Teaching with the Perseids Platform: Tools and Methods

Marie-Claire Beaulieu (Tufts University)

Digital Classicist London & Institute of Classical Studies seminar 2013

Friday July 26th at 16:30, in Room G37, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Video recording of seminar (MP4)

Audio recording of seminar (MP3)

Presentation (PDF)

By enabling the collaborative edition, translation, and annotation of Greek and Latin source documents by teams of students and scholars, the Perseids platform offers a new pedagogical model for Classics in which students participate directly in the creation of knowledge. This presentation will discuss two use cases of the Perseids platform and their implementation in class at Tufts University. The first use case, in which a class collaborates to edit and publish ancient documents online, offers students an occasion to step out of the traditional reading list of Classical authors by processing non-canonical materials such as manuscripts and inscriptions. To do so, they must use their language skills in a flexible manner that emphasizes fluency and problem-solving (e.g. to resolve abbreviations or reconstruct lacunae). Students must also use their analytical skills to write commentaries and annotations on the documents they edit. The second use case, dynamic syllabi using managed resources, lets professors assign texts for students to read and annotate, design tests, and gather data for student evaluation. In language classes, dynamic syllabi can be used to assign a selection of passages and compile a vocabulary list for these passages. As the students work through the assigned passages, they learn the vocabulary included on the lists and keep track of their progress in their electronic portfolios. They also annotate assigned sentences that include the target vocabulary and a set of pre-defined grammatical constructions through the Treebanking module. The data thus collected lets the professor design tests and quizzes targeted to the passages read by the students and the grammatical constructions they have learned. In large lecture-hall classes such as mythology courses, dynamic syllabi can include primary source material (in translation or in original languages) for each subject discussed during the semester. As they read through the assigned texts, students track their progress in their ePortfolios and can be tested at appropriate moments. In addition, the professor can assign supplementary optional materials and ask the students to annotate the text or write a short essay as proof of their work. These comments, annotations, and essays can later be used to spark further discussion about the materials in class and, if approved by the professor, are made available online as aids to the reader.


The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.