That’s Awesome! Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art

What It’s About

Art and Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art is an on-demand MOOC developed by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This course is aimed at K-12 teachers and provides strategies for helping students view, consider, and interact with many types of visual art. Taking a constructivist approach to learning theory, the course provides methods of engaging students through a wide variety of activities.

Why It’s Awesome

screenshots of MoMA lecture slides
Title slides from different MoMA lesson types

As one might expect from MoMA, this course is designed very skillfully on a visual level. While separated into weeks through the Coursera interface, each lesson has a specific color palette—blue, purple, or green—that gives another level of thematic organization. Lessons with blue title slides have more about learning theory, assessment guidelines, and similarly academic content. While they include examples of techniques, their emphasis is clearly on capturing the ideas behind the activities. Lessons with purple title slides examine engagement techniques in-depth, showing them in action through videos of students participating in each activity. While connections are made between the activities and the learning theories involved, the activities are clearly the focus. Lessons with green title slides have activities for the Coursera student to complete. Again, the theories behind these activities and the way they could be used with teachers’ students are covered, but the focus is on the person taking the course attempting the activities themselves. Each week can have any or all of the color-coded lesson types.

These color themes are continued throughout the lessons, as backgrounds on subsection slides and as colors on the drawings and notes that reinforce ideas within the lessons. As the student moves from one lesson to the next, the colors continually reinforce what they can expect to see and do in the current material.

Screenshot of MoMA lecture with illustration
Screenshot of MoMA lecture with illustration

The course designers also made smart visual choices in how the main instructors were filmed. When lecturing on a given topic, the instructors sit or stand in front of a blank white background. There are no PowerPoint slides reinforcing their ideas. Instead, the white space next to the instructor becomes a canvas for simple illustrations, animations, or text highlighting their points as they make them. The lack of visual clutter allows the student to focus on the instructor’s words and recognize, through the carefully chosen visuals, which issues are most important. The spare visuals in the instructor lectures also contrast well with still shots and videos of students performing the activities described, as well as the art pieces at the museum with which the students are engaging.

How We Can Help

While MoMA has a leg up on most institutions when it comes to modern art access, there are several techniques in Interactive Strategies that Duke instructors could incorporate into their own online courses. CIT staff can work with instructors to identify themes or lesson styles that could be identified by color in the title and interstitial slides. Instructors could consider filming their lectures in the media lab and picking out key phrases or ideas that OCBs and video staff can highlight in the whitespace beside them as they speak. And CIT staff can use color cues to craft the visuals in the lesson as a coherent whole, reflecting the instructor’s theme or lesson style through color choice in text, images, and illustration.

6 thoughts on “That’s Awesome! Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art

  1. دیابت

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  2. John White

    That’s like greenscreening on whole new level. I produce many videos for my own clients with videoscribe,videomakerfx, and my most frequently used software camtasia etc… but using this interactive concept with art would be great to use in all learning and coaching vids. Thanks for the heads up on this one Heather.

  3. Vapor Beast

    That is actually really awesome. I have a background in art and visual design and something like this during my high school days would have been amazing. Even when I was in college moving more in the design field for CSS and other web design methods it would have been great.

  4. Alex

    It’s nice to see more active methods of teaching art like this where there can be a balance between theory and actually applying that theory to your work.

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