More wired than a Roman Internet café
In response to Andrew’s challenge, here is something I have been working on.
This term, for the first time, Franklin Pierce University is running “Ancient and Medieval Worlds” in the 100% online environment. As Franklin Pierce continues to expand their 100% online course offering, this was the one class that made people pause. Would the students “get” the Iliad without some handholding in a physical classroom? Is the subject too dense for the average non-specialist student? The answer is a big resounding “NO!”
One of the reasons that it has been working out so well is the great flexibility of the eCollege format in which we structure our online classes. The system is very “what you see is what you get” allowing students to deal more with the subject matter rather than navigating through the course. Because the system is also very graphics friendly, maps and illustrations can be easily embedded into online lectures to allow students to contextualize the information.
Probably the most important feature is the pedagogy Franklin Pierce uses in the online environment. Meaningful instructor contact and interaction allow me, as instructor to impart my love for the subject and help students with difficult conceptual issues.
I am not sure if language acquisition is something that will be effective in an online environment. I am convinced that, under the right circumstances, history and culture can be meaningfully discussed in this format.