“Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art,” a next generation MOOC on the edX platform (1)


Thursday, April 04, 2019: 6:40pm - 7:40pm - Constitution: Demonstrations 1

Deborah Howes, Howes Studio Inc, United States, Julie Carmean, National Gallery of Art, USA

Translating a successful in-museum workshop into an online learning experience requires extending creative and strategic thinking way outside the “course” box. Unlike most academic MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)s that rely largely on providing too many hours of low quality videos to convey educational content, “Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art” (NGA) provides a highly interactive and innovative learning experience that models the very same effective learning practices that it espouses, while using digital tools and resources. NGA Museum Educator Julie Carmean and Howes Studio principal Deborah Howes will present each translation challenge faced during the MOOC production, and explain why and how it was resolved using commonly available digital platforms and resources that integrated into the open source edX Learning Management System. One of the most important of these innovations was integrating iiiF (International Image Interoperability Framework) viewing into the edX platform as a way to foster a compelling immersive experience with each featured work of art.  As the course launches January 2019 Carmean and Howes will be able to share useful metrics and other data derived from the first few months of use. They will also foster a discussion on why and how MOOCs can be effective ways for museums to extend their educational work to these popular platforms–an estimated 91 million students of all ages and from all over the world have enrolled in MOOCs since they began in 2013. 

As Director Digital Learning at the Museum of Modern Art, Deborah Howes lead the innovation of art museums creating MOOCs with the first online courses for art museums, see www. Coursera.org/moma. As a Museum Educator and Coordinator of Professional Development for Art Around the Corner partnership programs at the National Gallery of Art, Julie Carmean plans and facilitates professional development for classroom teachers and museum educators on-site and online, teaches in the galleries and studio, and writes curriculum and educational resources. Her Art Around the corner workshops (see https://www.nga.gov/education/teachers/posters.html), teaching much of the same materials as this MOOC, have been extraordinarily popular with DC-area teachers for over 10 years.