This resource was adapted from module materials originally delivered
in a Virtual Learning Environment. This module was developed over three
years for Level Two undergraduates at Hull University. It was based upon
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and was intended to enable
students to read and enjoy the Tales. It was hoped that they would then
cease to be nervous about texts in Middle English, and approach more
of this material. Whilst doing this, students were enabled to develop
and enhance their own transferable skills, and to provide a varied portfolio
of work for use in career interviews.
The site was based upon the idea of ‘worlds’, or groupings
within Chaucer’s pilgrims, based upon the society of his day. These
were set out as follows:
The Author and his World
(The General Prologue and The Manciple’s Tale)
The World of Romance
(The Knight’s Tale, The Squire’s Tale, The Franklin’s Tale)
The World Upside Down
(The Miller’s Tale, The Reeve’s Tale, The Merchant’s Tale)
A Woman’s World
(The Prioress’s Tale, The Second Nun’s Tale, The Wife of Bath’s
(The Friar’s Tale, The Summoner’s Tale, The Pardoner’s Tale)
These were taught in nine or ten two-weekly seminars, and supported
by showings of the BBC Animated Canterbury Tales.
On the original site, information was provided in small ‘factfiles’,
with associated images. This is the format adapted for this site.
This idea has been adapted for this resource, although, of course, other
groupings and other criteria are equally possible.
It is hoped that this resource will benefit a wider range of learners and teachers,
from sixth-form students to postgraduate teachers, or even more experienced
teachers in search of downloadable resources or inspiration.
In order to create a useful site and usable images, it was necessary
to learn to use Macromedia’s Dreamweaver design programme and their
Fireworks software, as well as Adobe’s Photoshop 7, by means of
which the images were uploaded and customised. The database of images
needed to be expanded, and copyright had to be a central issue. On the
whole, this was avoided by the use of the author’s own photographs:
as a result of this, the contents of the site are freely downloadable
for all educational uses without copyright permission being sought. It
is hoped that the images are relevant and useful, although it is possible
to use the other ideas on the site, whilst substituting other available
images. The images had to be supported by ‘alt’ text and
metadata, which is sometimes problematic, but is easier to deal with
if a formula is developed and adhered to. Larger areas of text are illustrated
with images, in order to lead the reader and keep interest from flagging.
The navigation has been carefully developed in order to offer the widest
and most useful choices, whilst providing direction for those who require
Not all ‘factfile’ information could be included, as the
resource had to be ‘image led’, but basic necessities such
as Chaucer’s life and work, and information on medieval pilgrimage,
has been included. The pedagogical content is provided on what is essentially
a second part of the site, and may be used without the rest of the material.
This provides the most useful selection of materials which were used
on the course in key skills teaching (developed as a result of dialogue
with Hull University’s Careers Department and Educational Development
Team). The material has also been influenced by continual feedback from
students, and reflective analysis (‘action research’) by
the author. There are facilities on the site for user feedback, as it
is hoped that development will continue.
These were scanned from photographs and slides into Adobe Photoshop
7, then saved as full-sized tif. images. These were then adapted and
customised in Macromedia Fireworks. All were resized, and in many the
brightness was altered. In some the contrast was also heightened, and
in a few colour balance and saturation was changed. In the case of the
fifteenth-century wall paintings from St Helen’s, Pickering, the
colour was almost washed out. By using Fireworks, it was possible to
trace some of the colour, and to magnify this, giving some impression
(although not, admittedly, a fully accurate one) of the original. The
images were then saved in JPEG format, and linked into the web pages,
which were created and manipulated in Dreamweaver. The buttons were created
by taking and processing slices from some of the images, in Fireworks.
Initially an outline of the structure of the site was mapped out on
paper. This constituted a visual representation of the relationships
between the different areas of the site. The decision was made to use
the natural character 'groups' to determine the overall site hierarchy
(aristocrats, clerks etc). A prototype of the site was then prepared
in Macromedia Dreamweaver MX to allow for testing of the navigation system
that would allow learners to move around the site easily. Following significant
improvements the content was added as well as the images themselves.
Further information was added for each image on the 'alt' tag as well
as a system of arrows at the bottom of each page to provide a sequential
movement through the site if the user wishes.
(The sound recordings were made in the recording studios of Hull University’s
Drama Department, and linked into the webpages as MPEG files).