A new project, the Digital History Reader, has been sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Funded for $219,000, the Digital History Reader was selected to receive the two-year NEH Exemplary Education Grant from among 172 applications, of which 16, or nine percent, were funded.

"This project blends several Virginia Tech and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) initiatives and priorities," said CLAHS Dean Jerry Niles. The Digital History Reader boasts interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative technology with outreach to other universities and public schools. It also combines global knowledge with national and international modules, and can easily be a stepping stone to investment in future research.

Tom Ewing, of Blacksburg and assistant professor of history, is the primary investigator for the project and leads a Virginia Tech team that includes nine faculty members from the Departments of History and Teaching and Learning.

"The Digital History Reader adds yet another dimension to our already techno-savvy faculty in the Department of History," said Glenn Bugh, of Blacksburg and chair of the history department. "It dovetails nicely with four other major department projects: the on-line American history modules, funded by two grants from the Center for Innovative Learning; the digitizing of Civil War-era newspapers for our Center for Civil War Studies; the award-winning Virtual Jamestown project, supported by Mellon Foundation funds; and the department's development of a visionary collaborative Ph.D. proposal on 'Digital History and Geography', to name the most obvious."

The Digital History Reader is made up of two components. "'United States History" provides materials covering important themes and issues from the colonial era to the present. "Modern Europe in a Global Context," explores links between European and world history in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The modules are designed for introductory level survey courses at colleges and universities and for advanced history courses at the secondary level. Educators around the world will have access to the modules through Edsitement, an NEH web site (www.edsitement.neh.gov).

All modules will be designed to include objectives for learning, questions students will be asked to consider, and background historical information; an "archive" of documents with questions to guide students' use of the documents; and a student assessment section that allows for feedback and evaluates what students have learned.

Faculty members are responsible for developing module content, securing necessary permissions, collaborating on instructional approaches, designing and maintaining appropriate formats, evaluating effectiveness, and disseminating materials over the course of the project. The project team includes

Mark V. Barrow, Jr., Hayward "Woody" Farrar, Kathleen Jones, Marian Mollin, Amy Nelson, Robert Stephens and Daniel Thorp (all from the Department of History), David Hicks (Department of Teaching and Learning), Eddie Watson (Instructional Designer), and Huaiying Gao (graduate assistant, Teaching and Learning).

The project has also contracted with VDS4 (Visual Design Center 4), directed by Truman Capone of the Department of Art and Art History, for assistance in designing a visual identity, web pages, and templates. Support from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is being used for instructional design and graduate student assistance. Support from the History Department includes software acquisition, faculty time, and graduate assistants from the master's program in history.