Jay M. Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History
How do individuals, families and nations mourn and commemorate tragedy? What kinds of memorials, imagery and language best represent war? These questions underlie “History and Memory,” an online course developed in partnership with AllLearn, the nonprofit distance education initiative. The eight-week course is based on a graduate seminar offered at Yale by history professor Jay Winter.
The CMI2 developed a range of media elements for the course, including weekly video lectures and image slide-shows. Externally produced media including video testimony by a Holocaust survivor, a segment on “shell shock” from a PBS documentary, and a host of music files, were transcoded into formats readily accessible through the course’s web interface.
The course presented a number of firsts: incorporation of so many different media elements, shooting weekly video segments in remote locations, and experimentation with high-definition video technology. The HD format was selected for its ability to capture the finest visual details, which was especially important during the shoot at Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan just a year after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Locations also included the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as the Superior Courthouse closer to home in downtown New Haven.
While the HD video technology was an important step forward for Yale video production, the media were always in the service of the educational goals of the course: “More than the 1080i HD technology, this project is about high-definition content,” CMI2 Director Paul Lawrence explained. “It was paramount that this technology enhance Professor Winter’s narrative and not become a gimmick.”