A new web site created by Prof. Francese, Brendan Boston (‘11), and Alice Ettling (’12) has attracted positive attention from The Classical Outlook, the journal of the American Classical League. CO’s “Clearing House” column in the latest issue includes a round-up of resources useful for the coming revised version of the AP Latin Exam, which includes portions of the Gallic War:
By far, the most student-friendly project currently available online for students reading the new Advanced Placement Latin curriculum is Dickinson College's Department of Classical Studies "Wikimedia-based commentary on De Bello Gallico. Created and edited by Professor Christopher Francese using the free Mediawiki software package (http://www.mediawiki.org) and lovingly dubbed "Veni Vidi WIKI", this collaborative site consists of a growing collection of notes and relevant multimedia keyed to selections from Caesar's most famous work. (A wiki is a website that makes it possible for users to create collaboratively and edit a set of web pages using a web browser.) The digital source of the Latin text for the Dickinson Classics project is a public domain edition of Bellum Gallicum provided by The Latin Library (http://thelatinlibrary.com/) and altered to line up with Renatus Dupontet's 1900 Oxford Classical Text. The extensive grammatical and contextual notes are drawn from a large number of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century high school and college level textbooks and collated sentence by sentence, making it easy for students to use. Links to full, online editions of these texts are provided whenever possible for further consultation. Teachers and students will appreciate the expanding selection of ancillary materials, including maps, artwork, graphics, mp3 audio, and glossaries. Especially noteworthy is a downloadable computerized video animation created by student Alice Ettling and narrated by Professor Francese to accompany Caesar's opening description of Gaul (Book 1.1-7).
Professor Francese suggests a number of ways that teachers and students can use this resource. This wiki can be used in place of, or as a supplement to, a traditional textbook, with the considerable benefit of being both free and updatable. Students who prefer using a bound book can use the site solely for its running vocabulary and grammar hints, while internet savvy individuals who have made the transition to working and studying "in the cloud" can skip visiting the college bookstore altogether and use the site exclusively on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. In the classroom, teachers can utilize smart board technology to view and highlight the text, display graphics and play audio and video for everyone. It certainly goes without saying that it would be ideal for use in a distance learning course. Professor Francese plans future additions to the site in the next year, including a side-by-side comparison of Roman customs with Gallic customs as detailed by Caesar in Book 6. The possibilities for this educational wiki are limitless--and that's where you come in! Because this is a Wiki, anyone can set up an account to enter additional material. Professor Francese invites qualified readers to feel free to make corrections or contribute material to this project, with the proviso that any additions must be from the public domain, and free from copyright restriction. A project like this has great potential, and it will be fascinating to see what sort of additions and enhancements the users of this site will make to it over time.
Sharon Kazmierski, The Classical Outlook 88 (Fall 2010), p. 28.