Visit Ancient Rome Using the VRoma MOO:
A Hands-On Workshop
The VRoma MOO is a recreation of second century Rome that combines a series of
chat rooms with web pages to create a virtual city where students and teachers
can explore ancient Rome and interact with one another. The VRoma MOO is an ideal place for students in Roman Civilization, Roman history,
Latin literature, or elementary Latin courses to learn about Roman culture
in a multi-dimensional way, combining visual, spatial, and textual resources
to create an effective learning environment. While many classicists and lay people have used the VRoma website, not as many
have ventured to actually visit ancient Rome on the VRoma MOO. This workshop is designed to introduce those who are new to MOOs to become comfortable
with this new technology and learn how they might implement it in their classroom.
What is the VRoma MOO? First, it is an on-line place that organizes Roman history, values, and culture
in a spatial and physical sense. Students can “walk through” different parts of Rome and see buildings and monuments from different points
of view. The MOO does not segment culture into distinct spheres, but shows, instead, how
the political realm affects the religious world of the Romans and how culture
impinges on the social order. Second, the VRoma MOO offers a sense of immediacy where students can talk to
each other about what they see, ask questions, talk with ancient Romans (robots),
even role-play as Roman characters from literature or history. Third, they can connect with students from other institutions, communicating
across time and place, creating communities of learners, even developing
student-created on-line commentaries.
The workshop will introduce participants to these aspects of the VRoma MOO and
offer concrete suggestions and activities for using the MOO in the classroom. Participants will learn the basics of navigation through virtual Rome, will discover
how to create a character (identity) for themselves in the MOO, and will
practice sending messages and communicating with others. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit specific regions in Rome:
the Forum, the Campus Martius, the Circus Maximus, and the Baths of Trajan. Finally, the participants will actually participate in a hands-on demonstration
of one or more classroom activities.
Throughout the workshop, participants will be doing, not just learning about
the MOO. Therefore, participation must be limited to the number of computers available
at the University of Kentucky facilities so that all participants can get
a hands-on sense of the MOO. Length of time for the workshop will be one hour, including time for questions. The workshop could be repeated in the second hour to accommodate additional participants.