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

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    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

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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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    Figure 6.

    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").

    Figure 7. .......... . . . :R t.l::s

    ........ ...l Mel: 'lenu -il,

    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...