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Tools for Transformation Funded Proposals

Giza, Great Pyramids, Egypt.

College of Arts & Sciences

"Digital Egypt" represents the initiative of several UW units (Near Eastern Languages and Civilization [NELC], Comparative Religion Program [CRP], Jewish Studies Program [JSP], Jackson School of International Studies [JSIS], UW Libraries, and Program for Educational Transformation Through Technology [PETTT]). It contains three components.

  1. The creation of a large co-taught undergraduate course on the subject of Egypt (ca. 3000 BC-1200 AD) that incorporates digital technology in the form of PowerPoint lectures, slide archives accessible through the UW library (Content Project), and supplemental web-streamed video lectures. Course instructors include Profs. Scott Noegel (NELC, JSIS, JSP), Michael Williams (Chair, NELC), and Brannon Wheeler (Chair, CRP), who will prepare the digital materials with the help of three graduate students. The students will be selected for their demonstrated knowledge in the areas of ancient Near East, early Christianity (Coptic Egypt), and Islam, and thus each will work closely with one of the participating faculty members.
  2. The creation of video streamed lectures. This initiative will take place under the training and guidance of the technology staff at PETTT. The online lectures aim to supplement in-class lectures and to capitalize on newly emerging technologies in development at PETTT. This new technology allows for the facile creation of online video lectures. It is equipped with an electronic annotation mechanism that allows web browsers to pause video lectures, add comments, and hold online discussions while viewing the lectures. It also provides immediate access to bibliographic data. The "Digital Egypt" project would represent the first time this PETTT technology has been employed for coursework in the Humanities. Once the course has ended, the archive of lectures will be made accessible to the public.
  3. The "Digital Egypt" project requires the scanning of roughly 9000 slides and photographs of Egyptian antiquities and archaeological and historical sites to specific digital formats. In addition to serving the needs of the course and its instructors, these images will be integrated into the UW Library Content project. The addition of our slides to this archive will significantly expand this resource's utility.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the Middle East had received increased media attention. Some of this attention has focused on Egypt, but said coverage has paid little attention to Egypt's long and unique cultural history and its role in shaping present day Egypt. The Digital Egypt project aims to place Egypt in a broader historical context, and provide a springboard for discussing issues of ethnic and religious violence, religious pluralism, ethnic and cultural diversity, economic dependen~cy, and cultural tourism.

Egypt also has proven to be a popular subject among students. NELC's courses on the hieroglyphic Egyptian language and early Egyptian history regularly bring in large numbers, and regional public interest has resulted in the formation of a Seattle Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt.

In addition, last year saw the creation of a newly formed major option within NELC that focuses on the ancient Near East. While the major option does offer a few courses on ancient Egyptian language and history, no single course brings together the entire time period in question, and courses on late antique Egypt or Coptic language are offered only periodically (and with limited enrollment). The Digital Egypt course, therefore, will create greater cohesiveness both in NELC and across campus units, and would provide the participating units with new opportunities for drawing majors.

The "Digital Egypt" project uniquely integrates graduate students into the creation of the required technologies. The scanning and archiving involved naturally require that the graduate assistants undertake additional research. Thus, imbedded into the project's technological and content infrastructure is an interdisciplinary graduate student learning initiative that bridges student interests and expertise with emerging technologies.

Contact: Professor Scott B. Noegel
Near Eastern Languages& Civilization
Allocation: $42,196
Date Funded: June 2002

Tools for Transformation Funded Proposals