Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Chronicle of Higher Education

I was delighted to learn, rather late last night, that smARThistory was mentioned twice in the past two days. It was mentioned in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education yesterday by David L. Wheeler, titled "It's Not Your Father's Art-History Intro: Professors Talk About How They Are Shaking Up Survey Courses." It is based on pedagogic issues raised at last week's College Art Association annual conference. Susan Ball, CAA's executive director is quoted as are a three other art historian. Then smartest is mentioned, In a separate session at the meeting -- "Teaching Art History Online"--... Two faculty members at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, told about "vodcasts," a solution to the competition between text and images on a computer screen. The two teachers record audio explanations of the artworks that play while the students are looking at the images. Samples can be found at http://www.smarthistory.blogspot.com The second mention was very generous indeed. It was written by Suhas Deshpande, Technology Assessment Analyst for the Canadian Heritage Information Network, in his blog Technology & Culture he wrote in part: smARThistory blog: effective podcasting and vodcasting "Art historians Beth Harris and Steven Zucker have an incredible art history blog that features highly effective podcasts and vodcasts... Their podcast on Cezanne (Cezanne Still Life at MoMA) is informative and provocative at the same time, owing to Beth Harris's avowed lack of admiration for Cezanne.... This site is a model for museums and art galleries who would like to use podcasts and vodcasts to feature content from their collections." Technology & Culture (www.thirdplanet.com) is a terrific edublog that touchs on numerous issues that I find particularly important and is well worth a visit.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Manet's Olympia: a New Vod-cast

Click here to watch our latest vod-cast about Edouard Manet's famous and scandalous painting, Olympia (1865). It was made with Artstor's Offline Image Viewer and Camtasia.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My first attempt at a walking tour podcast

Download this podcast to your MP3 player and listen in front of the buildings being discussed. Start at the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and West 10th Street. If possible, listen on a color iPod, that way you also get to see the pictures. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, all you need to do is listen as you stand before the actual buildings. click here

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Febru-wary: Cupertino, Syracuse, Boston This month is out of control. Last spring Beth and I decided to submit a paper to a panel on online teaching, largely based upon our then upcoming conference, to the College Art Association’s annual extravaganza. CAA is, after all, the single most important annual conference for studio art professors and art historians. Our paper on the digital repository as active learning environment was accepted and all was well. I could, in good conscience certainly leave my graduate contemporary art students and my architecture students to undertake an appropriate assignment for the one class I would miss and I was grateful that my third class, a survey of modern art, is taught entirely online. What I hadn’t anticipated was that two additional February Wednesdays and Thursdays would also pull me from the classroom. As mentioned in a previous post, our presentation on podcasting was especially well received last December at the SUNY TLT (Teaching and Learning with Technology) conference. Alexandra Pickett, who was in attendance, asked that we deliver that same paper at the MID/AC Summit that she was organizing for mid-February. Since this was scheduled to take place on a day I wasn’t teaching, I agreed. Little did I then know that my spring schedule would be changed. Finally, David Porush Director of Learning Environments and all things related to DL at SUNY announced that he wanted Beth and me to join him and several SUNY colleagues including Michael Feldstein at Apple Computer in Cupertino to meet with their senior VP for education and discuss possible projects. I like to think that our podcasting efforts have finally been recognized by the anointed inhabitants of Silicon Valley, but, in fact, I have no such evidence. Needless to say I said yes even before the date was set. That was a mistake. The date for the trip to Apple was set without my input and it finally dawned on me that I would be missing three consecutive classes. I have never done that before and take the interests of my students far to seriously to let such a thing happen. I was on the verge of bowing out of at least one of these February jaunts when I finally recognized that the problem was also at least part of the solution. I will emphatically NOT podcast my lectures. Course-casting seems to me to be by far the least desirable use of podcasting. To simply record an audio or even a video file of a professor chatting away and then foist this upon innocent students seems to me a kind of torture. Lectures may well have some real value in the classroom but to deprive students of the ability to interact is to kill that value. Perhaps there are emergency situations where a course-cast makes sense, Tulane might make a persuasive argument, but being taken out to dinner by Apple doesn’t quaify. So here is what I’m doing for my History of New York Architecture class. The first week that I am away Dr, Celia Bergoffen, a leading urban archeologist, will teach in my stead. But in the second week, I will have my students download, via Itunes or my website, a series of podcasts that I have already recorded of a multi-part architectural walking tour in the West Village, though I still have to edit the files and upload them. Next week I will be adding an additional segment with Dr. Mathew Postal, a leading architectural historian of New York who works for the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Together we will explore the cast iron district in SoHo. So what will happen, I hope, is that each student will listen to our discussion in front of the building we are discussing thus taking advantage of the ipod’s mobility while giving the students the greater flexibility than a group walking tour affords. To overcome the unidirectional limitation of the podcast, that is, I speak, they listen, I have required that each student take four digital photos while on their private walking tour and that these photos then be uploaded to Flickr where the students are to add indepth annotations and can ask questions. The following week, each is to roam the city and populate our flickr page with buildings and architectural details that they find compelling. I find this a very powerful teaching tool. I get to actually discover not just what, but how the students see. I will thus have a semester’s worth of student-generated material to work with. My fingers are crossed. I’ll let you know how all this goes. .

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mary Cassatt's The Cup of Tea

Here's another podcast -- this time about The Cup of Tea (c. 1879)by the American artist Mary Cassatt which is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We talk about the freedom of the brushwork and the lack of narrative structure, features which would have disturbed most viewers in the 1880s. Click here to download or listen with the player below.