Tip Sheet: Teaching Studio and Performing Arts Remotely

Visual and Performing Arts courses tend to be constructed around the expectation of an in-person experience. Obviously, an online environment necessitates change and creative thinking. 

UPDATE: Adobe is now making Creative Cloud free for students through May 31, 2020. Following is the Georgetown-specific process for faculty and students to request free licenses:

  1. Visit help.georgetown.edu
  2. Select “Sign In.”
  3. Select “My Help Center.”
  4. Select “Create Case.”
  5. Fill out the ticket form.
  6. Submit Case.

The first thing to think about is your learning goals. Instead of focusing on the specific assignments and work you’ve typically asked students to do, focus on the reasons you designed those assignments and that work. Perhaps it will be possible to reach the same goals in a different way. Some ideas:

Make use of the available virtual resources

  • Videoconferencing tools like Zoom allow you to meet live with students—all at once, in small groups, or one-on-one—with sound and streaming video. Could you conduct voice lessons this way? Could students use this platform to share performances with one another and you?
  • If students need to take in art as part of the course, you can turn to online resources—most museums have images available to the public (though they may not be of sufficiently high resolution for all purposes), and some are even offering virtual tours. Recordings of performances can be found all over the web. 
  • You can incorporate research projects into the students’ responsibilities. 
  • Could digital art be an acceptable medium for students to work in?
  • The Gelardin New Media Center has compiled this list of recommended software for instructional continuity, along with information about Adobe Creative Cloud licensing.

Make use of the physical resources available to students

Depending on your learning goals, it may work for you to guide students toward making art from materials they have at hand. (Though, with certain materials, you’ll need to be sure students have adequate ventilation.) Very likely these won’t be the materials you would typically require for an art class, but working under the constraints of what’s available could in some circumstances be of creative value. And drawing would almost always be possible.

Focus on professionalization

Perhaps students could practice writing artist statements, design websites, or could apply for professional opportunities as part of their course experience.

Reflection is an important part of learning, and can be an important part of creation

Ask students to write reflections—or deliver them orally, or create inspiration boards—on the work they’ve done so far.

And, finally, a note about the artistic opportunities in teaching art courses in the midst of the COVID experience: This experience, with all its uncertainty and change, is probably an emotional experience for your students. This may produce challenges for them, but it could also easily stimulate new art projects; if everyone’s already thinking about this situation, it might as well show up in their work.

We hope this helps you think about how you might teach visual and performing arts courses online. Of course, always feel free to contact us at cndls@georgetown.edu if we can be of any further help to you!