Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0071.  Saturday, 4 February 1995.
From:           Leslie Harris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, Feb 03 22:59:34 EST 1995
Subject:        Multimedia Shakespeare Project
Hi, Folks.
I mentioned last semester a "Shakespeare Multimedia Project" that I did in my
Shakespeare class.  I said I would talk about how the project went if people
were interested, and someone has requested the information, so here goes!  ;-)
In general, I would say that the project was a success.  The students had lots
of fun with it (after they figured out how to use the software), the projects
turned out pretty well, and--heck--I actually got them to check books out from
the library!  :-)
For those who didn't hear about the project the first time I posted about it,
here's what it involved.  I broke the students up into groups, with each group
responsible for annotating a passage from one of the Shakespeare plays we read
during the semester (a different play for each group).  The software they used
was Multimedia ToolBook 3.0, by Asymetrix.  Their task was to create a
hypertext document, linking words in the passage to explanatory notes,
background information, scanned pictures, sound clips, video clips--whatever
they deemed appropriate to help explain the meaning of the passage.  In
hypertext documents, when you click on a "hotword," the program takes you to
the linked page, and you read the note, see the picture, or whatever.  Then you
can click on a button to return to the passage.  I wanted them to learn to read
their passage closely, explore contextual information relevant to the passage,
and be creative in the process, producing a document that others could use,
benefit from, and enjoy.  In all those aspects, I think the project succeeded.
The problems: some students were a bit frightened by the freedom the project
gave them (here's what you need to do, here are help sheets to teach you how to
use the software, here's when it's due--with subsidiary deadlines--o.k., get
going).  That's basically how I assigned the project, although we continued to
meet while it was going on, so I could make announcements, give further
directions, troubleshoot the projects, and so on.  This might not be true of
all students, but the very traditional students here wanted a bit more
hand-holding than I gave them.  I think the project would work even better for
students who like being independent learners.
Another problem: video clips are *huge* files.  Students could basically
include only a few lines of dialogue for a clip, before the size got pretty
unmanageable.  Such clips are definitely too large to be saved on a disk, and
that involved using shared network drives on which to save the files.  Making
back-up copies was difficult, especially because we couldn't use floppy disks
(or hard drives, for that matter, since the computers were in a public lab).
Despite the problems, though, I was very pleased with the end results, and I
was pleased with the work the students put into thier projects.  They *did*
check out books from the library (lots of them, in fact), they learned lots of
interesting things about the period, many of the students enjoyed the project
and found the multimedia software totally cool, and they were highly motivated
to do the work.
I saved the projects (on a shared network drive, of course), and if anyone
knows how to change MultiMedia ToolBook files into HTML (and can offer space on
a WWW server), I'd be willing to put the better ones on the Web (if anyone were
Let me know if you want any more information about the project.
Leslie Harris
Department of English
Susquehanna University
Selinsgrove PA  17870
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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