Exploiting Social Networks to Teach the Art of Critique
Traditional art and photography courses use digital media primarily for production purposes. The integration of online social networks presents a unique opportunity for art faculty to incorporate existing technology that students are very familiar with and expand the boundaries of the traditional critique to a venue that students are more comfortable talking and writing in. This paper is derived from coursework delivered in a university level, face-to-face digital photography course, wherein regular critiques are used as the foundation for evaluation and assessment. Utilizing specific guidelines regarding the evaluation of assigned photographic work, students are instructed to use their existing Flickr, MySpace or Facebook accounts to post, organize, share and critique their colleague's work for all scheduled assignments. Each step (posting, etc.) is based on certain criteria presented and discussed in class and agreed upon by a consensus of the group (practices need to work for all). The professor also provides feedback on the site(s) to each student for each assignment. Online critiques are supplemented with traditional face-to-face critiques and students are required to submit printed versions of what they consider to be their best representations of the assignments for face-to-face evaluation and discussion by the group. After each assignment deadline, the process continues and students can revise/revisit (multiple times, depending on previous feedback) their work and resubmit for further comment. Driven by the evaluative guidelines, this process reinforces thoughtful, intelligent dialogue in the form of constructive feedback. It also opens up the traditional art-making practice to a more fluid and dynamic (immediate) exercise.
Keywords: Teaching, Photography, Art, Writing, Digital Media
Professor Markam Keith Adams
Assistant Professor, Fine and Performing Arts, Rowan University