History of the Art History Survey Course
The art history survey course has a long tradition in higher education stemming from early in the twentieth century. The early courses in art history took two forms, an introductory survey directed toward a chronological discussion of art history over three hours per week and a more thematic approach discussing styles, ideas, and artistic problems directed typically for the non-major. Minor (1994) states, "The colleges apparently were aware that students received little or no instruction in the history of art in secondary schools, so their beginning art history courses were more foundational and introductory than, say, courses in sciences or mathematics" (p. 22). An early pamphlet from Prime and McClellan written in 1881 in reference to the establishment of Princeton's Department of Art and Archeology described the very issue that the art history courses and museum collection planned to overcome:
It is a profound absurdity of our systems of education, that a vast majority of accomplished and instructed men and women, seated at a luxurious table, are unable to tell whether their plates and cups are of pottery or porcelain, and have no conception of the meaning or uses of the enamels which they handle. It is an equal subject of regret and shame, that neglect of instruction in colleges and schools of learning has left so large a portion of the intelligent men and women of our country at the mercy of ignorant teachers, whose profound absurdities, and jargon of technical terms and phrases, have contributed to a prevalent impression that the word Art implies a mystery, which can be penetrated by only a few intellects (as cited in Lavin, 1993, p. 9).
These early college art history programs thus relied heavily on original and reproduction collections to provide a generalized understanding of art history as a means not only to introduce future art historians to visual culture, but also to broaden a liberal studies agenda for all students enrolled in higher education.
James Mason Hoppin also discussed these concerns for a broadened liberal education that includes the arts at Yale as early as 1866 where he offered seven reasons why aesthetic culture should be part of higher education:
- Art is an intellectual pursuit;
- Art can elevate people above materialism to a new freedom of spirit;
- True art is an ethical influence;
- Art helps counteract the narrow education promoted by a focus on science, because it too presents truths of nature, but in living, concrete forms;
- Art helps one cultivate perceptive powers of the mind;
- Art aids the study of other subjects;
- Art promotes kind feelings, drawing people together in common interests (as quoted in Stankewicz, 1993, p. 185).
These early statements are similar to calls by John Ruskin (2005) toward aesthetics and persist in statements on education and psychology by Elliot Eisner (2002) and Howard Gardner (1982; 1994).
Before a formal department of art history including a supervisory department chair specified for the purpose of the History of Art, the development of art history programs at the various higher education institutions often stemmed from art history courses delivered within other disciplines. At institutions such as Vassar, where the early developments of its art history program were pushed by Lewis Frederick Pilcher in the early twentieth century, demonstrate a look toward technologies in support of these courses and a formal direction for instruction. An early technology request for the course describes Pilcher requesting "an electric light stereopticon and a ‘motion projection apparatus,'" as well as developing a series of courses that described an "evolution of art form," and the "conditions that have influenced the various manifestations of its development" (Askew, 1993, p. 61). These requests and curricular designs mirror modern techniques for chronological, almost Darwinian evolutionary concepts of art, and are similar to current approaches that many institutions maintain to delivering course material.
A growing number of institutions incorporating art history into their curriculum between 1900 and the 1930s demonstrates an evolution in the field when a wave of refugees fleeing Europe brought with them developments in art historical instruction and analysis. The history of art historical instruction often refers to Edwin Panofsky as a marker of change within the discipline when he arrived in the United States in 1931. Smyth (1993) describes Panofsky's lectures as innovative, brilliant and unlike anything that American students had ever encountered. These European instructors were at odds with the democratized design of the art historical lecture that focused on developing factual knowledge and thus challenged the American audiences with lectures that focused on broader concepts. The instructors shied away from assessments focused on memorization and instead expected students to enter classes equipped with such knowledge and deliver critical responses through seminar papers that required argumentative theses. The exams also focused on compression rather than memory. The clash of cultures led to a rethinking of the delivery of art historical courses and became a strong influence for Janson's (1962) History of Art textbook (Michels, 2003).
The foundation of the art history survey is thus one that continually references appreciation and its importance in the civilizing process in course descriptions (Minor, 1994). The introduction of Janson's (1962) textbook marked a point of standardization for the course material that focused on the linear Western chronology. Instruction has changed little as a result while maintaining a tension between the issues of factual memorization and critical comprehension. The tension between the course as an introduction of factual knowledge versus a broader Bildwissenschaft (Bredekamp, 2003), or study of visual culture incorporating contemporary visual forms and sensibilities, is a constant in many of the discussions regarding course outcomes.
The course over the century changed little, but remained innovative in its use of visuals coupled with lecture to engage students and in its utilization of necessary technologies to display such visuals within various contexts. Witcombe (2009) likens the current state of art historical research and pedagogy as similar to what John Ruskin described in a letter to his father in 1846 referring to the Daguerreotype photograph as "the most marvelous invention of the century" (p. 21-22). The state of the art historical classroom is now in flux, challenged by visual technological advances and the changing expectations of a growing visual culture.
The status quo. In order to understand the phenomena that is the art history survey course, it is important to establish a contrast between a traditional model for the art history survey and the possible present and future directions that the course is taking. The traditional survey, as described by Phelan et al. (2005), Minor (1994), Donahue-Wallace et al. (2009), and Yavelberg (2014b), is commonly referred to as "midnight at noon" or "art-in-the-dark." The course presents students with dueling slides in a darkened classroom and asks students to demonstrate their memorization of a Western canon of names, dates, terms, and other rote information on assessments typically consisting of slide identification exams coupled with specific "compare and contrast" short essays and likely a term paper. The growing market of survey texts stemming from H.W. Janson's (1962) History of Art model for a chronological Western narrative of a canon of works of art and trends leading linearly to where we currently stand demonstrates the dominant nature of such pedagogical practice.
Published companions such as Maranci's (2005) A Survival Guide for Art History Students describe and break down in detail this traditional delivery method and provide suggestions on how to succeed in the subject. This particular text published by Pearson/Prentice Hall, the publishers of the survey text Stokstad's Art History (Stockstad & Cothren, 2013), begins with a preface to the student:
This book is written for you, the college student, who has had little or no experience with courses in art history. While you are familiar with how English classes are run, and feel comfortable with the format of science labs, what you will experience in an art history class is entirely new. As the class begins, the lights go down, and slides are projected on screens in pairs. Certainly, you have been to slide lectures before, but in those cases only one slide was projected at a time. And not only is the visual format new, but now your professor is actually talking about the slides. You had always thought that art was meant to be admired in silence. How are you, a student, supposed to put your own words to great works of art? In the upcoming weeks, you will be asked to do just that - to speak about images, to write about them, to remember them, to prioritize information about them - in sum, to engage with them visually in a way that has never been asked from you before. This book is designed to guide you through the process, assisting you with art history papers, exams, and note taking (Maranci, 2005, p. ix).
The preface continues with a note to the teacher describing a student disconnect with the art historical lecture course based on conversations the author had had with students in her courses. The author explains that the book is a companion and a guide for disenfranchised students through a "standard" format taught across universities in the United States. This review of the literature will break down these standard pedagogical methods and objectives in contrast with described innovations in the research toward establishing the ranges used in the study.
A conversation regarding the pedagogy of art history survey courses became visible within a special edition of the College Art Association's Art Journal in 1995 under the title, "Rethinking the art history survey: A practical, somewhat theoretical, and inspirational guide" (Collins, 1995). Only a few years after the World Wide Web was founded, authors of this edition were describing the nature of art history survey courses to improve visual literacy (Clayson & Leja, 1995; Strickland, 1995), thematic approaches (Condon, 1995; Mathews, 1995), feminist and cross cultural views (Dietrich & Smith-Hurd, 1995; Sowell, 1995; Winter & Zerner, 1995), and specific pedagogical approaches such as writing (Mierse, Kiedaisch, & Dinitz, 1995; Moilanen, 1995; Steele, 1995), collaborative learning (Russo, 1995, Moilanen, 1995), artistic production (Elkins, 1995), and rethinking the pedagogical structure in consideration of new directions (Alpers, 1995; Cothren, 1995; Graham, 1995; Hales, 1995; Schaefer, 1995; The 301 Project, 1995). Furthermore, the issue covers the history of the survey text (Dietrich et al., 1995; Schwarzwer, 1995) and proposes in several articles the move away from these traditional texts as a primary source for the course content (Alpers, 1995; Condon, 1995; Mathews, 1995). It is to this compilation of essays that much of the literature and future discussions have focused as Art Journal has yet to answer the call Collins (1995) in his editorial of this issue to continue a series of issues on the topic of pedagogy and the art history survey since this publication.
The 1995 special edition of Art Journal highlighted many of the innovations attempted at the time across a variety of public and private higher education institutions under a theme of rethinking how institutions implement the art history survey course, its objectives, and its place within curricula. Collins' (1995) introduction states:
Originally I wished simply to provide possible solutions to those looking either for ways to reconfigure the old survey or for the resolve to entirely scrap it for methodological approaches… In final analysis, however, I think the collection raises important questions about the viability of what appears to be our discipline's continuing allegiance to the totalizing approach pioneered by the nineteenth-century German art historians and then institutionalized in this country after World War II. The conception of art as a manifestation of large, sweeping historical forces has largely been rejected by so-called new art historians for one that emphasizes its complex embeddedness in the lives of its makers and users (p. 23).
He clearly describes the "institutionalized" nature of the art history course and the desire to move away from the developed status quo in search of new paradigms by these "new art historians." The direction at the time focused less on technological advances and more on pedagogical shifts that were in favor of more learner-centered approaches and post-modern epistemologies focusing on connecting content to an increasingly diverse student body.
Nelson is credited with the next highly cited references in questioning the pedagogical direction of art history survey courses in his articles "The map of art history (1997)" and "The slide lecture, or the work of art ‘history' in the age of mechanical reproduction (2000)." In the former article published in the Art Bulletin, Nelson describes the moves toward categorization of arts and the history of art. In this article, he critically engages in the issues of specifically Janson's (1962) History of Art and its subsequent editions over the following thirty years, questioning the "plotting of time and space in the survey book as a means of understanding the Western narrative of art history and the historical narrative of Western art" (p. 34). Nelson here questions the Western objectivism of the text in relation to the current social world and the varied point of view of the modern audience. He thus calls for the inclusion of more diverse narratives in our discussion of a survey or art history.
In Nelson's later article, "The slide lecture, or the work of art ‘history' in the age of mechanical reproduction (2000)," he opens with the assertion that computers and new technology will have a massive impact on the classroom within universities and museums based on the precedent of photography and its similar impact on classroom instruction. The essay continues to make connections to the previous art historical mastery of the use of photography combined with the lecture. This process makes implications for forming a stronger understanding of how the presence of visuals combined with lectures applies to other disciplines. Nelson makes a case in support of the advanced qualities of strong lectures in the art historical classroom, but also describes the complexity of the practice of lectures from a philosophical viewpoint.
Bersson (2006) similarly discusses the nature of lecture, but with a more critical stance toward the contemporary issue of student engagement. The article follows a round table discussion held in 2003 by the College Art Association and their publication Art Journal to revisit their earlier 1995 special issue. The following questions guide this discussion regarding the art history survey: "why it continues to exist, who teaches it and how is it taught, and what have been effective challenges and innovations to its traditional form (Phelan, et al., 2005)." Art Journal published the engaging discussion in whole describing issues of faculty versus student perception and preparation, a variety of teaching styles, contemporary outcomes, market demand, and assessment. Many of the issues that the round table discusses were broad but discussed in relation to the each of these faculty members' individual experiences. The nature of the discussion will be broken apart later in this literature review in relation to the specific questions of pedagogy, outcomes, and assessment.
Technological implications dominate the most recent decade of conversation surrounding the issue of the art history survey course. A British group, Computers and the History of Art (CHArt) began holding annual conferences in 2001 and continues to publish papers delivered at these conferences in which volume 1 (Bentkowska-Kafel, Cashen, & Gardiner, 2005) includes papers from the first two conferences. It begins with a paper entitled, "History of art in the digital age: Problems and possibilities (Vaughan. 2005)." The group considers many of the philosophical and practical implications of computer and digital technologies as we read works of art describing similar issues to Benjamin's (1968) discussion regarding the nature of visual image and art in the age of mechanical reproduction and now digital production.
The conversation moves back to direct applications of technology within the context of art history survey courses in Donahue-Wallace, La Follette, and Pappas (2009) Teaching Art History with New Technologies. This compilation of reflections and case studies describes various innovations occurring across higher education and provides insight into their effectiveness. The compilation demonstrates a marked shift in the conversation toward connecting directly with schools of education, library sciences, or instructional design in future efforts of reshaping the survey classroom in the growing variety of contexts including both on-ground and online settings. Each of the case studies describes a trend of successful results occurring from these collaborations across the institution while also demonstrating innovative approaches that break from the status quo.
A review of College Art Association (CAA) sessions describing topics related to art history pedagogy since 2003 demonstrates a marked increase in 2006 as described by Wheeler (2006), and the trend fluctuates between three and fifteen papers delivered annually at the conference. Within the association, committees such as Art Historians Interested in Pedagogy and Technology (Formerly the Art History Technology Consortium), the CAA Education Committee, CAA Student and Emerging Professionals Committee, CAA Museum Committee, Pedagogy Issues Forum, Advanced Placement (AP) Program in Art History, the Visual Resources Association, and the Community College Professors of Art and Art History have all chaired sessions with topics covering art history pedagogy since 2003 (College Art Association, 2015a). The list of sessions also often describes poster sessions regarding the topic of the study of teaching and learning delivered by such recent organizations as Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) (arthistoryteachingresources.org) and a rotation by the CAA Education Committee between topics related to art and art historical instruction.
Often the CAA only holds one or two panels discussing the topics of the study of teaching and learning. This constitutes a small proportion in relation to the entire conference. I have made note that these sessions are well attended, as witnessed at the recent panel by the CAA Education Committee, "Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn: Developing a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for Art History" delivered at the 2015 conference in New York to a packed room (College Art Association Education Committee, 2015). The topics questioned the direction of scholarship in the study of teaching and learning and made calls for a journal to legitimize research in the field and aid professors interested in such topics with their tenure process (D'Alleva, 2015). Beyond the CAA, several communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) are continuing to deliver content in the study of teaching and learning. These include Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) and ArtHistorySurvey.com, which are both growing communities of practice that rely on contributions and review of material by a body of experts in the field. These trends describe an increasing population of art historians interested in the study of teaching and learning now more connected through the benefits of the digital age, thus organizing toward delivering formal scholarship in the field. All of the research, however, currently remains disjointed, without formal direction, or established support from the leading scholarly organization, CAA.
Course outcomes or goals are extremely important for student-centered instruction, a common focus of contemporary instructional practice (Driscoll & Wood, 2007). Sometimes referred to as course goals (Suskie, 2009) and listed often as the first section of a course syllabus, these objectives are vitally important for describing expectations of student learning in a course and these expectations guide methods of instruction and student assessments. Often course outcomes align with the long established Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom, 1956) characterizing learning experiences on a scale of comprehension ranging from the memorization of factual knowledge to the highest tier of evaluation requiring students to assess, compare, and form personally critical stances to the material of a course. The tiers in between these learning outcomes consist of comprehension, application, analysis, and synthesis in order of complexity of learning student experiences.
Fink (2003) extends on Bloom's (1956) taxonomy by describing a taxonomy of significant learning. Fink's taxonomy describes six kinds of learning that are important to a learner's life and encouraging lifelong learning in students. These concepts are important to the art history survey course given its place in a liberal arts agenda for broadening student learning experiences within higher education. Fink describes significant experiences under six general categories: foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn. Each category overlaps and interacts with every other category to create significant learning experiences, unlike Bloom's taxonomy that looks to each level as independent learning outcomes with specific types of pedagogical practice.
Art history survey courses have continued to maintain a set of outcomes that describe a democratic approach toward liberal arts education and expectations influencing life-long learning with visual culture. Since the inception of art history survey courses, the population of learners often attend from a variety of academic disciplines and lack the factual information consisting of art terms, names, dates, processes, and styles (Phelan et al., 2003; Yavelberg, 2014b). Outcomes for these introductory courses thus remain broad and describe justifications toward developing visual literacy and an appreciation for the arts. Hales (1995) describes a version of the survey that resembles foundational English courses focusing on method through reading, analysis, comparison and writing rather than a specifically agreed-upon body of material. Such broader outcomes not only meet higher tiers of Bloom's Taxonomy (1956), they also speak to skills that are transferable to other fields of study and encourage lifelong learning dealing with Fink's (2003) significant learning outcomes of human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn.
Regardless of outcomes or a particular canon, a foundational knowledge (Bloom, 1956; Fink, 2003) of vocabulary specific to the analysis of art and comprehension of how that vocabulary is applied is essential to the art history course. The art history textbooks also provide a selected list of artifacts and artists representative of these artististic terms that students memorize to form a broad foundation to inform the research and analysis of more obscure artifacts they may come across. Arnheim (1974) describes the importance of understanding formal concepts in art in relation to visual perception and fundamental psychological connections. These connections are specific to visual literacy, but also form a basis for students to build common knowledge and apply such comprehension in higher domains of learning. Efland (2002) refers to this as symbol-processing, applying constructivist realities specific to a particular domain of knowledge. Outcomes relating to foundational knowledge often consist of easily assessable student outcomes such as:
- Discover visual structure within the work through visual or formal analysis, developing an eye for style, iconography and composition (La Follette, 2008);
- Gain a broad understanding of the historical development of the visual arts through a wide range of cultural artifacts (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012);
- Build a basic art history vocabulary (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012; Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Format and structure an Art History response paper (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012); and
- Develop skills in identifying, describing, and analyzing works of art (College Board, 2015).
- Demonstrate knowledge of several methodologies employed by art historians (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Identify an array of objects and monuments created between 1300 and the present (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010).
Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Integration, and Learning How to Learn.
Art history survey course outcomes also consider Bloom's (1956) higher levels of learning such as comprehension, application, and analysis of learning. Comprehension requires summarizing, demonstrating and discussing. Application moves toward outcomes such as problem solving, and analysis considers finding patterns, organizing concepts and recognizing trends while making learning useful (Bloom, 1956; Fink 2003). Fink (2003) also describes the necessary dimension of learning how to learn, requiring students to develop skills necessary for finding answers and continuing learning in a discipline.
Goals such as research and analysis skills and learning to write about art history or argumentatively comparing and contrasting foundational knowledge are areas that meet these course outcomes. Eisner (2002) describes this type of learning as "differentiation" as students utilize a symbolic system or foundational base and begin to compare and form concepts critical to that material. Comparisons are important across any foundational canon as they raise questions as to the nature of similarities and differences between concepts. Gardner (1982) makes a strong case for comparative analysis in his discussion of comparison demonstrated through analysis of a particular educational exhibit displayed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1973 that emphasized these modes of learning. In his analysis, he describes the nature of comparison to form critical thinking moments within authentic case studies. The exhibit forced the viewer to overcome a lack of knowledge through active engagement in the process of comparison of formal, thematic, and contextual issues related to the objects on display.
Aspects of research and analysis are important for students to develop skills that will allow them to answer questions and apply learning beyond the course. Learning how to learn by developing study and application skills are vitally important for creative problem solving moving forward in their educational and life career. Within art history, learning to look and describe what they are seeing are skills that are unique to the discipline and challenge students to apply foundational knowledge to particular cases either in comparison or in isolation. These qualities relate directly toward a balanced cognitive outcome beneficial for lifelong learning (Eisner, 2002; Gardner, 2008; Pink, 2005). Several course outcomes linked to these levels described in the literature include:
- Order visual findings in a clear and logical way (La Follette, 2008);
- Place the work of art in its cultural context, by drawing inferences from what is observed and relating those visual cues to what is known about the society, economy and culture that shaped it (La Follette, 2008);
- Develop a number of works of art as reference points from which to compare and contrast unknown works to attribute them to specific time and place (La Follette, 2008);
- Develop methods of visual analysis through "close looking" and formal analysis on a variety of works of art and cultural artifacts using developed vocabulary (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012; Cothren, 1995);
- Learn to identify common characteristics among diverse artworks based on periods/styles and themes (College Board, 2015);
- Perform formal, iconographic, and functional analyses of objects and monuments within their social and historical contexts (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Compare the general formal, iconographic, and functional characteristics of hte major artistic period styles from 1400 to the present (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Apply the appropriate method to the discussion of an object or monument (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Develop strong writing skills when describing, analyzing and comparing works of art (College Board, 2015);
- Relate and discuss works of art to their proper cultural and historical origins (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012; College Board, 2015).
Synthesis, Evaluation, and Integration.
The study of art history has the power to fill a cognitive domain that pulls students out of their disciplinary comfort zone and expand their understanding of the world. Skills of synthesis, evaluation, and integration are important not only for engaging the whole mind, but also for remaining flexible toward an uncertain future. The United States federal government currently stresses specific initiatives pressuring education such as STEM (United States Department of Education, 2010) and Gainful Employment (United States Department of Education, 2014). These initiatives stress the occupational preparedness of graduates based on predicted employment futures, however the initiatives remain unconcerned of the broader cognitive implications and inflexibility of graduates of these narrow foci.
The literature describes the broader benefits to developing an appreciation for art and a stronger understanding of visual literacy. It is in these outcomes that the art history survey course moves beyond the foundational knowledge necessary for the field of art historians, and has the potential to engage students in ways that are more meaningful. These outcomes demonstrate the possible broader applications of the course that relate to the diverse audience and implications for lifelong learning. From the outset of the survey course and the development of history of art programs in higher education, the survey course has understood its importance for informing an audience lacking prior knowledge of fundamental artistic or visual concepts (Aronberg Lavin, 1993). The concepts of creativity and visual literacy are essential to contemporary ways of knowing as they relate directly to psychological cognitive development (Arnheim, 1969; 1974; Efland, 2002; Eisner, 2002; Gardner 1982; 1994; 2007).
The conversation continues with regard to demonstrating a place for the arts in general with the growing educational focus on the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Many art educators concerned with the lack of focus of such directions to incorporate arts and humanities, who understand the importance and connectedness of the arts as a way of knowing, pressure the conversation toward a "STEAM" philosophy by adding the "A" for "Arts" into the existing acronym. These instructors incorporate connections between the various disciplines within the practice of art making or artistic research (Bequette & Bequette, 2012).
Howard Gardner (1982) expresses the interconnectedness of the arts to human development and cognition through his psychological studies. He suggests that aesthetic appreciation or study helps to balance cognitively stringent study in other domains given that "such a tendency toward exclusive concentration on scientific quandaries may become sufficiently dominating that, as a precaution, one should perhaps deliberately set aside time for involving faculties that would normally fall into disuse" (p. 323). The argument is that knowledge is more difficult to attain later in life and one should remain flexible or prepared by remaining open to other domains.
Gardner (1982; 1994) also describes the relationship of the artwork to various types of viewers. In his studies, he suggests that the artwork resides in the center between the artist and audience member and between the critic and performer. Eisner (2002) makes a similar distinction between connoisseurship and criticism with regard to the audience of a work of art. The goals for an art history survey course should be to engage students in the task of becoming active audience members toward a level of connoisseurship. These distinctly different viewing angles are important to understanding the instructor's relationship to the student audience given that many attend the art history survey course often apprehensive to the domain of fine arts, viewing it as elitist (Phelan et al., 2005). A majority of students, especially students enrolled in these courses as a general distribution requirement outside of their domain of study, thus reside outside of even the boundaries of audience members upon enrolling into the course. It would stand to reason that an outcome for the course would be to develop student's understanding of art toward a cognitive domain beyond the levels of favoritism or a distinction of beauty and realism toward understanding of artistic expressiveness, style, and form (Parsons, 1987). It would be a loftier goal if such an introductory course expressed a desire toward autonomy (Parsons, 1987), or the perspective of a critic (Eisner, 2002; Gardner, 1982) as these would align with the highest domain of learning: evaluation (Bloom, 1956).
The bridge toward these higher level cognitive domains and allowing students to step out of the shadows into the perspective of an active audience member is developing a difference between looking as the lower tiers of Bloom's (1956) and Fink's (2003) taxonomies and the higher levels of understanding. Arnheim (1969) states this relationship of looking and understanding as cognitively aligned between the differences of laymen and experts. Experts see more when provided with a visual problem because they have more formal information to compare their visual problem to allowing them to form more critical judgements through personal experience. Laymen simply are not seeing the same thing that experts see, and experts see differently based on their own developed canon of retained information.
Outcomes related to fostering visual literacy and developing cognitive flexibility through artistic research and analysis should connect students to the material in a more critical way, engaging them in learning something important about themselves (Fink, 2003). By breaking students from their comfortable disciplines and engaging them in creative thinking, perhaps by bringing them closer to the domain of the artist, critic, or expert through analysis and comparisons, they will become more flexible to the demands of future learning and employment (Eisner, 2002; Gardner, 2008; Pink, 2005). Possible outcomes listed in the literature under these categories include:
- Complex reasoning, that is, the understanding of ambiguity in form and content, a challenge which requires thinking of multiple possible meanings and hypotheses to explain why an artist made the work (La Follette, 2008);
- Critical distinction, learning to recognize innovation or the degree to which a work challenges convention and to evaluate various interpretations of the work by others, situating one's own interpretation and reasoning in relation to these (La Follette, 2008);
- Analyze the function and intention of art exhibitions (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010);
- Demonstrate an ability to critically analyze a variety of texts in order to complete class assignments and develop close analysis skills of text and objects in conjunction with each other (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012).
Caring and the Human Dimension.
Fink (2003) describes the connections between pedagogical imperatives of caring and the human dimension for significant learning experiences. These are often described in outcomes related to the connectedness of art and its context within visual cultures. To provide significant learning experiences, Fink describes the necessity to connect course information to individual learners. Learners that find meaningful connections to learning experiences engage more fully and make stronger cognitive connections. To create meaningful knowledge, knowledge must scaffold from previous experience (Arnheim, 1969). The concept of scaffolding and forming connections assumes three cognitive orientations: symbol-processing, sociocultural perspectives, and the concept that individuals form their own realities. These concepts of cognition further the cognitive developmental directions described by Piaget and Vygotsky (Efland, 2002).
Empirical pedagogical objectives for the art history survey course directly relate a canon of terms to analytical methods and further applying these connections formally through a critical understanding of connections in the formal, thematic, and contextual elements of artistic artifacts. Course objectives of this type focus on connecting students with a set of pre-compiled structure or canon of art masterpieces. These objectives assume a grand narrative and leave little or no room for "devising alternative knowledge structures that either contest the progress notion or identify criteria of excellence other than the work's placement on a timeline" (Efland, 2002, p. 98). The empirical course objectives may bring students to higher levels of learning in terms of the tiered nature of Bloom's (1956) taxonomy, but may not connect with learners connecting experience in a socio-cultural or post-modern way.
Socio-cultural and post-modern epistemologies seek to situate learning in the contexts of the physical and social context. Learning outcomes seek to connect course material to authentic issues that may be experienced by the learner. These outcomes seek to meet directly Fink's (2003) taxonomy in their connection to student's realities and a personal, human dimension and increase caring in the learning process. These objectives also expand student understanding of visual culture providing potential opportunities for students to decode the values and ideas embedded in popular culture as well as fine arts (Eisner, 2002). It is important for students to gain such critical perspective through contemporary connections because it will not only make the learning experience more significant or authentic, the focus on visual culture will allow students to become well-informed citizens in our visual world. Outcomes discussed in the literature related to these dimensions include:
- Cultivate an appreciation for all styles of art (College Board, 2015);
- Place the work of art in its cultural context, by drawing inferences from what is observed and relating those visual cues to what is known about the society, economy and culture that shaped it (La Follette, 2008);
- Relate and discuss works of art to their proper cultural and historical origins (Art History Teaching Resources, 2012; College Board, 2015).
21st Century Skills and Technological Literacies.
The current digital age is ushering in a many new ways of thinking and requiring courses to rethink objectives to meet the demands of the 21st century (Hainline, Gaines, Feather, Padilla, & Terry, 2010; Vaughan, 2005). The Partnership for 21st century skills (2002) publishes an inventory of skills they believe are now necessary for the 21st century learner to attain to be successful in this new global digital age. Beyond the foundational learning of the subject of art history, the goals should include emphasizing learning skills including information and communication skills, thinking and problem solving skills, and interpersonal and self-directional skills similar to Fink's (2003) learning to learn. The elements continue with using 21st century tools, teaching within the global context expanding beyond the classroom walls, and teaching specific content unique to this new world including global awareness, civic literacy, and financial, economic and business literacy. The objective must meet the demands of a variety of learning styles, and implement outcomes that foster competitiveness. Course objectives specific to the digital age may include:
- Develop an understanding of Copyright as related to visual cultural artifacts (College Art Association, 2015b; Vaughn, 2002);
- Develop an understanding of problems of analysis and interpretation based on the digital versus physical context (Collins, 1995; Vaughn, 2002);
- Develop an understanding of global concerns and interpretations of visual artifacts (Partnership of 21st Century Skills, 2002);
- Development of digital communication skills and group work (Partnership of 21st Century Skills, 2002);
- Development of digital research and self-directional problem solving skills (Partnership of 21st Century Skills, 2002);
The discussion in the literature related to the art history survey course focuses heavily on pedagogical methods expressing innovations in the field. A study of pedagogical methods in total would be impossible given the field of education. This section focuses on developing ranges of published pedagogical practices describing specifically the art history survey course or referring to the range of options discussed in pedagogical reflections in an effort to inform the initial survey options of the Delphi study.
To restate the traditional methods of instruction and assessment in art history survey courses, Minor (1994) and Maranci (2005) explain the outcomes of the course cover content related to a chronologically described narrative of the western canon of art history constructed by one of three possible leading textbooks: Janson's History of Art (Janson et al., 2011), Gardner's Art Through the Ages (Kleiner, 2013), or Marilyn Stockstad's Art History (Stokstad & Cothren, 2013). The method to deliver course content is a lecture format presented to classes ranging from thirty students to several hundred, depending on the institution, over two or more terms breaking the material into chronological chunks. Student assessments take the form of a midterm and final exam along with a term paper. The exams often consist of slide identifications asking students to recall from memory names, dates, media, styles, and perhaps one or two observations based on the lectures and reading. The tests may also require students to respond to short answer questions, and perhaps one or two compare and contrast analyses. A term paper will typically vary based on instructor requirements, but often asks students to apply research skills toward a fashioned set of topics related to the course material. Course outcomes target lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy (1956) and seek standardized knowledge and comprehension, often expecting students to have already developed foundational research writing skills prior to attending the course.
Western versus Global.
A leading contemporary debate with regard to the art history survey course is the issue of the western versus a more global perspective of the content delivered. Several articles in the 1995 Art Journal describe the issue of the western canonicity and attempted shifts away from the canon to a more global view, incorporating more cultures. Mark Graham (1995) states, "The survey's traditional concentration on the art of the West now derives mostly from a set of rigid assumptions about what must be understood, in the end, as a claim for a natural canon of Western artistic and moral superiority (p. 30)." His assertion is that the canon is a constructed colonial perspective based on the traditions of art history developed from eighteenth-century art historians and progressed to modern time.
Hales (1995) mirrors the statements by Graham (1995) explaining that:
This urge to colonize is more the case in history of art than in other academic disciplines, because other disciplines in the American system of higher education rarely if ever propose to present the sum of accumulated knowledge in a coherent, ideally seamless, chronological journey lasting exactly two semesters and traveling from the beginning of human history to the immediate present (p. 65).
The very act of changing the survey from this Western canon is thus a political act and to add further cultures into the course demands dropping current content due to the limitations of time. Sowell (1995) suggested a cross-cultural survey taught in addition to the traditional survey course, but Hales suggested a course that divides the content into chronological chunks with thematic elements cross-culturally described within each. Hales further describes the issues with putting this pedagogical design into practice as individual instructors often shifted the focus of the course toward their personal areas of expertise and subverted the structure toward the traditional Western perspective.
The later roundtable discussion by Phelan et al. (2005) continues to describe this very issue with the survey. Costache, in this discussion describes the issues with the sporadic links to other cultures, especially with an increasingly diverse student population. Costache describes turning the survey into more of a dialogue allowing students to come to terms with the survey as a discovery process. Costache describes that her course focuses on the process of art history and meaning making rather than delivering the strict canon attempting to connect to the students on a personal level.
The issue with a global art history survey is an extremely political issue that is discussed at length in James Elkins (2007b) edited volume, Is Art History Global? The volume raises many further questions assuming this initial question. Elkins and the subsequent authors of the text describe not only the issues of perspective within the traditional survey, but also the very nature of art history as a deeply Western practice with standards of knowledge production that do not readily translate to other cultures' meaning-making with regard to their visual artifacts. By moving to a more global art historical discipline, art history seems to dissolve into image studies or visual studies. Elkins (2007a) further describes that this Western perspective is perpetuated by the research in the field of art history given the statistics of the leading artists that are researched, leading to an extremely imbalanced research agenda and is further stressed through the global versus local imbalance in curatorial exhibits (Kesner, 2007).
In our increasingly globalized world, the nature of the Western canon of art history should be revisited considering new research and pedagogical methods that break from the imperialistic nature of this current perspective. Errington (2007), Kaufmann (2007), and Okeke-Agulu (2007) describe the many socio-political issues maintained within the status quo of the Western canon and subjective categorization and reading of artistic artifacts across cultures. Attempts to move away from the western canon have political and social implications that prove to be challenging to not only the pedagogy of the survey course, but also the entire paradigm of art historical research toward more democratized possibilities. Minor (1994) suggests that this shift will probably result in the invention of new ways of sorting out historical data of art and perhaps a new construct of art history that incorporates multiple voices. The study must not only question the possible desire toward a more global approach, but also practical methods for doing so within course given this debate.
A course that breaks from the western mold may instead look toward visual culture education (Winter & Zerner, 1995). Dancum (2010) sets forth seven principles that may guide art historical themes or lenses for lessons that relate to a more global approach. Dancum suggests that in looking at visual culture, lessons should focus on power, ideology, representation, seduction, gaze, intertextuality, multimodality, and looking into the future. Seen broadly, these principles may be discussed with regard to any culture and connections may form cross-culturally through such analyses.
Ambugry (2011) describes several pedagogical exercises that allow students to explore concepts of visual narrative in an effort to get to a more culturally diverse perspective on art. The projects described are for an art education course, but many of the lessons taught in art education may be beneficial for this discussion about art history pedagogy. In these described exercises, Ambugry pushes students to push past their comfort zones by asking them to interview other viewers of art and analyze artworks or view works of art through different identity and cultural lenses. Discussions such as these within art history survey may allow students to not only connect at a personal level but also see past their personal identity to view art from different perspectives.
Similarly, Braxter (2012) and Reed (1995) ask students to engage student's personal life experiences to engage with art on a safer plane that expands their connections with other cultures and artistic artifacts by comparing their personal snapshots with artworks discussed in the class through dialogic questioning. Rose (2012) utilizes family heirlooms in much the same way to engage students in art history. Rose provides the objectives of forming an articulated, expansive conception of art, understanding the importance of context, and forming a connection with art and human experience. Baxter, Reed, and Rose provide opportunities for students to tie their personal and cultural identities to the course material while open discussion about the results of these exercises may broaden the global understanding of art across the students in the class.
Chronological versus Thematic Approaches.
The status quo relies on a narrative structured chronologically in order to describe a history that is positivist, which is to say that our present styles and artistic processes are constructed from previous generations in a progressive manner. This is the common approach taken by many of the art historical texts, but neglects outliers to this progressive narrative and does a possible disservice to other views or "spaces" (Nelson, 1997). This narrative assumes that nature of artistic movements and styles is a linear process or even a cyclical one (Graham, 1995; Hales, 1995; Schwarzer, 1995). Nelson (1997) further postulates the potentiality of art histories based on "function, meaning, form, social and economic context, as well as time and space" (p. 40).
Described by Graham (1995), a thematic approach can break away from the traditional chronological story of art. Graham's global themes moves toward a thematic approach, but remains fixed to a chronological sectioning of these themes, thus remaining tied to a chronological narrative. By breaking down the standard chronological narrative, students may learn about larger issues and topics, seeing how things take place in one time and relate to similar topics in other cultures and times bringing about connections to the contemporary world (Yavelberg, 2014b). Graham (1995) further describes what such a thematic approach might look like:
The alternative might not be a survey at all, but an introductory course based on a series of questions rather than a set of universal laws. The result of this more radical restructuring might be a series of courses similar to those that form the basis of the fundamental courses in most English departments: courses whose outcome is the mastery of a method - close reading, analytical comparison, critical writing - rather than an agreed-upon body of subject matter. (p. 69)
This thematic approach thus may serve to overcome outcomes related to art historical method rather than the coverage of a specific Western canon. The result would be a critical understanding of visual culture possibly delivered much in the same vein as Clayson & Leja (1995) or Cothren (1995).
Textbooks versus Open Educational Resources.
Nelson (1997) describes the possibility for the World Wide Web to break down the traditional map and perspective of art history and open it up to multiple voices, views, and spaces. Nelson predicts a future where the availability of content may break down the existing narrative of the published texts by offering alternative views. The current art history textbooks describe a nineteenth-century vision of history describing this linear or cyclical narrative (Schwarzer, 1995). Publishers provide survey textbooks that allow for a structured pedagogical experience, but limit the perspective of art history to a single voice, often omitting non-Western art or providing limited engagement with such alternative subjects. These textbooks often cost well over $100 and publishers invest significant resources in the way of personnel, copyright management, production, and pedagogical resources to remain competitive in the field ruled by several key titles (Weidman, 2007).
The benefits for a single textbook are a clear narrative to deliver to students with easily assessed objectives mirroring the content of the text. Textbooks, however limit the critical experience and further a dominant narrative perpetuated from the nineteenth century, remaining inflexible to contemporary perspectives in the field despite their multiple editions (Yavelberg, 2014b). The textbook market continually struggles to adapt to these market demands for inclusion with editions coming out more and more frequently, and often to criticisms regarding choices (Cornish, Carinci, & Noel, 2012; Kennedy, 2006; Levine & Silver, 2006; Peers, 2006)
An alternative to the published textbook is the use of reserved readings or readily accessible materials freely distributed over the Internet. The open educational resource (OER) movement has been noted as a possible disruption to the status quo of the ivory tower and control of publishers providing possibilities for a radically different approach to the delivery and consumption of education (Broekman, Hall, Byfield, Hides, & Worthington, 2015; Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010; Ko & Rossen, 2008). The movement also has strong implications for the future of Art History Survey (Allen & Donahue-Wallace, 2008). Institutions such as Khan Academy have supported developments such as Harris and Zucker's SmartHistory focusing on delivering the history of art in short learning modules, now adapted into a platform that drives personal growth and assessment (Khan Academy, 2015). UNESCO (2012), already housing valuable resources covering art historical monuments, declared their commitment to the development of OERs to support the development of communities. Furthermore, museum websites have continually dedicated themselves to freely supporting the public's understanding of art and art history. Sites such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's (2015) Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, brings together various authors providing thematic essays pertaining to art historical topics covered throughout the museum's collection. The use of such sources may provide flexibility in terms of content while providing multiple voices or alternative perspectives to the prominent narratives outlined by the dominant survey textbooks. The multiple voices provide further opportunities for engaging students in critical thinking by allowing them to review multiple perspectives on a single topic.
Standardized Assessments, Writing Intensive Approaches, or Authentic Assessments.
The standard of the survey as described by Maranci (2005) consists of assessments that test content knowledge through a nearly standardized format consisting of slide identification, short-answer identifications, slide comparisons, and possibly an essay question or an element of unknown artworks presented to test critical thinking and application skills. Test banks delivered to instructors by the publishers of the survey text further this standard, allowing instructors to compile their tests using these sets of predefined questions. Students study and pass standard assessments such as these much in the manner that Maranci describes: Flashcards for memorization, standard outlines for short-answer, comparisons, and essay questions, and when all else fails, guessing, especially for multiple-choice exams. These standard exams hardly test higher domains of Bloom's (1956) or Fink's (2003) taxonomies as they encourage memorization of content knowledge and limited critical thinking or application skills, but also allow instructors challenged with hundreds of students an efficient means of assessment in terms of grading.
Concannon describes the frustration about the lack of shared resources in the scholarship of teaching and learning in art history with regard to assessment and grading. Concannon refers instead to broader texts on assessment and grading published under the study of education as resources that should be consulted for stronger art history teaching. Essentially, instructors need to design assessments with outcomes in mind and effective and transparent methods of grading (Phelan et al., 2005). Several publications directly related to the art history survey course describe alternatives to standard forms of assessment such as Russo's (1995) collaborative assessment model, approaches such as writing intensive models (Mierse, Keidaisch, & Dinitz, 1995; Moilanen, 1995), or authentic assessments may serve as pedagogical methods that reach toward higher levels of learning.
Writing intensive models and writing across the curriculum have been noted to provide a positive influence resulting in "writing-to-learn pedagogy, moving away from the lecture/exam format, or seeing the importance of immersing students in discipline-specific ways of making meaning through writing" (Melzer, 2009, p. 258). The approach to writing is often difficult for students who have not previously encountered art within an academic context. Engaging students in writing intensive course designs allows students to focus attention on concepts and artifacts in an exploratory manner and can build on the higher levels of Bloom's (1956) and Fink's (2003) taxonomies through comparison, research, and critical analysis. Melzer (2009) describes a specific journaling assignment offered within an art history course, "The journal is a space for you to investigate your own thoughts, reactions, and feelings on particular art ideas and works. I'm asking you to make connections between what you are learning and what you have already experienced" (p. 247). This assignment expresses the constructivist pedagogical value of writing as it seeks to connect the student's individual lived experiences to the discipline specific knowledge.
Writing about art is also a very discipline specific style of writing that comes with its own set of challenges including the use of discipline-specific language and terminology, various types of individual and comparative analyses, and the use of a standard writing style such as Modern Language Association or Chicago, which may be outside of the student's preferred discipline. Marianci (2005) explains these challenges and her observations are mirrored in other excellent texts that have been developed to support discipline-specific writing in the arts such as Barnet's (2015) A Short Guide to Writing About Art now in its eleventh edition, Sayre's (2009) Writing About Art in its sixth edition, and Munsterberg's (2009) WritingAboutArt.org a website that also includes a print version of a frequently updated text. Each of these texts includes a rationale for writing about art, guides to different methods of analysis, and sample essays from both students and notable critical essays in art history to serve as guides for academic practice.
Arthur Danto (1994) stated about art, "Until one tries to write about it, the work of art remains a sort of aesthetic blur… After seeing the work, write about it. You cannot be satisfied for very long in simply putting down what you felt. You have to go further" (p.14). Writing about art is important for students to apply discipline-specific terminology and to come to personal terms with the visual content that they encounter. In large lectures, a student may become isolated, but writing can form individual connections with the material and inform student's perceptions. As Danto states, it allows the writer to dig deeper into the material and come to personal terms with what is often a very foreign stimulus. Writing intensive approaches often take the form of journaling assignments, analyses, and researched term papers. The instructor can also consider the audience of the assignments to be between the student and the instructor, peer reviews, or even sharing with a wider audience (Melzer, 2009; Mierse, Keidaisch, & Dinitz, 1995; Moilanen, 1995; Selden-Barnes, 2009).
In moving a step further away from the traditional assessment models of slide memorization exams, Wiggins (2011) suggests utilizing authentic assessments. Wiggins explains that authentic assessments "replicate the challenges and standards of performance that typically face writers, businesspeople, scientists, community leaders, designers, or historians. These include writing essays and reports, conducting individual and group research, designing proposals and mock-ups, assembling portfolios, and so on" (p. 81-82). More importantly, authentic assessments require direct assessment of individual student outcomes allowing for response and dialogue. Projects that place students within actual challenges and standards of the field of art history thus create authentic connections between the material and its application, revealing achievement in a qualitative manner rather than the often mechanical checking of a standardized exam. Authentic assessments can be conducted in an exam model, but Wiggins expresses that the true test should be designed with the ability to enable students toward further learning through constructive feedback.
Meanwhile, authentic research projects within an art history course may reflect a standard practical practice of the field. A degree in art history can lead to many career options including museum, gallery, or library work, teaching, appraisal and dealing, preservation and conservation, art law, and governmental or organizational support of the arts. These fields leave open the door for many possible authentic projects where students can apply content knowledge toward problems that test their critical understanding. Projects could include developing a research presentation to teach their peers, curate a museum or gallery space, conduct case studies on issues of copyright or law, or even produce categorical analyses (Donahue-Wallace & Baxter, 2010). In designing authentic projects, there are many noted constraints and concerns. These strategies are often costly in terms of time, students may lack skills or their linguistic demands may result in equity issues, and the increased validity often results in a decrease of reliability where results are often inconsistent. In addition, when providing feedback, rubrics become a necessity to provide the structure to assess and develop a dialogue with students by providing transparent expectations (Montgomery, 2002).
Individual versus Team-Based Learning.
The standard art history classroom may vary from a classroom holding thirty students to an auditorium housing hundreds. Commonly the course delivers information to students as individuals and assesses students on an individual basis as well. Team-Based Learning (TBL) provides an alternative to the traditional individualized model of instruction (Ball & Kilroy-Ewbank, 2014, Moilanen, 1995). TBL is an instructional strategy that originated with Larry Michaelsen in the late 1970s in response to growing class sizes. TBL expands from small group assignments by transforming these group assignments into more powerful learning experiences based on the scholarly literature on the development and management of teams. To produce stronger outcomes, TBL requires knowledge of effective teamwork and design for effective teams that simply placing students into groups does not provide (Michaelsen, Knight, Fink, 2002).
This instructional strategy is a method that may break from the individualized approach of the lecture class by bringing students together with the instructor to share ideas, become involved in the content, seek solutions to authentic problems, and engage in a form of peer review. This instructional strategy requires energy and preparation Fink (2002) notes that TBL:
- Transforms "small groups" into "teams,"
- Transforms a technique into a strategy,
- Transforms the quality of student learning,
- And, for many teachers, transforms or restores the joy of teaching (p. 4).
These transformations go a long way toward reaching higher levels of learning and increasing engagement, not only for students held accountable by their peers, but also for instructors. Michelson, Knight, and Fink, also began the Team-Based Learning Collaborative (2013) that conducts conferences and shares resources through their website. These resources are a starting point for any instructor looking for a way to begin with utilizing this teaching strategy in their courses.
Russo (1995) describes his use of a collaborative learning / assessment model that he found to be successful in his courses where course material is broken up for groups to work together to discuss significant information and present to the class. Donahue-Wallace and Baxter (2010) utilized TBL to bring cohesion to lectures through small group discussions of approximately five students prior to their individual completion of module problems in their 300 student course sections. Moilanen (1995) describes the structure of a group-writing project on a single work of art. Also, many problem-based learning assignments or authentic assessments can be easily altered to include TBL such as curating a museum exhibition or even conducting library research such as with Gendron and Sclippa's (2014) description of librarians teaming with art historians to increase assessment of student learning and improve library-based research assignments. Donahue-Wallace and Baxter (2010) utilized problem-based methodologies alongside their group assignments seeing no change in completion, but higher levels of learning. Similarly, Selden Barnes (2009) describes a hands-on writing assignment that teams students together for collaborative writing utilizing sticky notes to develop analyses and arguments through peer discussions.
On-Ground versus Hybrid versus Online Delivery. The higher education landscape has expanded to various methods of delivering courses. The traditional, on-ground, method physically requires students to attend class sessions. Recent developments in technology and learning management systems at colleges and universities now also allow students to enroll in hybrid classes that push a percentage of the physical class time into a digital space, or to enroll in fully online courses delivering content virtually through synchronous or asynchronous designs. As this study focuses on a move away from the traditional course, it would seem natural to look at these different methods of course delivery; however, the specifics of these areas are complex with other engagement issues that would broaden the focus of this study beyond management. This study expects to highlight trends within the on-ground class in that these suggestions may influence course designs in other digital formats.
Use of Technology.
Though this study is limited to the on-ground art history survey course, technology has progressed much from the time of the first art history programs. Institutional art and image collections strengthened early art history programs, where visual reference and the lecture paired for a very different instructional style. The development of the slide projector further allowed for a classroom experience that was unlike other courses in its allowance for content delivery. Nelson (2000) argues, "New computer technologies will make classrooms "smart" and more efficient and will greatly extend access to the visual for the audiences of well-equipped and well-endowed universities and museums" (p. 414). Nelson describes a transformed art history classroom where the slide and access to content can greatly expand the lecture experience and the best of what art historical lectures are about, connecting word with image, a skill for which other disciplines are less comfortable.
This access and presentation of information also provides further opportunities (Carpenter & Cifuentes, 2011). Vaughan (2005) describes the changing nature of information technology and the implications for knowledge and art history. Information technology continually raises questions regarding the quality of artistic reproductions both in resolution and in terms of emotive response. Issues of copyright also become relevant to this conversation. Furthermore, there is opportunity to discuss the nature of analysis and classification of artworks as databases and tools become available.
The College Art Association includes sessions annually from Art Historians Interested in Pedagogy and Technology (AHPT) and CHArt have frequently produced research on art history and the use of technology within pedagogical practice. More specifically, Donahue-Wallace et al. (2008) compiled a book of recent research in this area of technology and the art history classroom. Topics referring to practical application of technology looked at various tools for mapping art history and course management. All of the research studies describe a strong relationship between the instructional technologists or technology support services on campus toward successful pedagogical implementation.
The research in teaching is diverse and many radical approaches stand as outliers with promise of engagement and results in higher levels of cognition. Recent buzz in pedagogy describes methods for developing flipped classrooms (Giuntini, 2013), incorporating gamified designs (Sheldon, 2012, Yavelberg, 2014a), and the use of music within the survey course (Schmunk, 1995). These designs, among others are relatively new with very little research, especially within art history survey courses. Practices such as flipped classrooms and gamification may allow for increased engagement by fostering discussions, developing new systems of reward and assessment, and support authentic or problem-based learning. Radical projects such as incorporating music (Schmunk, 1995) or mind mapping (Sandell, 2015; Yavelberg, 2013) further represent pedagogical concepts that think beyond the traditional art historical classroom, but may also be too radical to be widely incorporated by the art historical field. As such, such concepts will remain out of the initial Delphi survey, but it is important to note that such practices may still develop within the conversation.
Gaps in Research
In 1995, when Collins brought together various articles on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in the art history survey for Art Journal, he expressed the lack of articles and the desire for a series of issues that would maintain a discussion and propel the survey course into the new millennium. This conversation soon ended and the art history community has had sporadic engagement in the topic since. The topic next arose in 2000 with Nelson's articles regarding the slide lecture, and soon afterward in 2003 when Art Journal revisited the 1995 issue with a roundtable discussion of the current scholars in the field focused on SoTL in the art history survey.
Over the past decade, groups of art historians interested in the topic have developed groups dedicated to the topic of SoTL but with varied success due to the broad nature of the topic and the lack of training that art historians teaching the subject have with the study of education and college teaching. Recent enthusiasm for the online community Art History Teacher Resources and the success of conference sessions have begun calls for a journal on the topic to validate research and highlight achievements in this field. Studies in the field currently take the form of singular interventions and reflective case studies that suggest possible new directions and their benefits, but do not formally support such arguments in a manner that much of educational research often requires.
The study of teaching and learning in art history, and specifically the art history survey, currently lacks a direction for research or a consensus in the field of whether research is truly necessary. The few art historians engaged with these issues may currently be the outliers of a professional crowd that is content with the status quo. The broader field may not be finding the same challenges of meeting student outcomes and forming engagement with the material. There has not been a large-scale study on the subject that provides an answer to the pedagogical imperatives of the field. Such a study may serve as a springboard for focused research on the topic of the art history survey course.
Summary and Conclusion
An overview of the literature demonstrates a long-standing debate with regard to the desired outcomes and pedagogical methods of the art history survey course. The outcomes and pedagogical methods of the art history survey course traditionally align with the base levels of both Blooms' (1956) and Fink's (2002) taxonomies and lack attention to desirable 21st century skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2002). Though there have been active calls for a rethinking of or a departure from the traditional lecture course, these calls have been met sporadically by reflections from art historians in the field on their specific interventions but not by rigorous academic research. The field of education currently provides rich alternatives to the standardized practices of slide lectures; however, professors in the field of art history often lack the resources or training to implement new pedagogical directions. A study developing a consensus of the current issues of outcomes and pedagogical practice within the discipline may provide insight and direction for the next century.
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