random picture of speaker The Spoken Word Project proposes to transform undergraduate learning and teaching through integrating the rich media resources of digital audio repositories into undergraduate courses in history, political science and cognate disciplines in the U.S. and Britain. The project will take full advantage of the flexibility inherent in digital repositories and build processes for learning that will fundamentally expand the way students and teachers understand knowledge, knowledge resources, and their own complementary roles in higher education. Michigan State University, in collaboration with Northwestern University and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and Glasgow Caledonian University, in collaboration with the BBC - Information & Archives, will develop and implement this vision. These partners bring to this project an outstanding combination of institutional leadership, commitment to innovative and effective teaching, strong experience developing state-of-the-art digital repositories and educational technology, as well as a proven history of effective professional collaboration.

random picture of speakerStarting with a rich collection of digitized audio resources, associated texts and images, and a set of integrated online annotation tools, this work will promote the usability and integration of digital spoken word repositories to improve undergraduate teaching. The project will test whether and with what effect the integration of digital audio resources into university courses achieves four major project outcomes: (1) improving student learning and retention, (2) developing aural literacy in our students, (3) augmenting student competence to write on --and for -- the Internet, and, (4) enhancing digital libraries through a focus on learning.

The intellectual merit of The Spoken Word Project lies in its advancement of both teaching and learning with digital repository sources and on its innovation for advancing the utility and value of digital libraries. Project activities will greatly enhance digital libraries by redirecting the challenges of research toward higher-level analysis and data sifting and away from lengthy search-and-browse routines that vast and growing data libraries can require.

random picture of speakerThe project will achieve this by reducing the search for relevance, expanding the metadata with user-specific annotation, and tying the libraries' content directly to course materials. The project will re-purpose existing educational technology into a suite of easy-to-use online annotation tools that will be deployed in online learning environments in order to access digital library resources. The tools will enable users to identify and save start- and stop-points in a streamed media file and to add commentary and descriptive data for their own use or to be shared with others. As students and teachers use the archive, the resulting media selections and annotations will be stored in a repository for subsequent use and shared among user communities.

random picture of speakerThe broader impacts of The Spoken Word project includes the advancement of teaching and learning in areas of enduring concern across the humanities and social sciences. Digital Library collections will be correlated directly to mainstream course materials in history, politics and cognate disciplines in the US and Britain. Collections of special interest include: World War Two and Its Aftermath, Public Debates in the History of Twentieth Century Science, Oral Advocacy in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Studs Terkel Collection, and The White House Tapes of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Working together, the partners in this random picture of speakercollaboration shall bring thousands of hours of authoritative spoken-word materials into classrooms and virtual learning environments in the United States and United Kingdom. The resulting evidence, obtained from large sample fully crossed experimental design, will determine whether or not project outcomes have been achieved.