FLL contents people programs and projects publications subjects

Programs and Projects


Berliner sehen Overview
(QuickTime, 2 min.)



Berliner sehen is a hypermedia documentary for German Studies that relies on an extensive collection of digital video and image materials to form a collaborative learning environment for beginning to advanced-level students. TwoOnGrass Focusing on Berlin, this documentary features live-recorded video and authentic historical documents that depict the cultural, social, and political life of the city.

CobbleStoneStreet TwoInPark

The hypermedia format of Berliner sehen  encourages students to investigate material in context from different perspectives, to create their own hypermedia mini-documentaries, and to collaborate with other students on the expansion of the archives.

ThreeAtBreakfast TwoAtPiano


Berliner sehen  advances the genre of the interactive documentary in the French CD-ROM Dans un quartier de Paris (Yale University Press, 1999) and the Japanese CD-ROM Tanabata - The Star Festival (Boticelli Interactive, 1998), the interactive archive in the Shakespeare Interactive Archive, and the interactive narrative A la rencontre de Philippe (Yale University Press, 1994), all pioneered at MIT. The design of Berliner sehen  represents a crucial next step in the development of a new generation of learning environments for foreign languages and cultures.

German FLL

Berliner sehen
A Hypermedia Documentary Integrating the Study of German Culture and Language

Project Directors
Ellen Crocker
Kurt Fendt

Janet Murray


Berliner sehen has so far received seed funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington; the Max Kade Foundation, New York; the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, New Haven, the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, Boston; and the MIT Provost Fund.

Lufthansa German Airlines is a sponsor of Berliner sehen.

Direct all inquiries to

Ellen Crocker
Kurt Fendt




The Berliner sehen archives, including all texts, images, audio and video can be accessed through an innovative, platform independent hypermedia web application. Berliner sehen is constructed as an open system that allows students not only to expand the archives but also to collaborate on the construction of new collections over networks that can be made available to other users.


The contemporary video core of Berliner sehen consists of 18 hours of natural conversations with Berlin residents from different social backgrounds. Spoken in authentic German, they acquaint students with the many facets of individual lives. Together with the extensive archive of texts, images, historical audio and video, these conversations form an expansive narrative network that engages students in exploring key cultural issues from diverse points of view. The footage for Berliner sehen  was filmed during Summer 1995 by the Berlin-based German documentary video artists INTERACT, who worked in close collaboration with project directors Crocker and Fendt to create a video expressly designed for the hypermedia format of this project.


“Contextualizing Content: The Potential of Hypermedia for Interdisciplinary Language Learning”, in: v. Hammerstein, K./Kecht, R. (eds.): Languages Across the Curriculum: Interdisciplinary Structures and Internationalized Education, Columbus, OH, 2001, Ohio State University Press, pp. 201 - 223

“Die Kohärenz des Nicht-Linearen: Über den Erwerb komplexen Wissens in Hypertextsystemen”, in: E.W.B. Hess-Lüttich (ed.): Medien, Texte und Maschinen. Angewandte Mediensemiotik, Frankfurt/Bern/New York, 2001, Peter Lang

“Dynamic Content — A New Model for collaborative learning environments for language and culture studies”, in: Proceedings of ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM, 10th World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Charlottesville, 1998, AACE

“Multimedia as an Interactive Narrative Environment for Learning”, in: Borchard, F. (ed.): CALICO ‘97 Conference Proceedings

"Neue Wege durch Berlin" Die Zeit, Hamburg, Germany, Number 20, May 9 1997, p. 70.

"Neue Medien in den Geisteswissenschaften - Projekte des MIT" FWU Magazin - Proceedings of the 7. Bundeskongreß der Bildstellen/Medienzentren, Mainz, 16. - 18. Oktober 1995, 1-2 (1996), pp. 101-104.

"New Program will offer students hypermedia visit to Berlin" MIT Tech Talk, Dec. 7, 1994, p.3.

"Hypertext und Medienintegration. Ansätze zum Gebrauch moderner Medien beim Lernen fremder Sprachen". Deutsch als Fremdsprache - Aspekte des Lehrens und Lernens, edited by Theodor Ickler. Olms, Hildesheim, Series: Germanistishe Linguistik, 1993, pp. 45-72.

"The Project Berlin: Learning German with Interactive Video", Wheels for the Mind, London, April 1991, pp. 26-29.

Last update: January 8, 2011
FLL Overview | News & Events | People | Projects & Initiatives | Publications | Academics | Help | IAP | Contact | ©2011 MIT MIT | Last Updated: 31 October, 2006