University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 516-521
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Many university-level art and design programs have recently seen an increasing number of non-major students express interest in art and design courses. However, accessibility to the content of these courses is typically limited, as traditional studio courses are open to major students only. Also, for those courses that are open to non-majors, the intensity of the studio schedule (with class meeting durations typically extending beyond those of lecture-based courses) is often a barrier to enrollment. Asynchronous (meaning there are no required online meeting times) online courses offer the opportunity to reconcile these two issues. This structure often proves to be very convenient for students with complex schedules, as they can complete work at their own pace in order to meet weekly course objectives.

While there is significant appeal to online courses, including from the student, logistical, and administrative perspectives, effectively translating art and design studio courses to online media is no easy task. Classroom-based studio courses are typically characterized by interaction between students (particularly in the critique process), directed hands-on exposure to tools and materials, and a one-on-one relationship with the instructor. A successful online art and design course needs to effectively recreate or substitute these experiences within the online environment. Additionally, while asynchronous courses can provide a great deal of convenience, they also shift a substantial degree of responsibility (not present in the physical classroom) to the student.

This paper presents a case study of an asynchronous online course designed and taught in the Fall 2012 semester. This course offered non-major students an introduction to the fundamentals of visual communication through presentations, directed readings, discussions, practice-based projects, and critiques. Throughout the course, students were prompted to engage with topics related to a broad understanding of and appreciation for disciplines that incorporate the making of visual work. The case study examines the course structure and how it attempts to recreate, in the online environment, the experiences known to foster student engagement within a classroom-based art and design studio course. Reflections and suggestions for improvement going forward are also discussed.
Art, design, online, e-learning, asynchronous, non-major, case study, student engagement.