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Mont Alto students bring Renaissance to cyberspace

April 28, 1999

Renaissance Web siteBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




MONT ALTO, Pa. - Michelangelo is getting his own Web site.

The Web site, created by students, is an offshoot of a cluster of courses on the art, literature and history of the Renaissance. They were requested by some honor students who said they wanted tougher academic challenges.

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The students asked that the courses be centered on the Renaissance, the time of great intellectual and cultural innovation in Europe from 1300 to 1527.

Faculty members, under the guidance of Lewis Jillings, director of academic affairs and a Renaissance scholar, responded by establishing the courses. They are being taught at Mont Alto for the first time this semester to about two dozen students.

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They will be taught for a semester every other year to give all classes an opportunity to take them, Jillings said.

About half of Mont Alto's students leave the campus after two years with associate degrees or head to Penn State's main campus to finish four-year degrees.

Nancy Funk teaches the art course in the Renaissance program, James Donovan teaches the history classes and Peggy Russo, literature.

Funk said her students researched the sculptors, painters and architects and wrote short biographies and descriptions of their work for the Web site.

Other students collaborated on two videos that contain roughly the same information as the Web site. Area high school students will be able to watch the videos free of charge, Funk said.

The first video is an overview of the Renaissance period and an insight into the works of its major artists, said Denise Dunlap, a junior who had a major role in developing the videos. The second is a travelogue of the Italian cities where the work of the period flourished - Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, she said.

Funk said the videos came first followed by the Web site. Many schools don't have enough computers for entire classes to log onto the Internet to view the site, but the videos can be shown to many students at one time, she said.

She also said the videos would appeal to "people like me in the television generation. The Web site will attract the Internet generation."

"Whenever I want to look something up I don't go to magazines or newspapers. I go to the Internet," said Warren Baker, 19, an engineering student who led the team of students who designed the Web site. He said it took about two months to research and set up the site.

"It's nice to get it over with," he said Wednesday as he put the finishing touches on the project in the school's computer lab.

Jillings said the courses include field trips and lectures by visiting professors.

The Web site can be accessed starting Saturday at http://www.ma.psu.edu/~nlf2.

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