Exploring Digital Culture

Entries by a MOOC participant

Why Art & Inquiry?


Recently, I was reading Sandra Sinfeld’s blog, “The Last Refuge”, where she writes about her joining the Art & Inquiry MOOC offered by MOMA through Coursera.  I have been following Sandra’s’ blog “Introduction to Art:  Concepts and Techniques” and have been intrigued by the use of Art in the Classroom.  Her latest blog convinced me to sign up for Art & Inquiry.

So, why enroll in this class (this is a mandatory question that we have to answer in the Discussion Forums).

For me, there are numerous reasons to take this class, including:

1) I used to work for a Museum Planning Design Firm.

After graduating from college, I was not ready to continue my education and instead went to work for Joseph A. Wetzel Associates in Boston.  Working in such a creative environment was exhilarating.  I learned the meaning of “charette.”  We brought together numerous experts to brainstorm ideas for exhibits we were working on.  We worked on projects like the Norwalk Maritime Center, The Iron Range Interpretive Center, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, among others during my tenure.  The number one thing I learned during the exhibit design process was the importance of the scaffolding of the museum exhibit into at least three layers.  1) Information had to be conveyed  just by looking at the pictures and graphics, 2) the exhibit had to have a “tactile” layer that engaged the viewe ; and 3) if the museum goer wished to delve more deeply into the topic, there had to be resources available to do so.  Amazing how much this lesson has affected me as a teacher.

2) The Inquiry Based Method (IBM) creates an engaging classroom environment;

I find the IBM similar to Grant Wiggins “Understanding by Design.”  As a member of the Steamboat Springs High School, our culture was based on UbD.  Most of our Professional Development focussed on this practice, and the goal was to revise all of our curriculum using this methodology. Incorporating the Inquiry Method with Project Based learning, creates, in my mind, an extremely engaging classroom environment.

3) I wanted to incorporate some ideas in my curriculum for professional development for teachers.

Currently, as an educational consultant, I am developing some new modules for teacher training based on developing Professional Learning Networks.  I like to model the practices for teachers that can be used in their classroom, and the inquiry method is much simpler to convey than UbD.

4) Finally, I have enrolled in “Creativity, Innovation and Change,” another MOOC offered by the University of Pennsylvania thorugh Coursera that starts in September.  This MOOC is a natural segway for me.  Ok, I confess.  I am a MOOC-a-Holic.

Through blogging, my experience becomes an integral part of the learning process.  Like Sandra, it allows me to share the process with my peers, developing a relationship with them in the process. I look forward to sharing my experiences.

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” (Socrates)


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This entry was posted on August 5, 2013 by .

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