Lessons Learned: A first year online program opens new doors for educators

Judith Simpson, Ph.D.

Judith Simpson, Ph.D.

Dr. Judith Simpson reflects on a year of innovation and transformation in BU’s year-old online MA in Art Education program, also featured in a recent BU Today article.

“Our teachers are an island in their schools, alone. Artists and teachers both need the right vocabulary to advocate for themselves. My goal is to equip them
with that knowledge.”

Online degree programs at Boston University are incredibly dynamic experiences that change every seven weeks. In the past year, the MA in Art Education program has grown with each semester both in numbers and in scope.

Lessons learned throughout this time were:

Virtual Visionaries2

  1. The online teaching and learning environment is full of surprises: the time we spend teaching is infinite, many of the students are intimidated by the technology, some are still skeptical about an online degree, few expect the rigor of the program in terms of content and assignments, all are self-motivated achievers.
  2. Online learning is a communal experience: where all of the classes and the groups in them have established incredible collegial bonds despite never having actually met, but that may well be because art teachers often do not have ‘like kinds’ to talk with about issues that impact their teaching.
  3. The online format seems to be a good fit for today’s educator: and particularly well-suited venue for the art education community seeking a professional degree in their own field, especially when complemented with a summer studio residency where students can physically work together in the studios for an intense week.

Judith Simpson, Ph.D. is the Faculty Director of the online MA in Art Education and Associate Professor in BU’s College of Fine Arts. Read more about this innovative online program in Virtual Visionaries.

Watch this video on YouTube

In the video above listen to Mark Fisher (CFA’10), Kate Chawula (CFA’10), Megan Radocha (CFA’10), and Autumn Britt (CFA’10) talk about their experiences in the Online Master of Arts in Art Education program through the College of Fine Arts. Photos by Vernon Doucette and Kimberly Cornuelle.

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