The HPJ staff:

Casey Dué: (video production, teaching fellow)

Mary Ebbott (co-leader, graphic design, teaching fellow)

Tom Jenkins (co-leader, graphic design, video production, teaching fellow)

Gregory Nagy (concept, content, and organization, Professor)

with help from John Wilbanks, Wendy Seltzer, Alex Macgillivray, and Antoun Nabhan, of the Berkman Center and Rudy Hypolite of A/V services.

What it was: A 4-week cyber series, sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. The series featured assigned texts (an edition of the Iliad prepared by the HPJ staff, and an article by Gregory Nagy), 45 minutes of RealVideo produced and funded especially for HPJ (5 segments in all), optional lectures and notes (RealVideo), discussion boards (with weekly assignments), and realtime chats (four in all, using iChat software). The series focused on questions of morality and justice in the Iliad, and analyzed especially the litigation scene on the Shield of Achilles as a micro-narrative for the macro-narrative of compensation and value that runs throughout the epic.

How we did it: The Berkman Center staff provided an initial series template, as well as some technical guidance in building the html. In practice, the Berkman Center (which was also running four other series) managed the registration program and the password protection code, as well as the iChat software and other specialized functions. The HPJ team modified the html for its own purposes and ran the series on a day-by-day basis, including the taping and production of the RealMedia dialogues, the monitoring of discussion groups, and the general series content. (The HPJ team also fielded the troubleshooting questions.) The Berkman Center is partially funded by law firms and other external sources; the Berkman Center in turn bankrolled the salaries of our TFs, and one equipment purchase.

What we hoped to accomplish:

We aimed for a broad constituency of participants for an investigation of law and morality in the Iliad&endash;and that is what we got! Roughly 1/4 of the participants were students or educators, another 1/4 were attorneys, 1/4 were technology professionals, and 1/4 were everything else, including free-lancers, TV producers, retirees, military officers, and activists. Participants flocked from all over the world, including Brazil, Switzerland, Alaska, Australia, Slovakia, and the Arab Emirates. We were pleased with the general tenor of the discussion on the hypernews lists, and quickly activated a ‘newcomers’ forum for those who felt they needed a more general introduction to Greek literature.

The response was phenomenal. From an initial response of 250 or so participants, the series ballooned to close to 700, mostly through word of mouth.

Some feedback:


Suggestions for improvements included: