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Learning by Teaching with Roman Coins

Gwynaeth McIntyre

University of Otago

Since 2015, the student-run, digital humanities project “From Stone to Screen” has been developing open-access teaching modules for the Roman coin collection housed in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious studies at the University of British Columbia. Designed by students for students, these modules allow students to familiarize themselves with numismatic conventions, online resources, and methodologies through peer-teaching. Students worked closely with faculty in order to situate these modules within current teaching practice. This collaboration created opportunities for academic mentoring and professional development for undergraduate and graduate students.

This paper discusses the creation of the “Visual Association in Imperial Promotion” module and provides suggestions for the development of similar peer-teaching projects. It was created in response to the student’s own learning experience from the “Introduction to Numismatics” module. Using this previous module as a template, the student then developed new content including instructor notes, lesson plan, PowerPoint slides, handouts, worksheets, and answer keys. This module increases access to a physical collection largely inaccessible to students, and also allows students to learn about the coins from their peers, enriching their university experience. As one student responded in their feedback, “For me, having a student lecture is quite exciting since it shows the kinds of opportunities available for undergraduates (like me).”

These coin modules provide a unique opportunity for students to re-contextualize what they have learned and to communicate that knowledge to their peers. It encourages students to develop their own projects, create learning content, and expand their understanding of particular fields of interest. Giving students the opportunity to teach allows them to bring their own experiences, approaches, and methods to the study of a collection. These types of experiential learning opportunities make departmental and museum collections more accessible allowing students to forge their own connections to the ancient world.

Session/Panel Title

Teaching with Coins: Coins as Tools for Thinking about the Ancient World

Session/Paper Number


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