Jeff Everhart ’11 M.A. ’13 didn’t do the traditional research paper for his master’s thesis in English. Instead, he combined his two passions—technology and the American Romanticism period in literature—to create a website, American Romanticism Online, that is a re- source for students and teachers.
“My dream is to develop pedagogical tools for teachers using this intersection between text and technology,” said Everhart, who graduated in May with a master’s degree and earned the Full-Time Student Award.
The website (www.americanromanticismonline.com) features free edited editions of texts by four authors that can be downloaded as pdf or Word documents, integrated lesson plans for the Virginia Standards of Learning and interactive quizzes.
“The site averages 10 to 15 hits a day from Google searches,” said Everhart, who has not done any advertising. “I assume that most of these people are teachers since the most common key words are ‘lesson plans’ and ‘quiz.’
Also, students are visiting for the summaries of texts.”
The website, primarily for high-school stu- dents and teachers, is related to two recent movements—open educational resources and digital humanities. The former are freely accessible, usually openly licensed documents and media used for teaching and learning, the latter a research area that incorporates digitized and born-digital materials.
“Some similar websites have parts of what I’m trying to do, and I’m putting a spin on that,” said Everhart. “I’ve taken ideas from things that exist independently and put them together on one site. It was an idea I’d had for a while. I mentioned it to my thesis director [John Miller], and he said ‘Sounds cool. You should do this for your thesis.’”