Blog on the City of Rome: Work by the Department's Undergraduates

By Ray Laurence

The advent of the internet has transformed how academics do research and completely changed the way students study in the twenty-first century. However, much of the basis of Higher Education remains distinctly pre-internet with a strong focus on the writing of essays. Ray Laurence decided enough was enough and that students needed to engage with the internet and understand how to write for a wider public. Thus, he introduced the blog into his assessment strategy for his new unit AHIS313 The City of Rome. Read the blog now!

Students had to research their own topic and read widely, but would need to transform that knowledge into a blog for the public. Thus, no sentences in the passive, no subjunctives and an emphasis on revealing further knowledge via hyperlinks to ancient sources. The students also had to research images that they could reproduce on the internet in a blog. This process produced numerous high-quality blogs on a range of topics from Roman firemen through to the Theatre of Pompey.

The next stage was to edit the blogs and build a platform for them. Ewan Coopey, Oliver Twyford, and Jack Jones undertook the editing and worked with Brian Ballsun-Stanton in his Tuesday Hacky-Hour to develop their digital skills that built the platform for the blogs. They also researched images of coins from the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies (ACANS).

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Ray Laurence

Ray Laurence is Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University (Australia). Previous to his move to Macquarie University -- he was Professor of Roman History and Archaeology at the University of Kent (UK). He has published prize-winning books on Pompeii: Roman Pompeii: Space and Society and Pompeii: The Living City. His work based in Archaeology, History and Classics is characterised by a cross-disciplinary aspect that causes it to be accessible and of wider interest to architects, landscape historians, geographers and urbanists. Of particular interest is his work on the relationship between the physical form of the Roman city and its residents. He has also published extensively on Roman roads and communications, childhood and ageing, quantitative approaches to Latin inscriptions and approaches to cultural change in the Roman Empire. In addition, he has written scripts for cartoons that can be found on TED.Ed that have attracted more than 11 million views on YouTube.