English, Department of


Date of this Version



The CEA Critic 78.2 (July 2016): 229–241.


© 2016 College English Association. Published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Used by permission.


Recent pedagogical scholarship has engaged strenuously with the use of YouTube and other online platforms in the literature classroom. Stephen O’Neill, for one, champions video-sharing and similar media “in the interests of fostering various experiential, collaborative and peer-learning scenarios,” especially in tandem with the “array of Shakespeare content, which can potentially illuminate and deepen [learners’] understanding of the text and its diverse contexts” (190). In this essay, I discuss the advantages of sharing for this purpose online materials that have been developed by artists, instructors, students, and others—specifically, materials with a musical orientation. Along the way, I shall explain my own strategies in developing particular types of “Shakespeare content” that students have found useful in coming to terms with aspects of Shakespeare’s literary craft and that students have used as springboards for their own creative responses to his work. In describing this educational exchange, I make no claim about being “the only begetter” of student projects; as O’Neill notes, most of our students today are “digital natives,” quite at home with such widespread online practices as video remix and mashup (190). However, I have observed that setting 16th- and 17th-century texts (including, of course, Shakespeare’s) to popular music forms can elicit specifically musical responses from students and that an instructor’s willingness to share materials online can encourage students to bring video-sharing and other digital practices more richly into an educational setting that might initially have seemed unfriendly to such interventions.