Students Illuminate Vergil’s Poetry in Podcasts

As part of College’s iPad program, classics course reaches out to general audience

May 12th, 2014 by 


Students in Vergil’s “Eclogues” and “Georgics” course, taught by assistant professor of classics Aaron Seider, have created podcasts about Vergil’s poetry. Students in the class are, clockwise from top right, Ciera Martinez ’15, Michael Lazar ’14, Chris Ryan ’16, Alex Simrell ’16, Nicholas Jalbert ’16, Brooke Tranten ’17, Kira Niederhoffer ’15 and Charlie Schufreider ’17.

Aaron Seider, assistant professor of classics at Holy Cross, found a new way to engage students in ancient stories.

As part of his spring semester course, Vergil’s “Eclogues” and “Georgics,” eight students created 15 minute podcasts about the poetry by Vergil, the most famous and influential author of ancient Rome.

Each podcast recording of about 15 minutes centers on a 15-20 line passage from Vergil. Aimed at a general audience, the students introduce each passage, give its relevant historical, cultural and literary context, read the Latin and their English translation, and offer their own analysis of the passage.

“The idea is that they put the same scholarly research and thought into this podcast as they would for a term paper, but that the end result of this work is a treatment of the passage that should bring across their own interests and analysis to a general audience.”

Each of the students in the course was provided with iPads as part of the College’s iPad pilot program. Seider learned more about using the iPad in training last summer, and then developed the specific assignments with help from the Center for Teaching and his colleagues in the classics department. He says he wanted his students to be able to discuss their ideas and communicate their excitement for the work to a larger and more diverse audience.

“I think it’s great when we can have discussions in class about a certain technical aspect of a poem or about an argument another scholar has made, but I think it’s just as vital, maybe even more so, that our students can talk about what they study and why it’s important to them to a general audience.

“With so much of our culture’s focus on delivering information orally, I thought that the iPads offered a really excellent opportunity for my students to produce a podcast that communicates what they find remarkable in Vergil’s poetry and how that poetry challenges them in a more colloquial way with a wider audience, while still engaging with the scholarly work and thought that would typically go into a term paper.”

Students in the class seem to have relished the challenge.

Charles Schufreider ’17 was initially nervous about the project. A classics major in the health professions program, he chose a passage within Vergil’s “Georgics” that compares the life of a famer with those who live in the city of Rome.

“While the farmer is shown to live a virtuous life, the city-dwellers are painted as greedy, violent, and generally lacking in redemptive qualities,” he says. “Essentially, sentiments today about yearning for a more simple moral time have their roots as far back as Vergil who seems to yearn for the days when farmers ruled. By focusing on these broad and accessible themes, I felt I was able to make a deeper connection to the text. I very much enjoyed creating this podcast.”

Brooke Tranten ’17, a Catholic studies and history double major, describes the project as “intellectually enriching.”

“As opposed to just writing a research paper or an essay, I feel like I have really become an expert on my 20 lines of Vergil, because I have had to engage so closely with the source material,” she says.

Listen to some of the student podcasts on iTunes

Related Information

| More
Tags
Categories
Classics, News

Comments are closed.

05/25/16 Members of Class of 2016 Honored For Their Excellence in Academics, Leadership in Service
05/24/16 Blog: Students Explore Philosophy of Food in Tuscany Study Abroad Experience
05/24/16 Holy Cross Alumna Offers Timely Take on Race, Bias Onstage
05/20/16 ‘A striking rise for Rivers School grad at Holy Cross’
See All
See All

Featured Videos


See video
Video: Class of 2016 Shares What’s Next

Watch Video >
See video
‘Major in Anything…Succeed in Business’

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery, Video: Obama Advisor Broderick Johnson ’78 Speaks on ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ Other White House Initiatives

Watch Video >
See video
Crusaders Win Patriot League Championship

Watch Video >
See video
Men’s Basketball Knocks Off Bucknell In Double Overtime Thriller

Watch Video >
See video
New Webcams Provide Live Video Stream of Campus, Contemplative Center

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery: Contemplative Center Architectural Concepts Come to Fruition

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Winter on the Hill Is All About Making Memories

Watch Video >
See video
Video, Photo Gallery: Holy Cross Wishes You a Merry and Peaceful Christmas

Watch Video >
See video
Video: The Splendor of Autumn on Mount St. James

Watch Video >
More

What’s Happening on Campus


05/26/2016

Senior Academic Awards and Prizes

See More >
05/26/2016

Baccalaureate Mass

See More >
05/26/2016

ALANA Baccalaureate Celebration, Sankofa: Rites of Passage

See More >
05/27/2016

Commencement Exercises

See More >
More

Holy Cross in the News


05/24/16

Holy Cross Alumna Offers Timely Take on Race, Bias Onstage

StarTribune

College of the Holy Cross graduate Valerie Curtis-Newton ’81 was recently spotlighted in StarTribune, the principle newspaper of Minneapolis, Minn., for her role as...

05/20/16

‘A striking rise for Rivers School grad at Holy Cross’

Boston Globe

The Boston Globe recently spotlighted College of the Holy Cross student-athlete Brendan King ’17, a pitcher for the baseball team advancing to the Patriot League...

05/03/16

Holy Cross Ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ List of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

Forbes.com

The College of the Holy Cross ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ list of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges. For this ranking, Forbes looked at U.S. colleges and universities “that...