Applied Instructional Technology in the Discipline of English: Creating Open Educational Resources for Students and Teachers of American Romanticism
Over the last decade, the use of digital and new media technologies in classrooms and research situations has increased dramatically. This trend, however, is likely to increase as open educational resources become more available and credible and digital scholarship gains more traction among university level scholars and secondary educators. As a result of these changes, I would like to propose an original thesis project that incorporates elements of traditional scholarship in English and emerging and established technologies in the Digital Humanities, all with the goal of deploying this educational resource to a larger community of teachers and students. The product of this project will consist of a Beta version of an open educational resources web site, <www.americanromanticismonline.com>, and a seventy page monograph. The monograph will contain a justification for the project itself from an educational and technological perspective using recent NCTE policy studies on digital literacies and recent changes to Virginia SOL testing, an annotated list of existing digital resources and multimedia on American Romanticism which will also appear in a hyperlinked addition on the Beta site, and a theoretical discussion of the editorial methods for selecting authors and texts and preparing digital editions and other original multimedia. In addition, the written portion will also contain a strategic plan for the growth of the project, to include defined sources of possible grant funding and strategies for marketing the site to participants, and edited and original site content in appendices.
In addition to the theoretical and educational implications of this project that will be addressed in the written portion, this proposed initiative will produce an original online resource that can be used in public schools and will be aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning. The Beta version of the site itself will be organized using the several stringent content production requirements. The site content will include biographical and contextual information on four American Romantic authors (tentatively Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau, and Poe) presented in both textual and multimedia formats, two edited digital primary texts from each author that will be annotated using hypertext, and multimedia editions of selected texts. In addition, to make the site more applicable to secondary educators, the site will include interactive digital lesson plans, which will be aligned to the Virginia SOLs, for each author that incorporate original site content and digital resources from other initiatives in the digital humanities, and a collection of digital resources for students and teachers of American Romanticism that will be annotated based on their applications to secondary classrooms. Although this thesis project differs from traditional research in English, the theoretical and educational skills that will be engaged in this process are interdisciplinary in nature and in high demand at all levels of academia. In conclusion, the goal of this thesis is to create a resource that will enable those interested in the American Romantic period to teach and learn more effectively by having access to free resources that engage learners using technology and contextualize the contemporary study of literature.