Musings about lifelong learning, technology, and higher education
In recent years, higher education institutions has experimented with a number of alternative means of credentialing both students and faculty. Rather than issue credits for semester long classes, many schools have experimented with digital badges for very specific skills. Over the next few blog posts, I will discuss the development of digital badges as a means of faculty development at my institution.
About My Institution
BH Carroll began in 2003 as a non-traditional seminary awarding accredited graduate degrees in theology and pastoral ministry. The school is accredited by American Theological Schools and while courses were traditional offered in extension campuses (generally churches willing lend to space), more instruction is increasingly offered online.
About My Position
I was hired in 2017 as the Director of Online Instruction at BH Carroll Theological Institute to ensure the we have consistently high-quality online courses. My duties include auditing courses for quality control and creating learning opportunities for faculty.
As a small institution, BH Carroll relies on part-time faculty to teach specific courses. While there is a corps of regular instructors, the school occasionally adds new faculty to teach specialized courses. Thus, there is a need for systematic training for faculty who might not congregate at a centralized campus. Some new faculty member might have taught at other institutions or have no experience teaching credit-bearing courses (though they normally have teaching experiences in informal settings). Other instructors who have been with institution since its foundation might be more comfortable teaching at extension learning sites, but have not quite mastered online teaching tools.
When hired for this position, I was made aware of the need to move faculty across the ‘technological curve’, so to speak, and was also aware of the unique challenges of training faculty at our school. For one, I am the only person who works in my capacity and live in a different time zone. Second, because of our distributed learning model and small class size, we cannot feasibly conduct synchronous training. Creating miniature courses that culminate in a digital badge seems like good fit for this type of training. Moodle is our learning management system, which supports Digital Badges, so there were few technical hurdles to creating badges.
Over the new few blog posts, I will discuss the development of these courses. So tell me - if you hold a similar position as mine, how have you approached faculty development? Have you issued digital badges or created a certification process? If you haven't created a digital badge certification system, are you considering one?
Like every dutiful freshmen, I signed up for Art History I & II to satisfy general ed requirements. I was warned about superflous college electives by high school teachers and I assumed that art history was just that. After taking art history, however, I I found out that art has and does reflect the cultural and political zeitgeist of an era (I nerded out about social studies in grade school, so there ya have it). Artists created their art not necessarily out of a universal aesthetic of beauty or creativity, but instead joined schools of similar-minded artists whose shared the same values. In a dialectical fashion, I discovered that these schools vacillated between dichotomies like realism and abstraction, popular taste and elite aesthetics, imagined places and subjects versus real ones, etc. By learning the links between history, culture, the art world, and the lives of individual artists, this naive freshman joined the larger conversation about art.
The appreciation I gained from college art history inspired me to visit art museums throughout my young adulthood. I enjoy museums because I feel the same kind of transcendence that one might feel in a religious service or reading a gripping novel; the sense of being caught up in another place and time. I’ve volunteered as an art museum librarian and now want to volunteer as a docent (or similar capacity) in a museum focusing on modern and contemporary art. I would even pursue a degree in art history if I had the money and need for another Master’s degree. I do not and thus I’ve began research ways to ‘hack’ an art history degree, focusing on modern and contemporary visual art.
My plan is to take several massive online open courses, or MOOCs (learn more about MOOCs if you’re not familiar with the concept) and supplement my learning with YouTube videos, library books and DVDs, and the occasional splurge at the local used book store. I’ve taken a few MOOCs related to web design, copyright, and one on modern art already, which I immensely enjoyed. I like the self-paced nature of these courses and the ability to earn a certificate of completion.
So I present to you a list of massive online open courses (MOOCs) related to modern and contemporary art. I mined the web, used a few MOOC search engines (yes, they exist!), and looked on reputable online platforms for MOOCs, such as Coursera and EdX.
If you see any courses related to modern art that I’m missing, please feel free to let me know!