Interacting with King Lear: an online resource for instructors of English literature survey courses

Lym, Wendy Lerner
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This dissertation proposes how a hypertext resource aids students and instructors of large lecture courses in the study of Shakespeare’s King Lear, and it presents a prototype of a Web site that meets this purpose. The dissertation identifies critical issues about the play that college instructors should address. These include an analysis of the Quarto and Folio versions of King Lear; an application of psychoanalytical and feminist criticism to the characters and subject of the play; and a discussion of the way viewing theatrical interpretations affects the presentation of the play. Next, the dissertation describes how a hypertext Web site encourages a class to form a community of practice, as defined by Wenger; in brief, the Web site encourages students to make inquires and learn with the support of others in a nonhierarchical fashion. As students form a community of practice, they establish a reading of the play as an interpretive community. The dissertation assesses the value of teaching with hypertext as a tool to foster learnerdriven acquisition of knowledge and as a poststructuralist tool that challenges traditional hierarchies in the classroom. Finally, the dissertation presents and describes in detail a prototype of the Web site and an analysis of student work that puts into practice theories of community, hypermedia, and radical pedagogy.