Sunday, 10 November 2013

New Website for Online Botanical Courses!

Finally managed to build a new dedicated website for Botanical Art Online, my online courses! I  decided last week that it was high time I got to grips with this job and made some decisions, so I've been neglecting the painting this week and focused my concentration on the website. It's still in infancy and no doubt in need of a bit of editing here and there.... but I've started! Most important though is the fact that this means I can now deliver materials, videos and and documents to my students via a password protected area for each course rather than by email. Hopefully this will make life so much easier for all and the real beauty of it is that you can just keep adding and changing materials so that it doesn't become 'stagnant'! Passwords will be sent out this week and I'll just have to wait to see what the students make of it.

http://botanicalonline.wix.com/botanicalonline
Home page for Botanical Art Online, courses in watercolour, vellum and graphite, click on the image to access the website.
 I've wanted to do this for several years and feel that technology just isn't taken full advantage of in education, surprisingly even in distance learning programmes it's still under used. Over the years I've tried just about every method of learning and teaching possible and have to admit to being a bit of a course addict at one time! After leaving University I worked for a while in a large education authority developing ways of using technology to deliver education materials and information over a large geographic area. Of course that geographic area wasn't global but today pretty much anything is possible anywhere and it really is a small world! Technology is increasingly user friendly it's a great asset to take advantage of if you like a learning curve.  

The three courses currently on offer, details and the teaching programme can now be downloaded directly from the site.
 There is of course an argument that online learning can never match up to learning in a class environment where you can see a real demonstration. I don't disagree with that at all but in my opinion online learning isn't intended to be a substitute for a class, it's just another method of learning and teaching, and, for all sorts of reasons it's not always possible for indivduals to attend classes. The Open University have been delivering online courses very successfully for a number of years. I've done a few in the past myself and always found the more tech savvy tutors and interactive courses are the better ones- but then I prefer electronic documents over paper anytime, not just because it's a bit greener but also because I lose everything and have a small house!


Examples shown here from the  Watercolour course


I wanted to be mindful of my own experience of distance learning in that it can be very isolating, this is something that I want to avoid because it's not a good feeling when you're studying. I believe learning has to be brought up to date rather than using the more 'old school' correspondence course approach, otherwise people feel too alone and this is a reason for drop out. Social media provides another great opportunity for sharing and I also use it with my group of students, it's easy to be critical of it but it's a brilliant way to deliver, discuss and share and it's a bit of fun too.


These days it seems many artists do some teaching and being an artist generally means lots of diversification....with websites, blogs and social media all becoming part of the daily tasks for the jobbing artist.... it's a wonder we have any time at all for painting! To highlight the diversity I have switch jobs again tomorrow and it's back to illustration with a commission for 30 fish to complete before the end of year! .....never seems to be two days the same!

9 comments:

  1. Dianne, I agree with you in relation to online courses and also to learning because the student must devote much to overcome the absence of the classroom. But for those who are far from the course, like me, is an excellent opportunity to learn new and different things.

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  2. And, thank you for your effort and dedication.

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  3. Hi Dianne, I feel that anyone interested in this method of learning will benefit hugely from your clear and concise techniques and your very creative and knowledgeable approach to teaching. I agree that this is a way of learning that has so much potential, and I wish you great success.

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    1. Thank you so much Coral, as an artist and biologist for me it's very important to teach the 'building blocks' in drawing and painting and to integrate with the science to teach a broader understanding - bringing the various elements together for botanical students. Technology has given us a great opportunity for teaching and learning, I would never have been able to reach so many people without it, so it's an exciting opportunity. I'm just at the start of exploring this area but it feels like a very natural progression.

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  4. i have a deep interest of learning from botanical online painting classes


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