual student behavior (in this case by reviewing the textual record--the session logs--of the process these students used to work through passages). The instructors would report on their perception of this process for the class as a whole in their questionnaires, but the Director of Outcomes Assessment would also review logs from early and late sessions for selected students who received high, middle, and low grades in the course to seek evidence of process changes as well as patterns of interaction among students. These same assessment procedures would be applied in all collaborative courses with the same type of goal that used VRoma for collaborative student reading sessions; hence in the final report the Director of Outcomes Assessment would be able to compare the results of the three types of assessment across several courses.
The Director of Outcomes Assessment will use this type of assessment/action research in a formative way throughout the course of the project and in a summative way at the conclusion of the two year period. However, the project will also employ one external evaluator, Delia Neuman. At the end of each year of the project, she will review and evaluate the data and reports compiled by the Director of Outcomes Assessment and also the structure of VRoma and the on-line materials produced by faculty participants. The conclusions she reaches in her first report will be formative and help to refine the second workshop, the on-line materials, and the subsequent course collaborations; the conclusions in her second report will be summative. Both the Director of Outcomes Assessment and the external evaluator will employ the following criteria to evaluate the success of the project:
1) demonstration of significant learning outcomes in classics (e.g. students demonstrated ability to read, translate and discuss Latin literature with accuracy and comprehension; students demonstrated ability to draw upon various types of primary evidence from Roman culture--literary and documentary texts, visual arts, archaeological remains, etc.--to describe and explain a particular phenomenon such as the nature of Roman comedy).
2) demonstration of student interest and enthusiasm for studying classics (through the "virtual reality" created by technology, students gained a sense of immediacy and intimate contact with the classical world and developed the kind of personal investment in their studies that all of today's students seem to require and frequently have difficulty finding in classics).
3) demonstration that an effective community has grown up around VRoma (e.g., regular and ongoing use of VRoma by students and faculty both within and outside of the project; evidence of student collaboration in and out of course settings; evidence of faculty collaboration in and out of course settings; models of effective collaborations for various types of institutional settings were developed).
4) demonstration of skill in using technology for learning and teaching (e.g., students demonstrated familiarity with and facility in using various aspects of advanced technology; faculty demonstrated the requisite skills to fully integrate technology into their teaching, to train their students to use technology in discipline-specific ways, and to help their colleagues do the same).
5) demonstration that effective courses can be offered collaboratively at two or more institutions (e.g., collaborative courses designed in the workshops were subsequently offered with reasonable success in fulfilling their learning outcome goals; models of what works--and what doesn't work--in technology-enhanced course collaborations were developed); models of effective collaborations for various types of institutional settings were developed.
6. FOLLOW-UP AND DISSEMINATION
Two of the strongest features of this project are its wide applicability for the teaching of classical languages and cultures in many different types of institutions and its potential for continued growth. Although the project content will focus on Latin language and culture during the grant period, the collaborative models it creates will be easily adaptable for the teaching of Greek language and civilization and for the exploring of links between both these civilizations and other ancient Mediterranean cultures. VRoma itself can accommodate these other cultures without even changing the spatial metaphor, since the Roman empire itself encompassed so many different cultures. "Provinces" can be added to the site, including various Greek, Asian, African and European civilizations, and locales can be constructed that are appropriate for pedagogical and research interactions and for storage of on-line linguistic and cultural materials relating to these civilizations. This feature of VRoma will make it particularly attractive to classicists, scholars of other ancient civilizations, and others who wish to explore the methods and potential of multicultural approaches to the study of antiquity. All the materials will be platform independent: files can be accessed and downloaded with either a PC or a Mac; anyone with an internet provider and a Telnet connection can visit, explore and communicate on the MOO; anyone with a web browser can access the web site; those with high-end workstations can also take full advantage of the multimedia elements. Thanks to the flexibility and extensibility of the MOO and the Web, VRoma can easily incorporate new technological developments as they occur.
At the end of the grant period we anticipate that VRoma will have a pedagogical life of its own. Faculty in the discipline from different academic levels and geographic areas will have contributed to and utilized VRoma in a variety of ways and its very nature will reflect a broad conception of methodological approaches to the teaching of classical antiquity. After the conclusion of the two workshops, approximately 30 classicists from undergraduate and secondary school programs will be expert VRomans, since they will have helped to construct it, taught with and on it, and developed on-line materials to be stored and used there. They will continue to use its resources in their teaching (and thereby extend those resources), and their success and enthusiasm will help to promote further use of the site by others. They can also serve as advisors and even mentors to other faculty wishing to draw upon the riches of VRoma in their courses and particularly for those who wish to collaborate on course offerings. The collaborative models developed and tested during the grant period can be adopted by other classics faculty and adapted to their own specific needs; the various assessment reports produced by the grant will also be available on VRoma for reading and downloading. The many on-line materials developed by core faculty for use on VRoma and in their courses will serve a multitude of functions; because of their easy accessibility, adaptability and modular nature, they can be used in a variety of courses at different levels and will serve as templates for developing similar materials on other topics (which can then be stored in VRoma as well). The directors of the project will actively promote and publicize VRoma during the course of the grant; their particular forum will be the electronic discussion list CLSTECH, but they will frequently post updates on other appropriate lists (Classics and Classics-M, Latin-L, etc.). The entire classics community will be kept informed of the project's activities and conclusions through more traditional means as well--the ACL, APA, and various regional associations; panels and presentations at regional and national conferences; articles in relevant classical journals. As a University Associate in the Faculty Resource Network of New York University, an organization that includes 13 historically black colleges, Barbara McManus will write about the project and its multicultural potential in the Network newsletter and will explore with Leslie Berlowitz, Director of the Network, the possibility of incorporating VRoma into the activities of one of the Network's summer seminars or workshops.
Initial response to this project among classicists in undergraduate and secondary school programs has been very enthusiastic. As the decade draws to a close digital technology is likely to play a substantive role in all areas - imagined and unimagined - of education; we expect that VRoma, under the leadership of the Senate, will serve as a continually evolving and dynamic center for the interactive study of the classical world. Once VRoma is begun and we have widely publicized concrete evidence of its great value in teaching and learning classical languages and cultures, we have no doubt that faculty will begin dating their courses ab urbe condita ("from the foundation of the city").
1 E.g., Perseus 2.0 CD ROM and the Perseus web site (http://www.perseus.tufts.com) [the developers of Perseus have just begun plans for a Roman version in both formats]; Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (CD-ROM) a comprehensive compendium of Greek literature; the Packard Humanities Institute CD-ROM of Greek inscriptions [the largest collection of Latin inscriptions, the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, has not yet been encoded]; the on-line version of Liddell-Scott-Jones' Greek Dictionary (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/lexica.html).
2 See http://holychao.cas.muohio.edu/~solon/ for the syllabus and on-line materials for this course.
3 ftp://parcftp.xerox.com/pub/MOO/. A MOO server with a database size and user base that we are planning for VRoma will run on a mid-sized UNIX server, and can be accessed via Telnet or any number of freely distributed specialized clients, as well as with a World Wide Web browser.
4 For the original MiamiMOO project prospectus, see http://moo.muohio.edu/moodesc.html
5 See, e.g., Epidauros on MiamiMOO at http://moo.cas.muohio.edu/cgi-bin/moo?look+2787
6 Cf. AstroVR, http://astrovr.ipac.caltech.edu:8888/, for an example of a discipline-oriented interactive MOO-based server.
BackLegacy Document: proposal submitted 1996