About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5425-5431
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

PERSONALIZE AND MOTIVATE: DESIGNING ENGAGING ASSIGNMENTS IN ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSES

A. Ter-Stepanian

Southern Connecticut State University (UNITED STATES)
Distance learning is becoming an important part of higher education; the number of online courses and programs offered at colleges and universities grows each year. Subject matter experts and faculty involved in distance learning face not only technological challenges but also numerous problems associated with online pedagogy. Online instructional design requires redefining pedagogical issues such as material delivery, requirements, assignments, discussions, and evaluation. Such matters are particularly pertinent when both instruction and testing are administered in a completely online, asynchronous environment.
One of the main pedagogical challenges in asynchronous courses is student engagement. What should an instructor do to engage and motivate online learners, to foster students’ interest in the subject matter? Although student engagement strategies in the online environment are often discussed in journal articles and eLearning group forums and there is a wide range of approaches and solutions instructional designers and subject matter experts propose and utilize in their courses, this study will demonstrate how personalization of discussion board assignments is used as an effective tool for creating an engaged learning environment. In my online art history courses I experiment with and successfully use a wide variety of scenarios to engage and motivate my online undergrad students. In these personalized discussion board assignments my students are placed in life situations involving role playing, reenactment of competitions, acting as historical figures. They come up with a variety of formats in their submissions from dialogues to newspaper articles, juror’s speeches, diary entries. Improvement of student engagement also results in higher degree of peer-to-peer interaction and thus helps to overcome the lack of class discussions which is a by-product of asynchronous online instruction. In my experience these assignments have improved the quality of students’ writing skills and resulted in lengthy and detailed analytical and informative postings. They have positively affected the learning outcomes in online art history courses.
Students themselves prefer personalized assignments, role playing, and scenarios. In their anonymous end-of-semester feedback students evaluate personalized assignments as being intellectually stimulating and emphasize their ability to foster their interest in the subject matter. They describe these assignments as a fun way to learn the material.
Personalization of assignments is also an effective tool in plagiarism prevention. With specific, scenario-based personalized assignments the online instructor can to a certain degree prevent plagiarism; irrelevance of student’s submission to the scenario flags possibly plagiarized text.
The author describes approaches that she has developed, experimented with and found to be effective in asynchronous online art history courses, discusses learner engagement strategies in the eLearning environment, presents different types of scenario-based assignments and their learning outcomes. Case studies will be included to illustrate and support this argument, drawing on examples from online undergraduate art history modules taught over the last eight years.
@InProceedings{TERSTEPANIAN2010PER,
author = {Ter-Stepanian, A.},
title = {PERSONALIZE AND MOTIVATE: DESIGNING ENGAGING ASSIGNMENTS IN ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSES},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5425-5431}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Ter-Stepanian
TI - PERSONALIZE AND MOTIVATE: DESIGNING ENGAGING ASSIGNMENTS IN ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSES
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 5425
EP - 5431
ER -
A. Ter-Stepanian (2010) PERSONALIZE AND MOTIVATE: DESIGNING ENGAGING ASSIGNMENTS IN ONLINE ART HISTORY COURSES, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 5425-5431.
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