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1998 Culpeper Proposals
Other Years:  1999 , 1997

French | Theater | Dance | English | Religion | German


Derek Schilling, French

Developments in language pedagogy over the past twenty years have marked a shift away from audio-lingual and grammar-based methods of study, which take individual sentences as examples of a language's particular structure, to a communicative approach based on the production of language in cultural and communicative context. The move toward an interactive, task-based curriculum has increased the importance of realia in giving objective content to performed tasks. Realia include not only everyday objects specific to the culture of the target language, but also information sources such as maps, flyers, menus, recorded broadcasts, or video clips. Classroom use of culturally ìauthenticî material enables students to perceive language as a communicative tool that has real effects and that fosters participation in a community of speakers.

Given the practical and legal difficulty of obtaining and distributing a sufficient number of copies of any given document (a map, a menu, a movie schedule, a newspaper), Internet resources have emerged as an ideal format for language instruction. Not only do on-line resources reduce preparation time for the instructor and obviate the need to build up an archive of authentic materials, but they also stress student initiative as a part of the learning process.

In fall 1998, Reed students enrolled in first-year French will use Muyskens and Omaggio Hadley's Rendez-vous, a textbook whose stated goals can be aligned with the type of information-gathering activity that Internet web sites encourage. The summer research proposed here aims to develop a repertoire of basic interactive, on-line assignments that reinforce the French 110 curriculum and that will serve as a test for future experiments with on-line pedagogy.

1. Three general pedagogical objectives for the current proposal goals can be identified:

a. to ensure maximal student contact with authentic cultural contents outside the classroom:
  • using city maps or interactive versions of transportation systems
  • consulting schedules or programs for artistic events
  • learning about cultural institutions
  • identifying current events and trends in France and in the Francophone world

b. to use concrete tasks to offset difficulties in language learning encountered by visual and experiential (hands-on) learners

c. to encourage students independently to browse Internet resources of particular interest to them as a means to expand vocabulary and foster interest in the target culture

2. The following specific goals to be carried out during the summer of 1998 relate to the curriculum for French 110. They would have practical applications for any modern foreign language class taught at the first- or second-year level:

  • to identify those communicative tasks that can be best served by interactive media and those which are best covered by traditional, person-to-person pedagogy
  • to develop, in parallel with the task-oriented curriculum proposed in Rendez-vous, a series of on-line assignments designed to reinforce vocabulary, reading skills, and information-gathering techniques
  • to integrate assignments into a week-to-week on-line syllabus from which students can access all pertinent sites
  • to examine the technical viability of using Internet radio broadcasts for classroom use
  • to evaluate for possible student use two recent CD-ROM pronunciation tutorials
  • 3. Some potential practical drawbacks of on-line pedagogy, and well as some possible solutions, can be identified:

  • lag time for trans-Atlantic downloads during in-class demonstrations and for students working independently outside of class
    • encourage the consultation of sites where download times have proven efficient
  • availability of workstations in the Reed IRC's for on-line assignments (priority should be given to students writing papers, lab reports, theses)
    • require pair or group work; designate certain hours or units for use in preparing on-line assignments
  • volatility of links and rapidity in changes of site format
    • design assignments that stress the type of information to be obtained rather than the exact operations required at present to access the information
  • 4. The project will require the creation of a French Department home page, subject to expansion and individual faculty input as new courses and new practical applications are developed.

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    Craig Clinton, Theatre

    I wish to apply for summer funding through the Culpeper Foundation to explore information resources on the Internet/web so as to develop course syllabi that have a substantial web-based component.

    Of the classes that I teach, the two I think would benefit most directly from the research to be undertaken would be theatre history courses: "Plays and Playhouses" (which deals with theatre history from Classical Greece through the late nineteenth century) and "American Theatre History" (which is devoted to American Theatre from the late nineteenth century to the present).

    I would also like to investigate possible resources that might have application to Playwriting, although I suspect that most of the web-based resources would be "informational" in nature, having to do with competitions or electronic networking aimed at the distribution of new scripts. Neither of these is without utility, but likely of more benefit to the advanced playwright.

    In connection with "Plays and Playhouses," I have made preliminary web investigations and am aware of two sites potentially quite useful. One pertains (by no means exclusively) to the architecture of the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London, modeled on what is known of the original dating from Shakespeare's time and including filmed images that I am presently unable to access because more sophisticated equipment is necessary. The other focuses, through a variety of slides, on the 17th century scenic and costume work of Inigo Jones, whose designs for the Carolinian Court Masques shaped the idea of a proscenium-framed stage housing perspective scenery which was to dominate European theatre for over two hundred years. Both of these sites provide engrossing visuals pertaining to their topics. In teaching the history of theatre, architecture is a vital component. Nothing is more useful than providing a visual point of reference for such study; this is equally the case when teaching elements of scenic design or costuming in an historical context. From very preliminary exploration, it would appear that rich resources are available on the Internet.

    I am also interested in pursuing a similar program of research in connection with American Theatre History. Major American playwrights are a central focus of this course, and I would anticipate a considerable number of useful web resources.

    Although the idea of creating web-based course syllabi is new to me, the prospect is quite an exciting one. Developing a page with links to suitable resources as a starting point for students would certainly guarantee ease of web usage and I think promote further, independent, student discovery. As the American Theatre History course has not been taught for several years, it is this course that I would like to initially focus on, as a portion of my upcoming leave will be spent redesigning this offering. Incorporating available software and web resources could certainly be a major component of this restructuring.

    In addition, certain web sites are mainly signposts advertising CD-roms; definitely an exploration of software would be another component of my research (and a potential additional expense). Student assistance with regard to the technical implementation of the results of my research would be essential, as would the on-going assistance of Jo Meyerston, the instructional technology assistant.

    Next fall I will be happy to share the results of my investigations with my colleagues by making a presentation in a faculty workshop.

    If there are questions regarding this request, I would be happy to respond.

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    Patricia Wong, Dance

    Life Forms software was developed by a faculty member at Simon Fraser University for use in choreography, 3D animation, multimedia, film, and several other areas. Merce Cunningham has used it as a choreography tool for several years. I am applying for this grant to spend time this summer learning to use this software specifically for choreography.

    Because it allows the choreographer to work with 3D human-like images, it is an excellent tool for choreographers who want to see their work before asking dancers to learn it. The choreographer can manipulate body parts, place bodies on a simulated stage or performance space, and manipulate the time that any given movement will take. In other words, the choreographer controls what the images do, where they do it, and how long it takes. In addition to being a tool for creating original movement, this software allows the choreographer to "import" sequences of movement from other sources, or from the choreographer's own archive as well as combining images of live dancers with computer generated animated figures. It has exciting possibilities both as a tool for choreography that will eventually be set on live bodies and as a form for generating computer dance.

    If I receive this grant I will develop a course in computer choreography and hope to teach it second semester next year. The department offers a course called Special Projects in Choreography, and this project would be perfect for it. Students would first learn to use the software, then devise dances electronically, and finally set these dances on live dancers. We could also explore the possibility of combining computer images and images of live dancers on the screen. Patrick Ryall has informed me that projection equipment exists that could be used in a concert situation. The possibilities are numerous and exciting.

    In the fall I will present a demonstration for the community using computer images and live dancers. This would be of most interest to dance students, but the community at large would certainly be invited. Last fall Culpeper grant recipients presented half hour demonstrations of their work. I would be happy to be part of such an event.

    In addition to the mentor stipend, I will need some funding to purchase software and to take a workshop or on-line course aimed specifically at choreographers. There is also a possibility of working with someone who is currently using the software for this purpose. If I cannot take a course on-line I will need travel funds. At this point it is not clear if this will be the case. I have hopes of working with someone at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C.

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    Nathalia King, English

    I would like to develop 1-3 web pages with multimedia enhancements, especially video and audio, to serve as supporting materials for English 395, Studies in Rhetoric: The Arts of Persuasion in Nineteenth -Century America. This course opens with a reading of rhetorical theory (Blair, Campbell, Whately, Scottish Enlightenment meets the classical tradition) as it was taught in the Eastern establishment. It continues with an examination of a series of genres (sermon, essay, political treatise, occasional and political speeches, novel) in which 19th century Americans consistently exercised their rights to free speech and to persuasion. We read the likes of Timothy Dwight, Edwards, Emerson, Fuller, Child, Lincoln-Douglass, Anthony, etc. One aim of the research would be to find historical dramatizations of these texts in order to give students a more vivid sense of live oratory and its popular appeal in the 19th C. But other aims include applications of text analysis and hot links to valuable contextual and historical information about theological debates, the Transcendentalists, abolition, women's suffrage, the Civil War, and so forth.

    I would expect to devote approximately 6 weeks during the summer to research this material and would require support for student assistance. I know of an excellent student, Kimberly Oldenburg, whom I would trust to make evaluative and qualititative judgments concerning material she finds on the web. She worked for Laura Arnold last summer. Jo Meyertons informs me that, in addition, I might use Nik Anderson's services for the implementation of the pages themselves. Having this kind of student support means that I could concentrate on the conceptual and theoretical aspects of the project while delegating the web-page construction and related technical chores to others.

    I will attempt to pull together as many social, historial, and cultural phenomena as possible--the work with video and audio performances of speeches or oratorical occasions may be somewhat novel from this perspective. I will present the finished web page(s) in a condensed and accessible form to my colleagues next fall, ideally in a group workshop similar to the one presented by the Culpeper mentors last October.

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    Steven Wasserstrom, Religion

    My intention, first of all, is to offer two courses. One, the Religion Junior Seminar, is presently scheduled to be offered in Spring 1999. The other, an MALS half-course of some of the same content, though on a far less detailed scale, is being considered by the MALS committee for summer 1998 or summer 2000. This grant will also help in my ongoing advising of senior theses. Indeed, to the extent that electronic resources are available for all of my courses, this support should have a direct benefit, I think, on my future offerings, beyond what I can immediately use in these two courses.

    For both these courses, I intend to create webpages; require a web-based major research project (that cannot be done without web research); encourage online interactions between the students; and require web-based class presentations.

    In order to do this project I'll need approximately $200 in supplies (CD-ROM's, additional computer memory) and a substantial amount of student assistance. I propose to utilize a student's help to create webpages and to investigate electronic instructional materials and resources with which I am not familiar.

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    Jan Mieszkowski, German

    I am writing to apply for a summer stipend to become a peer mentor under the guidelines of the Culpeper Project. My proposal has two parts. I am first and foremost interested in constructing an instructional game for German-language teaching along the lines of a scavenger hunt. My plan is to take advantage of the size, diversity, and volatility of the web by giving students short clues and puzzles that can be solved by exploring sites. The preliminary step in designing this game will probably be to develop an introduction to German-language search engines. Since I will be spending part of the summer in Germany, I will be able to familiarize myself with the newest commercial and educational software applications.

    The second part of my project will involve systematizing access to web-based resources that can aid in the study of German literature and philosophy. While the German university community has been quick to make an enormous amount of information available on the Internet, existing link-pages vary widely with respect to site accessibility and content. At this point, students are more advised to use the better organized materials available to them in English translation. Even a little work to coordinate these resources along thematic lines would greatly enhance their usefulness and do a good deal to encourage research in the original language.

    In addition to the $2500 stipend, I would like funding for a student assistant who is experienced in web-page design and could meet with me at least three or four times between May and August.

    I appreciate your consideration of this proposal.

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    Last Modified: February 10th, 2000