Artful Conversations || Electronic Artstrands: Computer Delivery of Art Instruction

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  • National Art Education Association

    Electronic Artstrands: Computer Delivery of Art InstructionAuthor(s): Guy HubbardSource: Art Education, Vol. 48, No. 2, Artful Conversations (Mar., 1995), pp. 44-51Published by: National Art Education AssociationStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 17:30

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  • ELECTRONIC ARTSTRAN DS: Computer deliveiy~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A continually recurring task for art educators is preparing, delivering, and revising instruction

    designed to help students achieve art curricular goals. The computer is a natural vehicle for addressing such tasks, although much has yet to be learned about how to use this new medium effectively. What follows is an account of a continuing attempt at organizing an entire course for electronic delivery including the procedures that had to be followed; what the outcome was; what is presently happening; and what may be expected to occur in the future. While developed to make use of resources available at a university, the program is practical for public schools and preparations for it to be field tested in elementary and secondary schools are currently under way.


    Since the early eighties, numbers of predictions have been made about the ways in which electronic technology could impact art education (Ettinger, 1988; Hubbard & Greh, 1991; Hubbard & Linehan, 1983; Jones, 1986; Roland, 1990). From the outset, a distinction was evident between applications that addressed the creation of computer graphics and those where the focus lay on the management of instruction. Computer graphics was often viewed

    by art educators with greater en- thusiasm than computer man- aged instruction in that it pro- vided an additional medium to offer students, and the products were closer to the traditional art production thrust of most school art programs. In con- trast, the use of electronic tech- nology to design and manage the delivery of art instruction has experienced a much slower start However, recent advances in technology have led to in- creased ease in using micro- computers which, together with advances in speed and memory capacity, now place the develop- ment of instructional programs within the grasp of almost any- one with the desire to do so. In fact, electronic hardware and the software it serves is becom- ing "transparent": that is to say, users are increasingly able to concentrate their attention on solving problems that are im- portant to them, rather than, as a prerequisite, having to embroil themselves in learning complex computing procedures.

    Figure 2.


    One means whereby teachers and students may interact powerfully with a

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    Artstrands Main Menu Click A Strand To View: Strand 1 - Uisual Communication - Strand 2 - Fantasy Messages Strand 3 - Art Ideas from History

    Strand 5 - Fabric Rrt Strand 6 - Making Prints Strand 7 - Drawing People Strand 8 - Rrt from Other Cultures Strand 9 - Using Color to Show Distance Strand 10 - Deep Feelings Strand 11 - Drawing Natural Objects Strand 12 - Techniques to Using Paint Strand 13 - Rdding and Subtracting in Rrt Strand 14 - Dominanace in Rrt Strand 15 - Rrt and Geometry Strand 16 - Rppreciating Sculpture Strand 17 - Recent Rrt History g

    |2j3Figure 1. , , . <

    Figure 1.

    Strand 28 - Symbolism In Art

    Step 1 Stp Z Step 3 Step 4

    | Lesson42 V^ Lesson20 L n87 Lessn49 | design repetition niitt iwecn art nimal syjtbols the persuders

    | LssonlS l Lesson 50 Lesson 60 Lson76

    l Lesson 9 v Lessonn2 tw Lesson lr inspiration forn distorted advertising ar the seven deadl sins

    Aadn fl40

    computer in an instructional setting is through programs usually named "hypermedia" or "multimedia" (Hubbard, 1989; Slawson, 1993). All popular brands of computers have programs of this kind available to them


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    of art instruction e and death 48

    Introduction: Old age and death are constantl y recurri ng themes in art.

    Fear, associated with death and dyi ng shows itself i n art across the ages and it is equally present in art works today.

    When men and women are young and healthy, they usually live for the excitement of the moment and rarely give much thought to a time when they will be old, perhaps sick, and have to face thei r own deaths. But growi ng old happens to

    everyone; sooner or later everyone dies. If the subject of old age and death is one that motivates you to express your feeli ngs, this lesson offers you an opportunity to do so.

    "Study of the head of n old ma", Albrc-ht Durer Grrnan, 16th. century.

    Figure 3.

    48 old age and death I ntrctioes: Le arai g Outcemes:

    I. Find a poem or an essay that presents old age or death in 1. Decri be how the content in your art work relates to a

    a way that corresponds with your personal feelings. If you poem or statement about old age and death.

    prefer, you may alternatively write a statement of your 2. Explain why you selected the medium or media as

    own that sums up your feelings about death or dying rather appropriate for your idea.

    than going to some other source. 3. Make an art product inspired by a poem or statement 2. Use the written statement as your inspiration for a bout old age and death.

    visual statement on the same theme. The work may include

    parts that are realistic or imaginative. Above all gou Suwested Materials:

    should express gour deepest feelings on this most profound Your own choice

    topic. You may use any medium you find appropriate to

    express your feelings about this theme. 3. Submit for evaluation an art work, in your choice of i

    medium, on the topic of old age and death and a poem or

    statement about this topic.

    3;P1 A

  • Menu Strand f...v:-

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    so it was a natural candidate for translation into contemporary electronic media.

    What follows is a report about the development of a multimedia art program. It is an effort in flux, because the author is continually adding to it as his understanding grows. As such, the process described below is best thought of as one step along a path, with others yet to come.

    ELECTRONIC ARTSTRANDS For twenty years, a general elective

    art course has been offered to


    I treduction: Old age and death are constantly recurring themes in art

    Fear, associated with death and dying shows itself in art across the sges and it is equally present in art works today.

    When men and women are young and healthy, they usually live for the excitement of the moment and rarely give much

    thought to a time when they will be old, perhaps sick, and have to face their own deaths. But growing old happens to

    everyone; sooner or later everyone dies. If the subject of old age and death is one that motivates you to express your feelings, this lesson offers you an opportunity to do so.

    Figure 5. i File Edit Ie Techniques Help A

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    Personal indeH

    1-3 PICT Student Gallery

    1- Spict Preferences 10- 1 .PICT

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    undergraduates on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University. The premise underlying this course is that students from a wide range of academic backgrounds can benefit when permitted to choose the art they would like to study from a wide range of topics, rather than be told what to do. Consequently, a flexible structure is provided to give guidance, while counseling is performed by expert peers rather than conventional

    instructors (Hubbard & e and death Kula, 1975). The

    opportunity gives art education majors practice in teaching mature students; while those who enroll enjoy the luxury of individual instruction. A textbook

    ail), Albreht Durr was prepared and went through numerous revisions prior to being published commercially

    3 6: f9 (Hubbard & Zimmerman, 1982). It consists of a random collection of 100 lessons illustrated with black and white line and halftone pictures. Students choose art experiences from clusters of related lessons called "strands." As a point of interest, the course structure was derived from reading by the author during the late 1960s in the area of electronic applications;

    PLANNING PERIOD In 1991, a campus agency

    responsible for supporting innovative development approved a proposal to translate the original program into multimedia and provided a team of graduate students majoring in Instructional Systems Technology (1ST) to bring about the electronic transformation of the course. The proposal was to use the same text that was in the book, so that both the printed and electronic versions of the course could be taught simultaneously. Changes were to be built into the new program, however, because it was to include many more pictures. And unlike the existing textbook, the electronic pictures were to be in color.

    Work began in January 1991, with the goal of bringing the program into operation during the 1991-1992 academic year. The eventual goal was for the regular staff to be in control of the program and able to make additions, subtractions, and modifications as needed when the specialized technical staff had moved on to other tasks: a goal now close to being realized.

    The first stage called for deciding which brand of computer to use and which multimedia program was best fitted to the task. After preliminary discussions, trials, and false starts, the decision was made to use HyperCard, Version 2, on a line of Macintosh II computers with color monitors that at the time had just been released. The University had purchased 140 of these machines for use in seven public clusters throughout the campus and more were expected (that number has


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  • now increased to over 300), which meant that student users would have considerable opportunity for access when the program was installed. At the time, all campus computers were being networked with fiber optic cable, which meant that one copy of the course could be used by many students at one time; while the speed of delivery to any machine was almost instantaneous.

    At the outset, no allocation of server memory was committed to the program, but the team proceeded with their work in the faith that memory would be made available when the program was ready to use. Fortunately, a block of one hundred megabytes of memory (100 MB) was made available some months before it was needed (which, incidentally, has now been consumed).

    The division of labor among the team members led to one IST graduate student, with mastery of HyperCard programming script, taking responsibility for designing the stacks and their interrelations. Another IST assistant undertook the modification of images to be used in the program into a form acceptable for presentation with HyperCard and entering them. This called for a close working relationship with the programmer, since special arrangements are needed for HyperCard to display colored images. The author's task was to ensure the overall integrity of the course in its new form, which included word processing the text for entry into the program, selecting and digitizing over 600 color images to illustrate the lessons.

    PROGRAM DESIGN The design of the Hypercard

    framework was drawn in part from the original textbook and in part from a pilot version of the program previously pre-

    pared by the author, first usingSuperPilot on an Apple lie and later using the IBM multimedia pro- gram, LinkWay (Hub- bard, 1990; IBM, 1990). As in the original pro- gram, lessons are clus- tered into related units or strands (Figure 1). Each strand is composed of re- lated lessons where at each step in a four-part sequence, students are given choices (Figure 2).

    Each of the 100 lessons in the program was designed as a two- frame sequence. Beneath a number/title line, the first frame is divided in half vertically, with the in- troductory text on the left in a single column block (Figure 3). The area on the right is assigned to images that support the instruction. The maxi- mum dimension in each direction for these im- ages is limited to 320 pix- els (approximately 4.5").

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    Artstrands Lesson Index

    Click A Lesson To View

    Lesson 44 - facial expression 0

    Lesson 45 - hendwarming sculpture

    Lesson 46 - a geometric tempera painting

    Lesson 47 - large manufactured objects

    Lesson 48 - old age and death

    Lesson 49 - the persuaders

    Lesson - he seven deadlu sins

    Lesson 51 - the public image ofa well-known person.

    Lesson 52 - scratch a picture

    Lesson 53 - mob! |i Lesson 54 - so far awau

    Lesson 55 - sti ned glass wi ndows

    Lesson 56 - trees

    Lesson 57 - looki ng at drawings

    Lesson 58 - renaissance perspective

    Lesson 59 - e photo-montage mood ,

    Figure 8.

    A three-line space beneath each image is reserved for a citation. All lessons are illustrated with more than one image, while each image is matched with a repeat of the written introduction. The pictures change but the text remains constant.

    The second of the two frames is organized like the first one into two blocks (Figure 4). The left block contains instructions for students to follow. On the right at the top is information that identifies the expected learning outcomes, followed by a list of art materials students need to execute the work. The second screen appears

    only once in every lesson. The task of developing the program

    framework occupied the first few months of the project and was sufficiently complete by the late spring that text could be entered and a beginning made on placing pictures. Pictures came from several sources. Original student work was derived from examples accumulated over the years. These original works, together with other examples in slide form, were digitized and entered into the lessons.


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  • Figure 9.

    The remainder of the images were selected from the original textbook and from reproductions from various sources selected by the author.

    The process of capturing images was accomplished by means of a mounted video camera linked to a computer equipped with a Targa 16 video board, using the Lumena graphics software package. A color scanner might have served just as well for much of this work, except that a video camera mounted on a copystand is faster and more flexible for handling large numbers of varied-sized works- not to mention three-dimensional originals. In order to identify the images, a system was devised whereby an item was referenced to a lesson number. As additional images were added, this number was followed by a second number identifying it in the order it had been collected for the lesson. For example, 17-2 refers to the second image collected for Lesson 17. Details of images were identified by an additional number (17-2-3 is the 3rd detail of image #2 of Lesson 17). Different views of a single object (i.e., sculpture) were identified

    alphabetically (18-3A, 18-3B, etc.). Since images might be used in several lessons, the reference number identified the lesson where the image was first assigned.

    As in the book version of the course, numbers of art vocabulary words are underlined in the text to inform students of the presence of definitions. Unlike the

    book, where the glossary was located at the back, when a student selects an underlined word, a screen overlay appears that displays the definition. These overlay definitions permit students to move alphabetically to the next definition or back to the preceding one. Students may also engage in searches for any definition from the pool of words in the vocabulary.

    In each lesson, a line of buttons appears along the base of every screen, each marked with an identifying icon. These buttons enable students to move freely within a lesson and also to return to the main organizational structure of the program. The primary buttons for moving around within a lesson are located at the far right side (Figure 3). At the extreme right, forward and backward arrows permit a user to move to the next or to the previous card or page in a lesson. Selection of a hooked arrow permits a student to return to the page that was last seen. A statement indicating the number of pages in a lesson appears to the immediate left of the hooked arrow and informs a user which page of the lesson is presently being displayed. Since students may not want to step through all the images in a lesson before reaching the

    instructions, an icon in the form of a page of text permits a student to go directly to the lesson instructions from any page.

    Starting from the left end of this bottom row of icons, students may elect to return to the main list of strands by selecting the icon entitled "Menu." The next button gives the option of returning to the strand diagram that lesson belongs to. The next one permits a student to return to the most recently chosen lesson display. One of the three buttons at the center resembles a camera and permits students to take snapshot copies of pictures displayed on the screen and enter them into a personal file for future viewing. Students are expected to find some images in the collection particularly appealing and might want to view them again for the ideas they contain. Instead of experiencing the frustration of trying to find images from among the 100 lessons and over 600 images-all of which are identified by number only-students are able to copy images they like into their personal collections as they encounter them and view them whenever they wish.

    The next button to the right resembles a speaker. When it is selected, a voice is heard reading aloud the text printed on that page. At present, this oral narration has been restricted to a very few parts of the program; until such time as students regularly wear headphones when working in public computer clusters, the audio would intrude on other students working nearby. A likely solution to this problem is for the audio to be available only when headphones are plugged in. Lastly, when the


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  • magnifying glass icon is highlighted, a student can elect to see one or more details of the artwork (Figure 5).

    Further opportunities for browsing through the program are provided by selections available in the special pull- down menus located at the top of the screen. One option, View, permits a student to see all the images in the collection by accession number (Figures 6 and 7), while another shows all lessons numerically rather than in the strand or- ganization (Figure 8). Yet another choice is an internal communica- t File tions service, Art Mail, that permits students to Tec communicate with an instructor or color with each other. A recent and as adrns

    yet incomplete addition to this thI

    menu allows students to view all lot the pictures for a given lesson as 2 rk miniatures at one time on a single

    3. To rm

    overlay screen (Figure 9). By se- 4 To lecting a miniature, a student is im- 5 ,To mediately taken to the page of the 6. o mo


    lesson where the full-size image a.. b. re

    appears. As the program is devel- re. oped further, this overlay is ex- pected to be incorporated into each lesson to permit students to Figun move freely among the images : rather than follow the present se- Abe quential organization. A further pull-down menu under 'Tech- niques" in the top menu bar intro- duces students to artistic tech- niques needed in various lessons (Figure 10).

    Because most students are ac- customed to working their way through sequential, print-on-paper textbooks, they frequently have had difficulty understanding the non-sequential, intangible path- ways of the program. To over- - come this problem, introductory i

    material has been prepared, entitled "About Artstrands," that may be called up from "Help" in the top menu bar (Figure 11).

    The material consists of four parts: 'The Course," "Images," "Art Mail," and "Development." Each part provides a brief audio narrative and matching images. The first section, 'The Course," presents a brief overview of the intent of the course and its history, followed by an introduction to key

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    menu windows and the structure of the lessons. The other choices expand on the introductory statement. The "Images" section explains the pictorial database and the ways in which students can search for lesson-related images by artists and students, as well as for various informational diagrams and photographs, independently of the lessons. At this time students are also introduced to the personal files assigned to them, by means of which

    they may select images they particularly value and store them for future reference. A

    ting special feature of this section is the application of Quick-Draw animation to complement the audio narrative. The Development section describes in greater depth the people who contributed to the development of the program. It also lists the software and communications

    ter. packages used to create and disseminate the program. Finally, the Art Mail section explains how students may communicate with instructors and other students.

    ? ~ u- Another choice under "Help" in the menu bar is the "Student Gallery," By making this choice, students may see recent work that students have produced. Instructors collect examples of better work, which is then digitized and entered into the Gallery. Comments by an instructor are then entered to identify each work's most significant qualities. The idea for this gallery emerged late in development as a result of

    II discussions with students during the pilot testing stage. They liked the idea of seeing current work on display-much


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  • like an o()n-going exhibit. Although presently accessed from a pull-down menu, the Gallery is eventually to be locatedi on an opening screen so as to attract attention every time students enter the program.

    The text for the electronic version of the course is presently the same as that printed in the book. And as with the book version, students browse through the program in search of art experiences they would like to attempt. Having settled on a strand that appeals to them, they decide which lesson choices they prefer and beginl with the first one. Students bring finished work to the instructional site for evaluation any of four evenings a week.


    ? _~~~~~~~~~~

    The same rules apply to students who use the electronic version of the program as apply to those using the printed version, the only difference being that those working from the electronic version bring with them only the printed text of the lesson they chose rather than a copy of the textbook. Computer printouts of lessons, it should be noted, do not include pictures. Given the present level of available technology, picture transmissions take too long to print. The rate of change in electronic technology, however, suggests that this obstacle is likely to be surmounted sooner than expected.

    an you cultivate critical and creative thinking

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    STUDENT RESPONSES Student responses after four

    semesters have been varied (Morris, 1993). Most of the favorable statements mention the number and quality of the color pictures as most persuasive. Others enjoyed the freedom to browse through the program more easily than through the book. A number of students elected the computer version because they did not have to buy the textbook. Some used the textbook part of the time and the electronic version on other occasions. Others stopped using the computer version because they discovered that the nearest machines were far away while all they had to do with the textbook was open it. Some declared that they were drawn to the electronic version just because it involved working on a computer, while others refused to have anything to do with the electronic version because they rejected anything to do with computers.

    As computers become more plentiful, some of the availability problems cited by students are expected to decline. Likewise, as student populations increasingly take computers for granted, some of the resistance encountered since the program began may be expected to dissipate.

    FUTURE DIRECTIONS Numbers of possibilities are

    emerging as a consequence of working with this electronic course. The most challenging task will occur when the content of the electronic version ceases to match what is in the printed book. At that time, the instructional staff of the computer version will need constant access to computers of their own; efforts to procure equipment are presently under way. Lessons that might benefit from editing will be


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  • altered. Others that are no longer popular will be deleted. New lessons and new strands will be attempted- and readily dropped if students do not choose them. The present collection of one hundred lessons is expected to change continually, with no limit in mind. In fact, a number of new lessons and strand ideas have been filed in readiness for inclusion when the electronic version separates from the textbook.

    Throughout the years when a printed textbook was the sole means of instructional delivery for the course, several lessons required students to visit the Indiana University Art Museum. But because the book was used in other places than Bloomington, no reference was made to the Museum by name. Already that has changed in that the Museum now comes to the student. The images used for those lessons in the electronic version are all pieces from the University collection.

    The ultimate goal is for the program to become a foundation for a database of art instruction to be shared with other educational institutions-from colleges and universities to secondary and elementary schools. A technical problem that has prevented field testing at other sites is presently being resolved with the production of CD- ROMs that contain the program.' That this program is written in HyperCard and can be used only on Macintosh computers is also a problem, the continuing rapid advancement of high technology is likely to overcome this and other obstacles, sooner rather than later.

    Perhaps the greatest hurdle to the adoption of electronic methods of

    instruction is human inertia: that is, resistance to change. A related problem is that teachers may perceive multimedia instruction to be a potential threat to their autonomy. Students discover that they can take control of their own art education, thus making the teacher's role more one of guide and critic than a director of activities. On the other hand, changes worth adopting are sure to find their way into school and college art instruction. Computer delivery of art forms may be expected to transform those practices that determine how art is learned.

    Guy Hubbard is Professor ofEducation at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. He has primary assignments in art education and computer-based education.

    NOTE 'Readers interested in participating in field

    testing of this program are invited to write to the author.

    REFERENCES Ettinger, L. (1988). Art education and

    computing: Building a perspective. Studies in Art Education, 30(1), 53-62.

    Hubbard, G. & Kula, J. A. (1975). College art instruction for the general student. In Davis, D. J. Behavioral emphasis in art education (pp. 171-180). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

    Hubbard, G. & Zimmerman, E. (1982). Artstrands: A program of individualized art instruction. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

    Hubbard, G. & Linehan, T. (1983). Arcade games, mindstorms, and art education. Art Education, 36(3), 18-20.

    Hubbard, G. (1989). Hypermedia: Cause for optimism in art curriculum design. Art Education, 42(1), 59-64.

    Hubbard, G. (1990). Computer managed art

    instruction: Freeing teachers to teach. Arts &Activities, 107(4), 30-33.

    Hubbard, G. & Greh, D. (1991). Integrating computing into art education: A progress report. Art Education, 44(3), 18-24.

    Jones, B. J. (1986). Understanding the significance of technology in art education. Art Education, 39(6), 23-24; 45-46.

    IBM Corporation (1990). Educational Systems Integrated Solutions Demonstration (CD- ROM). September 1.

    Morris, S. H. (1993). Perceptions of college students toward computers as delivery media and a self-instruction environment a case study. Unpublished dissertation, Indiana University.

    Roland, C. (1990). Our love affair with new technology: Is the honeymoon over? Art Education, 43(3): 54-60.

    Slawson, B. (1993). Interactive Multimedia: The gestalt of a gigabyte. Art Education, 46(6), 15-22.

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    Article Contentsp.44p.45p.46p.47p.48p.49p.50p.51

    Issue Table of ContentsArt Education, Vol. 48, No. 2, Artful Conversations (Mar., 1995), pp. 1-54Front Matter [pp.1-3]An EditorialAlchemy 101 [pp.4-5]

    Letters to the Editor [p.5]The Mysterious Lady from Surinam [pp.6-11]Recipe for Assessment: How Arty Cooked His Goose while Grading Art [pp.12-17]Harvey Shows the Way: Narrative in Children's Art [pp.18-22]Animation for Children: David Ehrlich and the Cleveland Museum of Art Workshop [pp.23-36]Instructional Resources: Images of the American West Phoenix Art Museum [pp.25-32]Two Young Interviewers Get a Sense of Heritage from African/American Artist and Educator Dr. J. Eugene Grigsby, Jr. [pp.37-43]Electronic Artstrands: Computer Delivery of Art Instruction [pp.44-51]Back Matter [pp.52-54]