If you’ve ever spent time around the Tarpon Springs campus at the end of a semester, you might have seen students in some unusual attire. There’s no toga party going; these students are probably in Dr. Underwood’s Humanities class. The assignment, called the Dramatic Arts Experience, requires students to explore history and culture in a way that “promote[s] a critical awareness of the historical interconnections among different media, disciplines, and ideas; and demonstrate[s] how these connections are embedded and made visible in great works of art and literature. In this regard, masterpieces of theater and the dramatic arts are of special relevance because they demonstrate the integration of the arts and stress the importance of meaningful human experience.”
Because students are required to take part in a way that stretches beyond the traditional lecture and textbook, the students have fun while being actively engaged in the course material.
Instead of requiring the students to read a play and take a test or write a paper on it, this assignment requires them to work in groups and actually perform scenes from an assigned masterpiece of dramatic arts, complete with costumes and sets. According to Dr. David Underwood, “I’ve been using this technique in my Humanities classroom for over ten years now, and it always turns out to be a success, even for those students who may be nervous about having to “perform” in front of their classmates.”