I write to comment on my interactions with Mike Roy, a colleague at Ohio University, with whom I worked on a project a dozen years ago using Flash to develop lecture modules for a course on Greek mythology. The program was extremely successful, to the extent that colleagues in the Department of Classics are still using them on a regular basis even though Flash is a thing of the past.
The impetus for the project came from my desire to spend more time in discussion with students and less time lecturing. With carefully designed modules, which students could watch in their rooms as many times as they wanted, I could give the essence of what would have been presented through an in-class lecture. An additional benefit would be that the material would be sharply focused so that the take-away would be clear, which is not always the case with professorial lecture! Each module was followed by an on-line quiz. The idea for this is what has come to be called a “flipped classroom”.
Mike understood immediately what I was trying to accomplish and enlisted a graduate student to help him with the graphics. I would bring a text to Mike and his student and they would respond to it with suggestions. Neither of them knew much about mythology, so their comments were particularly valuable. They sent me back time and again to rewrite parts of the lectures that they found ambiguous. I was particularly impressed by their willingness to tell me that something I had written wasn’t very good as it stood – that’s something that few staff members would tell a full professor with whom they are working. I very much appreciated their honesty and their good humor. By the time we recorded each lecture it had been through many re-writes. Mike and his student then worked on the visuals – I provided most of the images but they were wonderfully creative in using them. The finished product was first rate. I was fascinated to hear students in the course say that watched they regularly watched the modules several times and that their roommates liked to watch them even though they weren’t taking the course. I can think of no stronger affirmation of their success. As I mentioned above, the modules continue to be used by my colleagues teaching myth.
The creative energy and organization that Mike put into this project was impressive. He is strict in his determination that anything he does is of the highest quality; he lets nothing slide by. His ability to communicate his own thoughts without taking over a project is outstanding. As a colleague and a friend, I give him my highest recommendation.
Thomas H. Carpenter
Charles J. Ping Professor of Humanities and
Distinguished Professor of Classics, Emeritus.
Athens, Ohio 45701
American Academy at Rome
Via Angelo Masina 5
August 7, 2018