Executive Summary

The project, run through the second year core module The Hellenistic World, asks students to think about how we perceive the ancient world and communicate it to others, and requires them to produce (via group work) a short video exploring a particular object / text / event / historical person. In particular the project seeks to explore the differing ways the ancient world can be understood, and requires them to conduct their own research. In the autumn term students will have a series of seminars (run by myself) exploring the theoretical models we can use to arrive at different understandings of the ancient world (e.g. via object biography, hybridity, etc), encouraging them to think about their subject in an interdisciplinary way. The term will end with an excursion to Oxford, where students will compare the differing presentation of ancient artefacts in the Ashmolean museum (a traditional display that follows chronological development) and the Pitt Rivers museum, in which ancient objects are displayed in a non-traditional manner as anthropological objects (i.e. via groups like ‘votive objects’). This will form an opportunity for students to think about how context and discipline affects our understanding of the ancient world, and they will be asked to reflect on how the display at the Pitt Rivers changes their understanding of the objects concerned.

At the beginning of the Spring Term the students will receive a training session in Digital Storytelling run by Netskills, which will form a basis for them to decide on their own story. At the same time, the consultants will offer digital storytelling training to interested staff and postgrads, who can then run similar projects in other modules and in future years.

Students will then be asked to develop their own storyboards and present them to their peers in a seminar setting. (Students will also be encouraged to find examples of good digital storytelling to bring along to these seminars to explore what forms best practice in this area). Seminars supported by the Digital Humanities Team (David Beck) will teach students how to use the software Wevideo, which the students will use to create their videos. This is an easy-to-use software, accessible online, meaning that students will be able to work on the project from any computer. There will be a final presentation of videos at the end of the Spring Term, with the possibility of using Warwick’s big screen in the piazza for the event. The videos will also be loaded up to the department’s Youtube channel. As part of the project students will also be asked to keep an individual portfolio that contain their ideas, research, storyboards and any other relevant material.

The project thus aims to encourage students to think about the ancient world in an interdisciplinary way, and the ways in which the ancient world can be understood and communicated to the broader public. It also incorporates a non-written piece of work into their degrees, provides the opportunity for students to work in groups. It will also increase their digital literacy. The project will run in the core second year module in Classics, and so will reach about 50 undergraduate students, as well as the postgraduates and staff who also undergo the training (estimated at about 10-15 people).

The project aims to explore the viability of this type of work as a form of assessment for students (students will be asked to comment on their experience, and how they feel it could be assessed, whether they would like it to form part of their assessment, to what extent their portfolios could also be used in assessing the project, etc), and will form a basis for the use of digital storytelling in other modules, both within and beyond Classics. After the project is completed the viability of Digital Storytelling as a mode of assessment will be discussed at a Departmental meeting, in which the quality of the final projects and the student perspectives will be taken into account. The project will run with the support of the Digital Humanities Team, who have already confirmed their commitment. Students will be able to use their own hardware (computers, ipads, etc) for the project, but the training sessions will utilise the university’s computer labs, and students may also wish to use the hardware available from IATL (e.g. cameras, microphones).