Mosaic Author Diary

Here are some more reflections on the Mosaic  project from the course “author” Sandie Byrne:

12 August 2008
Marion and I spent some time looking through an online archive of images from the Ashmolean’s Anglo-Saxon holdings, looking for illustrations for the course material. We selected some reliquaries, jewellery and weapons, but the archive didn’t include the really spectacular artefacts I would like participants to be able to see, so we shall have to widen the net. I hope that the British Library will grant permission for us to include links to its holdings.

30 September 2008
TALL have been busy with the development of other projects, and the obtaining of permissions is turning out to be a mammoth task, so the course isn’t built yet.

15 November 2008
I’m so pleased that Nicolay Yakolev has agreed to be the tutor for the taught version of the course. His doctorate was in Old English, and he has published a lot of interesting work on the subject, but more importantly, I think he will be friendly and accessible, understanding of the way some people feel intimidated by Old English, and sensitive to the needs and learning methods of different students. I think he will appreciate the course, and I hope will enjoy teaching it.

20 December 2008
Sarah Mann has sent me a link to the course on DevMoodle, so at last I shall be able to see how ‘Ancestral Voices: The Earliest English Literature’ looks on screen. The web content has not been embedded yet, so will appear as links, and there will be instructions and reminders for TALL on the course build, so I won’t quite be seeing the final form – the way users will see it – but I should be able to get a good idea. The Oxford, taught version of the course launches on 14 January, Sarah is away until 5 January, and other courses launch that week, so she and other TALL colleagues are going to have a busy 9 days.

26 December 2008
The course is looking good, with a very few minor errors that can easily be rectified. With the online material linked rather than embedded, it’s hard to imagine the effect that will be created by, for example, the full-page illustrations of Saxon homes and dress, or artefacts such as weapons, and the amazing gold- and other metal-work. Having those on the pages of the units that users first come to will, I think, make such a dramatic impact, and bring home the point that Anglo-Saxon culture was much more rich, diverse, and sophisticated than we might think.
The audio files in the course will, I think, make a big difference. I remember how difficult it was to get a sense of Old English from books alone, and poetry should always be heard as well as read. The inclusion of Stuart Lee’s film is a bonus, too. In a sense, the more media the merrier, in the cause of making Old English literature accessible.

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