Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Learning Art Online: Critique, Interaction and Interface

Prof. Rebecca J. Alm, Kathleen M. Heideman, Dr Patricia Briggs, Nathaniel Stern, Justin Heideman.

Visual learning is the focus of our traditional studio classrooms at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. How do we use course management tools to enhance Fine Arts education? What are the limitations and surprises? Our colloquium explores these questions through the personal experiences and diverse perspectives of artists and educators using new tools, experimenting on a course-by-course basis.

Online studio critiques (integrating course tools and thoughtful teaching strategies) promise as much interaction and depth as traditional critiques. We embrace this paradox: digital reproduction renders studio work less sacred, allowing instructor and peers to make revisions on the fly. Lacking physical/sonic/temporal performance, students are forced to pursue clarity in their artwork and conceptual (written) statements. Constrained by asynchronous time and the necessity for concise critique, provocations become clearer, and questions more articulated.

Liberal Arts curriculum may sometimes take a backseat to studio work; art students come to class unprepared, resulting in lackluster class discussions. Discussion Boards, used efffectively, hold students more accountable for their reading, and promote "active reading", resulting in a dramatic improvement in the participation and intellectual rigor of in-class discussions.

Despite the wide-spread adoption of technology (and recognition of its benefits), technical literacy remains a hurdle for students and teachers to overcome when presenting and discussing complex ideas online. The need for excellent interface design and clear language grows more pronounced. As artists, scholars and educators, what are the specific methods and interfaces we can use to address these issues?


Prof. Rebecca J. Alm  (United States)
Director of MCAD Distance Learning
MCAD Distance Learning
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Previous to her work with Distance Learning, Rebecca Alm served as MCAD's Fine Arts Chair and Foundation Coordinator. Her own studio work incorporates papermaking and mixed media, within severe process/form limitations. For example, during one six month period she made the same size sheet of paper every day; each sheet had exactly 24 dots. She grows her own flax on family land and collects old garments and domestic linens for papermaking.

Kathleen M. Heideman  (United States)
MCAD Distance Learning
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Heideman is the recipient of creative writing fellowships from the Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Loft-McKnight, MN State Arts Board, and numerous national Artist Residencies. She participates and presents in such professional conferences as Syllabus and Educause, and addresses regional/national forums (including meetings of the Alliance of Independant Colleges of Art + Design, the National Association of Schools of Art + Design, Finlandia University, the Women's Caucus for Art, etc.)

Dr Patricia Briggs  (United States)

Nathaniel Stern  (United States)

Justin Heideman  (United States)

  • Art
  • Critique
  • Interaction
  • Intervention
  • Digital
  • Provocation
  • Online
  • Environment
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Conceptual
  • Interface
  • Discussion
  • E-mail
  • Blackboard
  • Virtual
  • Classroom
  • Experience
  • Collaboration
  • Course Management System
  • Visual Literacy
  • Liberal Arts
  • Art History
  • Interface Design

(90 min. Colloquium, English)