From parchment to pixels or pixels to parchment?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)


A knowledge of palaeography, the study of old handwriting, is essential for anyone wishing to identify, read and interpret records from earlier centuries. Palaeography is a subject offered by Aberystwyth University to campus-based, distance learning and life-long learning students following academic, vocational and non-vocational courses.

This project is currently in its early stages. It seeks to use a blended-learning approach to reinforce key information previously provided to students in only written form, to clarify the link between the theory and practice of palaeography, and to enhance student engagement. This will be achieved by the creation of a collection of re-usable learning objects in a multi-media form for the benefit of a range of learners.

The project consists of three inter-related parts:

Bite-sized video clips
The first strand involves the production of a series of short videos, each of which will concentrate on the handwriting of a specific time period. To maximise student interest and engagement with the subject, each video will focus on a local historical feature of that period and an associated record. Each video will begin with a site shot and commentary to put it in context, followed by examination and discussion of a relevant record to illustrate the key characteristics of handwriting of the time. In an attempt to increase inclusivity, two versions of each video will be produced: one which is multi-media and the other consisting of images and transcripts; the former may assist students with dyslexia, for example, and the latter those with impaired hearing.

Online presentations by experts in related relevant areas
The second strand of this project consists of the creation of a library of recordings of presentations by experts in related fields. Accompanying slides, illustrations, and bibliographic material are being incorporated into the learning objects, which are, again, available in multi-media and visual-only forms. This will enable off-campus students to access specialist information not normally available to them. Also, it offers students with a particular interest, further opportunities to view relevant presentations.

Interactive online exercises
The third strand will be a collection of interactive online exercises based upon the content of the first strand, and constructed using Wimba Create, with the objective of enabling formative self-assessment.

All these learning objects are being made available via the VLE to registered students pursuing courses in palaeography at Aberystwyth.

Users of these learning objects will be canvassed in order to:
• evaluate the utility and value of the learning objects
• assess how they can be improved
• obtain views on how the project could be extended and enhanced

Future developments will be guided by this feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnhancing Research - Teaching Links in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Newport Nexus Conference 2010
EditorsSimon Haslett, Hefin Rowlands
Place of PublicationUniversity of Wales, Newport
PublisherPrifysgol Cymru, Casnewydd
Number of pages107
ISBN (Print)978-1-899274-43-7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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