Online learning in art education: implications for post-secondary art appreciation pedagogy
Quinn, Robert Daniel
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Traditional scenarios of art appreciation at the university level are challenged in this study, which is an investigation of an online distance learning course taught by the researcher. The methodologies of educational criticism and teacher-research were utilized to consider the nature of e-learning events in the hybrid classroom and their implications for teaching art appreciation. Volunteers formed an alternative learning group who participated in the course entirely online, while their classmates continued in the face-to-face classroom. Interactive computer technologies were used to facilitate six synchronous class meetings throughout the semester. The alternative group also participated in ongoing asynchronous class discussions, and its members created two personal works of digital art using computer graphics software applications. Three major cases are presented to illuminate the nature of online distance learning in this art appreciation course. These cases deal with several studentsÕ experiences with the online lecture, two separate groupsÕ encounter during an online chat, and one studentÕs journey through the creation of her personal course webpage. Three facets of e-learning are considered as each case is interpreted: the levels at which the individual(s) was/were processing information, interaction with fellow practitioners, and electronic pedagogy. Each of these realms of online distance learning provides a clearer picture of the type of learning in which students engaged as they worked through the activities of the alternative learning group. Six themes emerged throughout the study: the temporal shift in e-learning, the necessity of a more capable peer, the importance of multitasking, the liquidity effect, student disposition, and the eventsÕ student-centered tendencies. The implications that each theme holds are discussed in terms of recommendations for practice in online learning in art appreciation. Considerations for pedagogical techniques in traditional post-secondary art appreciation are also examined.