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Engaging the Nonart History Student: A Tale of Five Football Players (and Others) in Roman Art

Active Learning Strategies in Higher Education

ISBN: 978-1-78714-488-0, eISBN: 978-1-78714-487-3

Publication date: 19 April 2018


How was I going to engage the students in my ancient Roman Art and Architecture course, especially the five football players who had signed up in the fall of 2015? In this chapter, I will discuss the commitment I made to the students and myself to ensure that each class period was one in which an active learning technique was used, often paired with some lecture, and sometimes not, to engage students and help them learn about Roman Art and Architecture. I will discuss what assignments I chose based on research and my own observation, as well as the results of a focus group held with the football players a year later about what they remembered. Football players tend to be kinetic learners and thus were chosen as the follow-up to see how the active learning techniques in this class met objectives. Specifically, this chapter will discuss the inclusion of a Reacting to the Past role-playing game, a research project on “Daily Life in Ancient Rome,” and presentations on different methodologies of interpreting an image from a Pompeiian tavern.




I would like to thank the five football players that took my Roman Art course in the fall of 2015. You know who you are! I would also like to thank my colleagues in the social sciences for helping this art historian with research in this discipline. Specifically, I would like to thank Dr. Robert Trader, Dr. Lauren Dundes, and Dr. Sara Raley, all of whom are wonderful and generous colleagues.


McKay, G.K. (2018), "Engaging the Nonart History Student: A Tale of Five Football Players (and Others) in Roman Art", Misseyanni, A., Lytras, M.D., Papadopoulou, P. and Marouli, C. (Ed.) Active Learning Strategies in Higher Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 187-209.



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