MyDante: An Online Environment for Contemplative and Collaborative Reading
By Frank Ambrosio, William Garr, Eddie Maloney and Theresa Schlafly
The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, Vol.1:1 (2012)
Abstract: This paper explores the tensions between individual and collaborative aspects of reading in the context of MyDante, a digital environment for the study of Dante’s Divine Comedy. We provide a view into the long-standing pedagogical experiment we have undertaken to integrate the MyDante site into an undergraduate philosophy course. The site and its usage in the course have gone through several iterations, raising many questions along the way about how the site can best improve the students’ learning experience. In this paper, we highlight some of these questions, present findings from focus groups with students who have used the site, and explore how awareness of these issues can itself enhance the effectiveness of the site for teaching and learning. We consider the implications of these findings for the development of two new projects: first, a public version of the MyDante site, and secondly, a new tool called Ellipsis, which is a customizable version of the software underlying MyDante. We find some resonances with larger questions about digital reading environments and the act of reading.