The Digital Roman Forum is a simulation of the Roman Forum as it probably looked around 400 A.D. This model offers digital reconstructions of the Roman Forum, historical and archaeological documentation, and references to outside sources.
The reconstruction of the Roman Forum can be explored by clicking on an interactive map, which takes users to pages that highlight different elements of the Forum, such as temples, shrines, basilica, and governmental buildings. Each page contains links to a general introduction and description, a historical timeline, information about reconstruction issues, and a bibliography with relevant texts for further research.
Each page also offers QuickTime “object movies” that allow users to view both reconstructions of buildings on the Forum from different angles. It also includes photos of the ruins as they exist today. The search function allows users to search elements of the buildings either by the classical authors who describe them, by their function, or by their type. The “resources” section leads users to a dictionary of early Rome and the Roman Forum during different historical periods.
Type of Material:
It can be most effectively used for student research assignments and to illustrate to students what the Roman Forum probably looked like. It may be most useful for assignments that prompt students to use secondary sources or construct a narrative or timeline of its development over time.
I accessed this website using Internet Explorer 9 and Google Chrome 17. The site utilizes Quicktime.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students will gain a spatial awareness of the Roman Forum as it existed in antiquity, and be presented with information about the different buildings that constituted it. The website functions mainly as a repository of information that includes detailed descriptions and visual representations of the Forum.
Target Student Population:
College Lower Division: History, Art History, Architecture or Archaeology, College Upper Division: History, Art History, Architecture or Archaeology, Graduate School: History, Art History, Architecture or Archaeology
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
It would help to have some basic understanding of Roman history or geography prior to using this module, in order to get the most benefit from it. Prior experience with navigation in online virtual environments would also be useful.
This simulation painstakingly reconstructs the Roman Forum through visualizations and historical context. It also offers a lot of information about how the Forum changed over time, and about how archaeologists reconstructed it. Reference lists provide sources that will be useful for students to explore research assignments. The topographical dictionary ensures that the information is complete and easy to find.
The information presented is sometimes fragmented, and the website does not offer a general introduction to what the Roman Forum was. The module assumes some degree of prior knowledge, which makes the applicability of the simulation dependent on its integration into an educational context.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The strengths of this module are its interactive presentation of information and its use as a resource for information. Research projects will benefit from the glossaries, descriptions, and bibliographies that the website offers. Both the visualizations and the ability to navigate between information about different parts of the Forum will help students to get a spatial sense of the space and the architecture.
Besides the visualization, the information presented is very factual, and perhaps heavy on written text. There is a lack of integration of the visuals with the text, which could make it harder for students to find connections between them. The website, besides offering information and suggestions for further reading, does not offer any assignments, tutorials, or reading questions.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is a clearly laid-out module that makes it easy to navigate to and from different features of the website. The visualizations, maps, and timelines are all easy to find and are written clearly and concisely.
The module takes a good deal of time to figure out. If a teacher expected to assign this to their students, they would have to take time out of class to instruct students on its use. The layout is not always the most intuitive. Overall, it is a very simplistic site with a lot of information that is difficult to maneuver through.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.