Grant-Funded Projects

The Art History Program has engaged in several special grant-funded projects involving the use of new technologies, the most recent of which are profiled here:

A History of Art for the 21st Century

We are pleased to report the successful completion of our U.S. Dept. of Education/FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education) funded project (grant P116B980674) which supported the development and testing of seven multimedia online modules which help students master skills and learn basic concepts for introductory surveys of art history. The modules represent the collaborative efforts of Laetitia La Follette (project director), Walter Denny, Anne Mochon, alumna Gretchen Fox, colleagues Nina Fowler (Smith), Jack Pemberton (Amherst), and Larry Smith (Holyoke Community College) working with multimedia programmer Matthew Mattingly of the Center for Computer-Based Instruction Technology (CCBIT) on campus. The modules are delivered over the internet 24/7 on a password-protected website via UMass-Amherst's Online Web-based Learning system (OWL), and cover the topics of Learning to Look at Painting (authors La Follette/Mochon); Sacred Space: the Greek Temple (La Follette/Fowler); Sacred Space: the Early Christian Basilica (Fox/Fowler); Sacred Space: the Dome of the Rock (Denny/Fowler); Linear Perspective (Smith); Picasso and Primitivism (Mochon); Ritual Art and Artefact (Pemberton/Smith).

In end-of-semester surveys and evaluations soliciting student feedback on the usefulness of the modules, students were positive about the OWL homework as a learning tool, singling out in particular the ability to cover the material at their own pace, the interactive tutorials, the voice-over by experts and the access to high quality images for closer study and exploration. Faculty were also struck by the fact that students doing the modules wound up nearly doubling the out-of-class time spent on the course, without serious complaint!

UMass magazine featured an article on the art history modules "A Wise Way to Learn" in its Fall 2002 issue.

Davis/Large Lecture Course Redesign Project

David Hart, Laetitia La Follette, Anne Mochon and Matthew Mattingly fine-tune the OWL art history assignments.Walter Denny, Laetitia La Follette and Monika Schmitter, all regular teachers of Art History 115, the department's one-semester survey Introduction to the Visual Arts, are collaborating on a new initiative which involves the use of a student response system (SRS) in the lecture hall. First tested by Laetitia in spring 2003, the hand-held remotes stimulate class participation and allow students to test their understanding of lecture material by submitting their answers to questions posed by the professor immediately. The system has been particularly useful for attributions, the review of concepts such as the baroque and fleshing out the bullet points of a comparison in real time. Walter is using the system in his 115 class in fall 2003, with Monika following in her 115 class in Spring 2004. Initial feedback from student surveys and evaluations has been positive: 90% of the students using the system this past spring found it especially useful for helping them prepare better for tests. This project has been funded by the Davis Foundation of New England.

Other Projects

Hollister Collection

University Gallery: The Hollister Collection

This collection of 94 pieces of Southwestern pottery is the result of the efforts of Mr. Hollister, who collected these pots one or two at a time for nearly 60 years. The collection was purchased by Mr. F.A. Rosenstock of Denver, Colorado in 1966. Mr. Hollister died the following year. Despite numerous offers from collectors interested in only a few pieces, Mr. Rosenstock maintained the collection as he had acquired it and sold it to the University of Massachusetts in 1969. Although the staff has renumber ed the pots using their own cataloguing system, they have retained Mr. Holister's catalogue numbers as well as the documentation pertaining to the collection. As Mr. Rosenstock noted, he kept the collection together because it represents Mr. Hollister's k nowedge and choice of the variety and beauty of Southwestern pottery.

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