As a means to help students connect with the Shakespeare, Professor of English Jonathan Burton has come up with a unique idea that uses digital media to teach students how to examine the Bard’s work through a contemporary lens.
The Qualities of Mercy Project, Burton’s brainchild, involves 14 college and university classes from across the country that are each producing a short video based on a specific portion of Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice. Burton’s Whittier class is responsible for Act 1, Scene 2.
The 14 videos will be sequenced into a YouTube playlist so that a viewer can go through the play witnessing the various ways in which students in distinct cultural and geographical locations render The Merchant of Venice and relate it to the particular concerns of their own communities.
Burton created the project with the hopes that the students see themselves as “makers of meaning.”
“The project gives students the opportunity to think about what they want from the play and can make Shakespeare their own,” said Burton.
Institutions participating in the project include Whittier College, Amherst College, Spelman College, Harvey Mudd College, and the University of Texas, El Paso, among others.