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Lesson Plans -- Pathways for learning with the Heritage DVD-ROM

Manual for Faculty: To the Teacher

Welcome to the telecourse Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, one of the most ambitious multimedia learning experiences ever developed. This faculty manual has been designed to make your course both stimulating for your students and enriching and challenging for you, the instructor. Whether your students are distant learners, community college students or members of a senior seminar, and whether or not you yourself are well versed in Judaism and Jewish history, this manual will assist you in teaching this course successfully.

Heritage covers the broad sweep of Jewish history. The saga it unfolds stretches over three thousand years and spans the globe. This stirring story is not easily told because of the wealth of important developments that it encompasses. Therefore, the creators of Heritage chose a wonderful perspective from which to view Jewish history: the interrelationship of Jewish civilization and the cultures of which it was a part. In order to do justice to this enormous undertaking, several educational components were designed to bring the story to life.

First, the nine-part television series produced by WNET/Thirteen, which was filmed in eighteen countries on four continents and features priceless works of art and rare film footage. A first-rate scriptwriting team was commissioned and placed under the supervision of noted Israeli statesman Abba Eban, the host of the series. Against the backdrop of historic landscapes, Mr. Eban skillfully leads the viewer across the broad panorama of Jewish history with a style and panache that are all his own.

The creators of Heritage realized that the serious student would be well served by printed materials that complement the television broadcasts. WNET/Thirteen therefore engaged three eminent scholars, each with a specialist's knowledge of a particular period of Jewish history and blessed with the ability to share his immense learning in a clear and cogent manner. William W. Hallo, David B. Ruderman and Michael Stanislawski are experts in the ancient, medieval and modern periods respectively, and are renowned historians and pedagogues.

This team, joined by Tim Gunn and Robert Miller of WNET and Benjamin Gampel of the University of Maryland, conceived of two books to accompany the TV programs: the Study Guide, a basic text on Jewish history; and the Source Reader, a trailblazing collection of primary source materials from all areas and periods of Jewish history. (Both the Study Guide and the Source Reader are available from Greenwood publishing.) For the Source Reader, the team of authors enlisted the aid of Russell Herman, who collaborated on the editing of the volume. Finally, this faculty manual was designed to help the instructor successfully integrate the components of the course. The materials were reviewed by WNET's panel of advisers, all of whom are experts in Jewish history.

The guide has been updated to include references to the innovative, interactive Heritage: Civilization and the Jews DVD-ROM, the most powerful media resource available for the study of Jewish heritage and culture. The disk combines the PBS series with original multimedia presentations and source documents relating to every segment of the video; an interactive atlas showing political and demographic changes over the decades, centuries, and millennia; a timeline of Jewish and general history; and articles from the Encyclopaedia Judaica providing depth and breadth on thousands of topics.

The single-disk DVD-ROM, played on a computer (PC or Mac) connected to a projector, can be used to illustrate and enrich any class. The full video of the original series is clearly indexed into chapters and subchapters that make it easy to find specific segments to show just what is wanted. (In addition, instructors may want to assign students to watch the video episode at home, before class.) In the margins of this guide, you will find links to multimedia presentations and atlas entries that relate to the content of each video episode. The multimedia segments allow in-depth exploration of topics raised in the video, and the atlas provides unparalleled geographical and historical context.

Continue to "About the Study Guide and Source Reader"