What matters most to you in your teaching?
How are you using technology as a tool to achieve your teaching goals?
How have your students responded to your use of technology?
What new goals do you have for using technology in teaching?
How could the University better facilitate the use of technology in instruction?
Provide materials with optimum quality
Use authentic materials
Class web site
Providing Students with the Best Materials
I believe that students in Art History should be taught how to see and to think about what they are seeing. Visual analysis is a part of the basic training in Art History and it is very important to have the appropriate images with optimum quality to teach this skill.
It is important to provide students with the best materials to work with. I have found that posting pictures on the web site is extremely helpful because there are not enough texts on Korean art history published in the West that have good illustrations. Photocopies do not do justice to the artwork, so digital technology is very important in allowing students to access visual material. I also give students the URLs of museum web sites for their research because they are very good resources. Some Asian museums such as the Ho-Am Art Museum in Seoul and the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka provide reliable information and post excellent images of Korean art. By visiting these web sites, students get more recent and better information than they would get from any English language printed material.
I try to teach students how to look at objects of art and visual culture and to think about what they see. Visual analysis is part of the basic training in Art History and it is very important to have the appropriate images with optimum quality to teach this skill. For reading textual materials we can easily provide photocopies without losing or deprecating the meaning of the texts but this does not apply to the study of visual culture.
My PowerPoint lectures are available on the course web site. In addition to seeing the PowerPoint presentations in class, students can download and print them to revise their lecture notes, and I found that they make very good use of this tool. I also post my handouts containing terminology, historical data and names online because the transliteration of Korean names and terms often varies and causes plenty of confusion to those who do not know the language. It is important to enable students to use both traditional and more progressive study tools. I would like them to be able to access images and PDF articles online - and to evaluate them - but I also want them to go to the library to read and look at images in books and, most importantly, they should visit museums and experience originals.
My own efforts have to be seen in the context of the Art History Department’s effort to “go digital.” The Visual Resource Collection of the Art History Department has a large collection of about 325,000 slides. Due to budgetary and time constraints, it is impossible to digitize the whole slide collection immediately. It would be also unwise to do so because digital image collections such as ARTstor have emerged over the past years, and they grow in quantity and quality. UCLA has recently subscribed to ARTstor but it is still necessary to supplement this collection with images needed for specific courses. Foreseeing this situation the Visual Resources and Instructional Technology Steering Committee (VRITSC) of our Department asked the Visual Resource Collection (VRC) to start digitize slides last year alongside undergraduate Art History courses. At the same time we started a close cooperation with the Center of Digital Humanities and the UCLA Digital Library, so that these images could eventually be made available to the whole UCLA community. The experience gathered in the process has not only helped us to evaluate ARTstor, but we have upgraded hardware and software for the use of digital technology in art historical teaching and research.
The visual resource collection staff started digitizing the Korean art slides that were to be used in two of my undergraduate courses in Spring 2004, together with a course on African architecture taught by Steven Nelson. In the meantime we have digitized slides for six undergraduate courses ranging from Baroque to Indian art, and even colleagues who were initially skeptical about the new medium now love to teach digitally.
Initially I thought PowerPoint was a rather dull means of presentation but it actually includes a few tools which improved my didactics. For instance, I can integrate text into the image presentation. The animation tool allows me to do annotation by “flying” in the text at will, so I can reveal information about an image gradually after having discussed it in class. I can even add Korean and Chinese text if necessary. I can juxtapose a comparatively large number of images, ten to twelve if necessary, at once in one slide to give students an overall impression of a series of works, whereas traditionally an instructor uses two slide projectors side-by-side to compare and contrast a maximum of two images at any given time. It is also easier to move back and forth between slides in PowerPoint. But maybe the most important advantage is that once I have lectures ready in my computer, I can always reuse and revise them. Of course it is also very convenient to carry a whole lecture in a flash drive and attach it to a keychain as opposed to assembling 50-100 slides for each lecture and carry them loaded onto slide carousels.
Surveys we did for courses taught with digital means showed that students responded extremely positively to the use of new technology. Students liked the PowerPoint presentations in class -- especially the ability to introduce identifying text to the projected images. There were complaints about the quality of the images on the course web sites but this is to be expected since we are still learning to work with digital materials. We are continually improving the materials that we provide for students. Students told me that the materials I posted online were very useful for their study. They also used the online images for review and visited the museum websites for their research papers.
In the future, I would like to be able to combine various digital image resources in my teaching, that is, images from my own collection, the department’s collection, ARTstor and other collections. In addition to switching to a digital camera, I am scanning images for my own research and the department is currently working with the library to upload their digitized images to the UCLA Library Digital Collections . This combination of resources will provide students with a richer pool of materials for their study in Art History.
Unfortunately, images of the ARTstor collection cannot be imported into PowerPoint lectures or used with other presentation software but they have to be presented with a client ARTstor provides for lecture presentation. While this client allows for zooming into pictures it does not have the PowerPoint capability to show a great number of images all at once. It actually more or less replicates the traditional two images comparison of using two slide projectors. There are advantages in using each system and we will have to find out ways to use both the web-based ARTstor client and presentation tools side-by-side.
Oral Interview, February 2005