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Research project at MHC helps students become teachers of the future

January 7, 2019
 
Education students at Medicine Hat College (MHC) are learning to be teachers of the future by delving deep into the history of London.

The opportunity is possible thanks to collaboration between Mark Kaethler, a university transfer humanities instructor at MHC, and the University of Victoria (UVic). For the past two years, Kaethler has involved students from his ENGL 300/ENGL 2210 as contributors to the Map of Early Modern London (MoEML).

The project is currently funded by an Insight grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada and is led by Janelle Jenstad, director and creator of MoEML and a faculty member at UVic.

“I had worked remotely with Janelle as a co-editor on a collection of essays. We worked well together, so when she told me about this project, I wanted to get involved. We’ve established such a good working relationship and ability to collaborate, and given my previous work on mayoral shows, it made sense,” says Kaethler.

Working with Jenstad and lead programmer Martin Holmes on the grant, Kaethler, as assistant project director, is responsible for overseeing the first complete anthology of the mayoral entertainments from Shakespeare’s time, which were the best attended performances of this era.   

The interactive map, is based off the Agas map; a very detailed view both of the building and streets of London, which was modified and printed in 1633. Kaethler is using this renowned digital tool to map out the performance routes of the entertainments written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

“When a new mayor came into power in London, large celebrations would happen in the streets, and because they were free to Londoners, they would attract many people. Shakespeare’s contemporaries wrote these works, and they give us insight into how the city was governed.”

Kaethler mentions that the map creates a visual of life in those times by including details like where churches, playhouses, and prisons were located and providing insight into the different routes taken during the procession.

He feels these editions should garner interest from a variety of people, ranging from scholars to students and the public. 

“This map allows for an interdisciplinary approach. It not only appeals to historians but it ties into urban studies and showcases how technology can help digitize early modern literature.”

As part of his upper-year English course, Kaethler’s students are helping to create mayoral shows that will be published on MoEML and receiving credit for their work. He mentions that this opportunity not only provides a chance to learn text encoding but also allows students a chance to see the benefits of making resources accessible in an open access digital platform.  

For his education students, he mentions it teaches them how technology can be integrated into their future classrooms.

“This project really explores the digital environment and the opportunities that exist for users. Its open-source nature means that educators can use this project as part of their teachings. The medium allows different kinds of engagement, whether they are interested in the text itself, reading a general overview of the project, or getting a guided tour or independent journey through Shakespeare’s London.”

If you are interested in learning more about this project, visit: https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca. 

For information on the programs available at MHC, or projects happening in the classroom, visit www.mhc.ab.ca.