An Examination of Factors Contributing to Critical Thinking and Student Interest in an On-line College-level Art Criticism Course
Description: This qualitative case study research examined how constructivist problem-based learning facilitated higher level thinking, increased interest in art, and affected attitude toward on-line courses in an undergraduate philosophical aesthetics and interpretation of art criticism course. The research conducted for this study suggests that constructivist problem-based learning does facilitate higher level thinking and increases student interest in art and in on-line classes. Active learning assignments, along with the constructivist collaborative class atmosphere, encouraged students to think more deeply about their personal values concerning art and to consider alternative views. Problem-based learning in this class acted as a scaffold to aid in understanding the material and then in applying the material to unique and real-life situations. Each subject came to the course with certain thinking skills and left with increased knowledge about art but also with increased critical thinking skills for critically examining and discussing art. Participants completed the course with more confidence in their critical thinking ability and in dealing with visual art images. Data was gathered from seven study participants in the form of highly-structured interviews, an early and final critical writing analysis, a major problem assignment and its reflection journal, a beginning survey, and two final surveys. The final major problem involved an individual proposal followed by a collaborative group proposal. Group collaboration constituted the most frustration and problem within the constructivist design of the class. This research took a relativistic viewpoint in gathering data and interpreting meaning.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Beach, Glenell McKinnon