Congratulations to Professor Kyle Killian and PhD candidate Sarah Buck, who have received both the Award for Excellence in Online Course Design and the Award for Excellence in Online Mentoring from the FSU Office of Distance Learning, in recognition of their work in designing and implementing the course ARH 2000: “Art, Architecture, and Artistic Vision.” This online course, which first became available during the Fall 2014 semester, introduces non-majors to topics in art and art history through thirteen engaging weekly modules that engage students with short videos and slide presentations and opportunitities to create mind-maps, post in weekly blogs and discussion boards, and complete short essays. ARH 2000 is part of FSU’s Liberal Studies for the 21st Century Program, a curriculum which emphasizes adaptive and innovative problem solving as well as a firm grounding in traditional thought.
Our biggest challenge was to create a sense of personal contact through the online interface. To accomplish this, we built in blogs and discussion board assignments, which expose students to their classmates’ perspectives. We also incorporated projects that encourage students to leave their computers and explore public art and art institutions in their own immediate communities. By mentoring the same smaller population of students throughout the semester—and by using Blackboard’s inline grading function, which allows us to provide feedback specific to each student—we course mentors do actually get to ‘know’ our group through the course of the semester.