Distance learning poses new problems for instructors and changes the traditional understanding of instructional design. The adaptation of traditional, face-to-face courses to asynchronous online format entails redefining pedagogical practices and presents new challenges for designers and instructors resulting from the lack of direct student-instructor interaction. This is particularly pertinent in art history courses, where critical thinking, group discussions, critiquing works of art as well as assessment methods heavily rely on student’s physical presence in the classroom. Faculty members are skeptical of the effectiveness of distance learning and voice their concerns. The paper questions whether it is possible to ensure students’ proper command of the course material, develop critical thinking, and effectively engage learners in the online environment. The author describes approaches that she has developed, experimented with and found to be effective in asynchronous online art history courses, argues the importance of timed tests, and presents learner engagement strategies she has implemented in the eLearning environment. The paper demonstrates how to create collaborative learning environment through student group discussions in online art history courses, discusses the advantages of scenario-based discussions board assignments and the effects of role playing in discussion forums. The author argues that personalized discussion board assignments motivate learners, improve peer-to-peer interaction, and prevent plagiarism. The paper presents different types of scenario-based assignments and their learning outcomes.
Ter-Stepanian, Anahit, "Adaptation of Art History Courses to the Online Environment: Problems and Perspectives" (2009). Art & Design Faculty Publications. 13.