Blog Assignment 8: End-of-Course Reflection

Some of the students were better prepared and more organized than others.  I was surprised to find that there were times everyone in the group had come unprepared. I’ve learned to have back up material just in case.
In some groups communication between students was poor. It was a good skill for students to learn by working together.
Some of the speakers had to cancel at the last moment, luckily with enough of advance time for me to come up with an alternative.  Going forward I would like to plan for a back-up just in case.
Some of the technical difficulties were unanticipated. I’ve learned at times to go with the flow and lower my expectation of a perfect video recording. As time went on, I’ve also learned how to use the equipment better to accommodate for poor or interrupted connection with the virtually visiting artists.
Students started to seek out more information about the visiting artists, became much more proactive in getting to know more about artists and art related events. Some continued following the artists and their career. Students felt proud that they’ve met an artist like Dana Younger who contributed to creating a relief at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Many downloaded the iphone app designed by visiting artist Laurie Frick and started using it on a regular basis. Overall I found that student participation increased dramatically.

Unexpected Outcomes:
After having composer, Yevgeniy Sharlat, visit our class one of the students got inspired to go back to writing music and performed a brand new piece for us at the end of the semester. Having a diverse group of visiting artists have been a great asset to the class.

After working together on assignments, some students who never talked to each other developed friendships and continued working together.

Your learning and growth:
I’ve learned that it is much easier to come up with a solution by working in a group of fellows. Each of us has a broad range of experiences and various ways of solving problems that could benefit others.

SoTL questions:
Yes, I would like to design more assignments with student initiated learning.

Impact on others:
The library I am creating would be useful for other students and faculty on campus, especially in the Fine and Performing Arts. Lectures are easily accessible and have synopsis written by students.

Yuliya Lanina Blog Assignment 7: Mid-Course Check-In

1. Where are you in your experiment?
So far we’ve had half of the scheduled artists visit the class, some virtually and others in person. It seems that having an artist physically present in the class works better than the alternative; however, both methods are effective in their own ways. We had artists give demonstrations both in the class and virtually in their studio. Having them in the class was a blast but some artists were reluctant to demonstrate by bringing their materials to the classroom. It is much easier for them to do from the studio.
Having students prepare the introduction and questions was effective: it made students more alert and engaged in the conversations. Many of the questions posed during a talk would not have come up without advance research. That made the Q&A part more interesting for everyone.
The lectures are now alive on YouTube, and we are working out ways to write better descriptions for future use. Having lectures recorded enabled students who missed the class still see them and respond to them.
There are still a few more artists coming into the class later this semester, therefore I have not collected any response papers yet. Those promise to be reliable indicators of the experiment’s effectiveness.

2. How are things going?
• Students are more involved in interviewing the artists. Their questions are more informed and engaging. The participation and interest are much greater than before.
• As each student could pick the artist of their choice to research, it’s more likely that their subject was more in line with the student’s own interests and creative aspirations.
• Approximately half of all students found virtual presentations to be less effective than physical ones. The other half was OK with either method. Having visiting artists lectures recorded allowed all of the students see the lectures whether they were present or not.
• I look forward to utilizing the recorded lectures in future classes.
• Having a group responsible for an assignment often means students who are normally passive get away not doing the work. Since there were many aspects to visiting artists assignments – interview, introduction, a YouTube description and a response paper – all students had to participate in some form or other.
• Having artists walk students though their process was an eye opening experience for many students. It inspired them be creative.
• All artists were very impressed by the informed introduction made by students before their presentations.

Since a lot of material has not yet been submitted by students, it is hard to fully gauge the effect the artists research has had on students. So far the response has been very positive.


  • What have you learned so far that may prove valuable to your project?  (You might cite something learned in a workshop but you also might cite an informal conversation with another fellow or staff member or something you figured out on your own.)

It was helpful to see how others conduct their classes and deal with issues in their classrooms
It was good to be exposed to various ways technology is used in the classroom and to reflect on it

  • What progress have you made on your project?
    Arranged meeting with the library and scheduled test time for visiting artist lecture
  • What do you need to accomplish in the next week?
    Test run the lecture, figure out how to use library equipment
    Decide on the way to archive the lectures
    Decide on the assignments related to lectures
    Start putting together a list of artists interested in the experiment
  • Worries and joys?  What’s worrying you about your progress or your next steps?  Has anything got you excited or feeling energized about your upcoming work?
    I am very excited about my project! I think it would be very valuable to students and to the University
    Still worried a bit about technical implementation. Will probably feel better after the test run at the library and figuring out the details.