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The lotos eaters critical analysis essay
Electronic supplements come in a variety of forms, but most have a consistent set of features: chapter goals and outlines, maps, quizzes, Web links, primary sources, and sometimes Web exercises and other student activities. Almost all supplementary resources are keyed to the textbook (even as publishers offer identical resources across their textbook offerings) and to a particular chapter of the textbook. Some publishers offer e-book versions of their print texts, such as Pearson Education’s interactive edition CD-ROM of The American People by Gary B. Nash et al.; others offer their supplements in identical CD-ROM and online versions, such as Vivendi’s @History CD-ROM and Web sites for their various history texts; a few have developed stand-alone Web sites for users of any of their textbooks, such as Thomson/Wadsworth’s American Journey Online; and there are separate CD-ROMs of maps such as Vivendi’s GeoQuest: United States CD-ROM or the McGraw-Hill series of After the Fact Interactive CD-ROMs of topical modules. (An appendix to this essay provides a list of the publishers, e-supplements, and textbooks discussed herein.) Surprisingly, few Web sites are readily searchable; you must go chapter by chapter through the site to locate information on a particular topic. Less surprisingly, many sites are protected by passwords. To get a password, a student must purchase a new copy of the printed textbook, which typically comes shrink-wrapped with a card bearing an access code. By this means, publishers discourage the use of secondhand copies and seek to increase their sales and profits.
The Pearson Education History Place has a feature on a 1778 painting by Copley; “Watson and the Shark: Reading the Representation of Race” was produced by Saul Cornell (this site is one of the few where contributors are named). Here we have an exemplary discussion both in its technical and pedagogical elements and in its historical and interpretive paths. Students are provided with several screens of directed questions and links to additional information. The historical context of the artwork is set through discussions of the central figures of Copley and Brook Watson, artist and subject, along with additional material such as contemporary newspaper reviews and similar artworks of the period. What is most impressive is not the good design displayed–though that is apparent, with the lengthy exercise being broken up into several screens of readily visible text and images rather than long scrolling screens of information–but the layers of meaning and levels of information that are reflected in the design decisions. The hierarchy of information established by those screens and the links within those pages to subsidiary pages, made possible by the hypertext environment, is similar to labeling in museum exhibitions. For example, the several links on the page concerned with the painting’s contemporary reception allow interested students (and an instructor) to follow their interest and inclination to learn about composition details on a page about analyzing the painting or another contemporaneous work.
Achebe: An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart …
What is most impressive about the “Envisioning the New World, 1562,” critical thinking module in Bedford/St. Martin’s Research Room is not the technology per se, but the pedagogical process–the framing of the issues, the brief background, the guidance for seeing–all in a series of steps similar to a class discussion. All the e-supplements show the value of pop-ups, but seeing better means more than identification. Students need to learn to view maps critically, and for that they need good questions, contextual information, and tools for analysis. You do not want students just clicking wildly onsite or offsite or trolling through the Internet. The best-designed activities reach their goals by combining interactive and presentational modes of pedagogy. Of course, the presentational approach itself can become the subject of analysis, but self-reflexive inquiry is in rather short supply. One interesting approach for understanding the revolutionary period and the nature of these Web inquiries was the Bedford/St. Martin’s virtual tour of Colonial Williamsburg; the exercise frames the Colonial Williamsburg site, asking students to think about how the nature of Internet evidence is related to the issue of the presentation of history in the hypertext medium.
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