Teaching Art Online: Disrupting the Teacher-Student Hierarchy

co-presented with Kyla Mallett


With the rapid advancement of user-friendly digital technology, the internet has become a more accessible tool for interconnectivity. Social networking websites allow for a new kind of intimacy that is being described as an acute form of self-reflection. Online technologies are being incorporated into art education and are attempting to meet the needs of millennial students – those born after 1980 with strong desires for social connection through the web. Online learning systems allow for participatory collaboration and multidirectional conversations in multidimensional spaces. The internet can now be considered a pedagogical tool in facilitating meaningful discourse within peer-centred learning, disrupting the hierarchical relationship of teacher and student.

Some studio art courses in higher education are now being taught online, both in full form and as supplements to face-to-face courses. This session will demonstrate how online technologies are being used to foster artistic ideas and meaningful imagery within foundation level studio art courses at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. These particular courses are not about making art on the computer, but rather an understanding of visual principles and conceptual themes that include cultural critique. In many cases students use traditional media and then document the work for online presentation. Although the lack of human contact adds challenges to the teaching and learning process, our experience has revealed success in quality of work, active participation and critical thinking.

Through visual references to the courses we will describe how the studio classroom can be reimagined to function online to produce engaged collaborative discourse. Topics will include narrative mapping of the course, recording and archiving the creative process, shaping active learners, and levels of critical discourse.

This session aims to generate more discussion around ways to achieve effective learning through the use of digital technologies and online tools within art education. 

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