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HOW to lead students to think in an e-environment Tuesday 12 th February 2008. Eleanor OKell [and Cary MacMahon]. Background to GLO Tool and Interface. Observation of pervasive repeating issues for pedagogical practice across History, Classics and Archaeology

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how to lead students to think in an e environment tuesday 12 th february 2008

HOW to lead students to think in an e-environmentTuesday 12th February 2008

Eleanor OKell [and Cary MacMahon]

background to glo tool and interface
Background to GLO Tool and Interface
  • Observation of pervasive repeating issues for pedagogical practice across History, Classics and Archaeology
  • An increase in pressure from HEIs for academics to engage in e-learning activity
  • A scoping survey of shared online/e- resource use
  • The Sharing the LOAD (Learning Activities, Objects & Design) Project

Some classical material can be found by doing a Google search, but many searches produce a confusing plethora of mostly irrelevant hits and lead to sites for which quality assurance is lacking.

APA/AIA Task Force on Electronic Publications,

Final Report

TaskForceFinalReport.pdf (accessed 18/07/07)

‘You cannot say that children are intellectually lazy because they are using the internet when academics are using search engines in the research. The difference is that [academics] have more experience of being critical about what is retrieved and whether it is authoritative. Children need to be told

how to use the internet in a critical and appropriate way.’

Jenny Fry, Oxford Internet Institute, THES 22 June 2007, p2.


‘No body teaches us how to read texts.’

Classics and Modern Language Students NSSS 2005-06

  • ‘It’s all so confusing, and the lecturers won’t tell you the right answer.’

Anon. First Year.


Sample pages

from the

Study Skills RLO 8080/rlo/reflective_ writing/reflective_ writing.html

reusable learning objects
Reusable Learning Objects

A reusable learning object (RLO) is based on a single learning objective, comprising a stand-alone collection of four web-based components:

1. Presentation: presenting the concept, fact, process, principle or procedure to be understood by the learner in order to support the learning objective.

2. Activity: something the learner must do to engage with the content in order to better understand it.

3. Assessment: a way in which the learner can apply their understanding and test their mastery of the content.

  • Links to external resources to reinforce the message and aid understanding.

Dawn Leeder, UCeL

(Universities’ Collaboration in e-Learning)


In order not to risk “…at best limiting and channelling historical thinking and at worst confining it to procedural, binary steps” (Thomas 2004)we must use the potential for enhancing student learning presented by digital resources in a discipline-appropriate manner


89% of classicists believe that their teaching has benefited, or could benefit, from sharing e-resources with colleagues88% of multidisciplinary academics believe that their teaching has benefited, or could benefit, from sharing e-resources with colleagues74% of archaeologists believe that their teaching has benefited, or could benefit, from sharing e-resources with colleagues 69% of historians believe that their teaching has benefited, or could benefit, from sharing e-resources with colleagues

“…it helps to share knowledge and resources,

making other people's jobs easier.

I hope people would do the same for me.”

classics questionnaire respondent

what we really want
what we really want…

“What we don’t have is stuff that we can slot in relatively easily into our teaching and learning objectives, which will either act as a co-related resource, or become part of the primary core resource. And, I mean, I think that’s what we really need, is the things we can actually bolt in and actually run with, with a minimal amount of input from us as individuals, we don’t have to re-design the whole thing or re-invent the wheel.”

Survey interviewee and focus group participant

what we realised we wanted to do
What we realised we wanted to do…
  • domesticate the learning object
  • subvert technology for the historical disciplines’ ends
  • exteriorise the pedagogy
  • illustrate that pedagogy with subject specific examples
  • emphasise multivocality in a manageable & accessible format

Sharing the LOAD (Learning Activities, Objects & Design) Project workshop, November 2006eMI… encouraging student engagement with and evaluation of multiple scholarly interpretations


If the only thing we can do in the Humanities is teach them how to think, can we replicate that face-to-face teaching process in an electronic format?

the development process
The development process
  • Team meetings February, March, May, July, September, December 2007 and January 2008:
    • academics provide subject-specific content
    • learning technologists provide technical expertise
  • Academic team meetings

(real and virtual)

  • Learning Technologist team meetings

(real and virtual)

http www ucel ac uk load artefact html
  • ‘Critical Serendipity’
  • ‘Guided Confusion’ (GC-GLO)
  • ‘evaluating Multiple Interpretations’ (eMI)
exteriorising the pedagogy
exteriorising the pedagogy…

Identification of underlying pedagogical patterns:

origin, meaning, purpose, references

Identification of 3 phases in journey from novice to expert:

asking mainly factual questions

asking semi-interpretive questions

asking interpretive and self-reflexive questions

exteriorising the pedagogy the journey from novice to expert
exteriorising the pedagogy…the journey from novice to expert
  • Phase 1: ‘Student’ Questions - mainly factual; but one of the purposes of this GLO is to get students to realise that their answering of factual questions can be affected by their interpretation of the artefact.
  • Phase 2: ‘Semi-interpretive’ Questions – i.e. students who are beginning to appreciate that an artefact should be approached not just in terms of ‘level’ 1 questions.
  • Phase 3: ‘Higher order’ questions – i.e. the ones we ask ourselves as we approach an artefact, and want our students to start asking.
what is the pergamum altar of zeus for
What is the Pergamum Altar of Zeus for?
  • Making sacrifices to the gods
  • Making a statement about Pergamum as a Greek city
  • Showing the development of architectural sculpture in the Hellenistic period
  • Showing the relationship of the German people with the classical past
  • Feedback for all: ‘Yes, but which interpreter thought that? Would the other interpreters answer differently? Are there any answers which are impossible given the evidence discussed so far?

If you wanted to investigate the political meaning of the Altar of Pergamum which Reference list would you consult to find M. Kunze, The Pergamum Altar: its rediscovery, history and reconstruction (Mainz am Rhein, 1995)?

  • a) the Ancient Historian’s, b) the Archaeologist’s, c) the Classicist’s, d) the Modern Historian’s
  • Feedback for d: ‘Well spotted. Max Kunze is an Archaeologist, but his Museum Guide is most likely to be on the Modern Historian’s bibliography because of the way he characterises the ease with which permission was granted to excavate and for the pieces of the Altar to be taken to Berlin as indicative of ‘the young German Empire[’s]… increasing influence with the Ottoman Empire’.
  • Feedback for b: ‘While an Archaeologist may well cite a Museum Guide, their Reference list at this stage will be focused on the kinds of sources that will have been consulted to create the Museum Guide, like site plans and excavation reports. Their interest will be focused on the facts of the excavation and the reconstructive process, so whose is more likely to be focused on the politics surrounding it?’
  • Feedback for c: ‘Any Classicist interpreting the myths depicted on the Altar would comment on their political meaning for their original commissioners and viewers, but this work would only appear if the Classicist was interested in Classical Reception (i.e. the way other cultures relate to the classical past, including in political terms)’
  • Feedback for a: ‘Any Ancient Historian interpreting the reasons for and decisions behind the construction and design of the Altar would comment on their political significance and implications, but Kunze is concerned with the Altar since its excavation, not at its original inception, so the Ancient Historian wouldn’t include it.’
reflective activity end of phase 2 formative assessment
Reflective Activity – end of Phase 2 (Formative Assessment)

Write your own view (in no more than 750 words in total) on the artefact in response to the following questions:

Why is the Altar of Pergamum Important?

(approx. 300-400 words)

And (approx. 300-400 words):

Is your view particularly close to any single interpretation presented so far? If so, which? Why do you think that is?

Are there any areas in which you feel your view needs fleshing out?[1] Which kind of interpreter do you think will be most useful in Phase 3 to help you accomplish this?

[1] At this stage it might be appropriate to ask where the student thinks this information may be found – which leads into the kind of bibliography task outlined in Appendix A of OKell (July 2007).

introducing scholarly critique
Introducing Scholarly Critique…
  • In choosing to honor Heracles as the hero in the frieze, the Attalids identified themselves even more closely with Greek tradition, for, according to their mythology, the city of Pergamon was founded by Telephos, the son of Heracles. To commemorate this event, the Attalids set another frieze – smaller and less tempestuous than the outer one – within the sanctuary high on the top of the altar. This smaller frieze tells the story of the virgin priestess Auge, and how, raped by Heracles and condemned by her father, she manages to give birth to Telephos and hide him in a thicket before she is put out to sea in a boat. Telephos, suckled by a doe, is later rescued by Heracles and while travelling far and wide in search of his mother, founds the city of Pergamon. Most of this frieze was also uncovered by Humann and sent to Berlin.
  • Smithsonian Curator
end of phase 3 activity summative assessment
End of Phase 3 Activity (Summative Assessment)
  • Discuss the significance of the Altar of Pergamum for our understanding of disciplinary difference. (Approx. 1,500 words)
  • Write your response using your prior knowledge, the interpretations you have visited, any notes you have made during or after discussions and the references you have read.
  • You may find it helpful to look back to the questions that you wanted to have answered about the altar when you were first presented with it: have those questions been answered? If so, by which interpreter and are you satisfied by that interpetive view as a whole? If not, are you able to answer them, or to determine how you might go about doing so?
Pergamon Acropolis: model showing palaces on the upper slope and temple of Dionysus, stoa, theater, altar on lower slope. The altar sat on a squarish platform 36.44 meters by 34.2 meters. Pergamon, 2nd century BCE.Berlin, Pergamon Museum.
  • Credits: Ann Raia, 2005