The structure and content of the Virtual World Project enables it to function as a visual course textbook to supplement traditional, text-based textbooks. Students could be assigned to “tour” a specific site or parts of several sites covering a specific period, such as the Iron II period. Using the Features link, students could also be assigned to explore a selected topic, such as temples, synagogues, or houses, across a range of sites or during an archaeological or historical period.
The lecture is still a good tool for disseminating certain kinds of information. The interactive images presented in the virtual tours will help make concrete what is often abstract and bring to life what is remote and dead. For example, a lecture about Origen and his place in the early Christian world would be significantly enhanced by a taking a virtual tour of Caesarea Maritima, a city where he spent much of his life. Similarly, a lecture on the Nabateans would benefit from images of the many Nabatean settlements, temples, and tombs included in the project.
In-Class Illustration and Discussion
Teachers in courses that are oriented toward the discussion and analysis of historical texts, including the Bible, could use the project to enhance understanding of the texts under consideration in the classroom, or display images of sites for discussion and interpretation.
On-Line or Group Discussions
Many teachers make use of on-line discussions to supplement classroom time. Students could be directed to the project and instructed to study a particular archeological feature as it occurs in a variety of locations (making use of the project’s Feature link). Students could then spend time on-line or in groups discussing the feature among themselves.
Resource for Individual or Group Research Projects
Teachers could assign an individual or a group of students to report on the significance of a particular city, such as the economic and political role of Megiddo in the Kingdom of Israel, or the significance of a topic, such as the location of synagogues in Roman cities. The project faciliates the exploration of such issues.