Curing the Art House Blues

My current assignment for my Distance Learning course involves selecting a scenario for distance learning education. I’ve selected Guercino's Eminia and the Shepherdsthe following scenario for my assignment:

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

I can relate to this scenario. I’ve seen some amazing examples of distance learning art classes and interactive learning experiences. There are several excellent sites that explore the restoration process. Check out this site as an example: http://artsmia.org/restoration-online/guercino.cfm

But, I digress. What learning technologies would I suggest for this project? This class could be an interesting and challenging course with the use of several technologies:

CMS – There are several different aspects to this class: a visual tour of the museum, an opportunity to interact with curators, and an opportunity to see art work on display. Each of these learning opportunities can be achieved with a different learning technology, but ultimately, the class requires some tool to manage all these different components. A CMS, or Course Management Software, provides the foundation to pull these tools together. CMSs allow teachers to “manage their classes, assignments, activities, quizzes and tests, resources and more in an accessible online environment” (Simonson et al, 2012).

Video Teleconferencing – Utilizing video teleconferencing to connect with museum curators and view the contents of a museum or gallery would provide an opportunity to engage these students. In a video conference, students could engage in a question/answer discussion with the curator or possibly view sections of the museum that are not commonly seen by museum visitors, such as the restoration departments.

Wikis – While the content of this course is certainly visual, viewing the art does not require a video connection. Much of the content could be viewed as a wiki page, with a links to photos or videos of the art work and written descriptions of the history of the art piece and the artist.

Blogs – Interaction is an important part of this class. Learner blogs help “foster social interaction for the purpose of knowledge construction” (Beldarrain, 2006). Allowing a place for the learners to express their opinion of the art work provides an opportunity for the learners to engage with one another as well as share their own views.

Ultimately, the challenge of the class is the instructor managing the different technologies within online learning. The instructor’s role is now shifting to be a resource manager and a “partner in learning.” (Beldarrain, 2006). Just think how much more interesting this class would be in comparison to reading an art history textbook!

Resources:

Baldarrain, Y. (2006), Distance Education Trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration,Distance Education, 27(2) 139-153

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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