Aired: March 12, 2011

Victorians Get the Google Treatment

How many Victorian books would you have to read to know the Victorians? What if you could read all 1.7 million? Fred Gibbs (George Mason University) co-created a project that does just that. Using digital tools, he can search and then chart how frequently certain words—like “God,” “love,” and “science”—appear in all of 19th-century British literature. His new approach to literary analysis provides some fascinating insights into the minds of the Victorians. Also featured: Juggling school, work, and family can be a challenge for people seeking higher education. Increasingly, students are getting classroom instruction in front of their home computers instead of at desks. Ed Banas (Northern Virginia Community College) and Terry Whisnant (Southside Virginia Community College) both teach college students remotely. Their experiences highlight some of the benefits and challenges of distance learning.

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