1. Dr Nicholls, you are particularly interested in the digital modelling of ancient buildings and places, especially the city of Rome, and you are currently talking to Cambridge University Press about a book and related digital / app publications as well as showcasing your work at the up-coming Higher Education Academy Storyville Conference. Why did you and the Department of Classics decide to launch the new Part Three module ‘Digital Silchester’ (CL3SIL) this academic year?
There were a number of reasons that we decided to do this. When I first arrived at the University of Reading I began to interest students in the results of my own digital modelling work through undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the city of Rome. It soon became apparent that students really wanted to engage with digital modelling and once they knew about my research interests I was frequently asked if I needed any help with projects. I have found that digital modelling is something that undergraduate students can pick up quickly and I really wanted to get them to participate in seminars, not just as consumers but as producers of their own material. I have also over the years had a number of UROP students working on digital modelling. When I saw that these students were able to pick up the necessary software and research skills well, I decided to run ‘Digital Silchester’. Students are increasingly comfortable with digital technology and virtual worlds, and they enjoy the idea of engaging with something visual, which means the module has attracted a large amount of interest. ‘Digital Silchester’ has been funded by CDoTL as part of my University Teaching and Learning Fellowship, and I am very grateful to them for awarding me a University of Reading Teaching and Learning Development Fund grant.