Medieval Matters: Understanding the Spirit of the Times

In Early Modern World History to 1800, Whitfield freshmen are introduced to important historical topics from antiquity until the beginning of the nineteenth. The coursework  strengthens the students’ ability to present ideas rooted in fact and evidence as they examine the narrative of significant global events, figures, and movements. As a result, they gain a better understanding of the social, political, and economic development of the early modern world.

Students recently embarked on the Medieval Literature project, an assignment that challenges them to explore famous literature from the late Middle Ages and how writing in the vernacular captured the spirit of that time. Works include: The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer), Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes), and The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri). Working in small groups, students will conduct research, prepare a four-to-eight-minute presentation using Google Slides or PowerPoint, and then deliver the presentation to an audience of their peers. The finished projects are due in mid-February.

Using reputable reference texts, students will focus on defining plot, identifying the historical context in which each narrative was published, determining the historical significance of the piece, highlighting well-known quotes, and researching the authors. The projects will be evaluated on content, aesthetics of the slides, collaboration and presentation skills. In addition to their presentation, each group will create a 10-question game using the Kahoot! learning platform.

“This project gives students an experience where they can conduct research, work collaboratively, and hone their presentation skills,” said faculty member Dr. Miller Boyd. “My goal is to give them an opportunity to create something that they can feel proud of and confidently present to a group. I am excited to see what the students will do and am confident that they will end up with great products.”