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    Sandra Cheng

    Hi all,

    On the workshop days I managed to pull together a draft of my first website for an art history class. I’m still fiddling with all the various components, ie, what to make private and what to keep public. I will probably make the readings page and the page with links to powerpoints/image-pdfs password-protected pages. What appears now on my assignment page is an example of a weekly blog assignment and that will be shifted to individual posts on the main blog.

    I still can’t decide on the weigh of the blog for the student’s grade. It’s at 20% now, but I might lower it since I’ve never used blogging/journaling in a class before and I’m unsure about the level of feedback necessary to keep 36 students active engaged with the blog on a weekly basis. Right now I conceive of the site as covering all the nifty things I don’t have time to in class (ie, I can’t spend much time talking about Commodus when I really should focus on more important Roman Emperors for art history like Augustus or Constantine). I also see the site as an opportunity to have students read and respond to historical texts. In short, the class website will ultimately function as a supplement to class lectures/exercises, as a repository for class documents and student work, and as a forum for exchange of ideas, opinions, and information on the class and cultural events in NYC. This reminds me that I need to work on a ‘netiquette’ page for blogging/posting guidelines. I think more creative and interactive use of the site will have to wait another semester because I’d like students to make ‘smarthistory’-like videos or powerpoint voiceovers and upload them to the site, but I have to learn how to do that myself first! Smarthistory is a great opensource site for art history and is constantly being updated, so much so that I might eventually forego a textbook and rely on it:

    Lastly, I’m exploring and looking for widgets to enhance the site, ie, a twitterfeed, a clustermap so students can see visitors who access the site and their material.

    Here’s the site link:


    Shelley E Smith

    Wow, thank you for the reference to ‘smarthistory’; that is new to me! And a good model for student projects.


    Elizabeth Alsop

    Hi Sandra,

    “Smarthistory” was new to me too — thanks for the great reference!

    Also, let me know if you’d like any help figuring out how to make ppt voiceovers, slidecasts, etc. I’d be happy to discuss possibilities for you and your students.



    Prof. Gold

    Your course sites are looking good, Sandra! Nice work!

    The SmartHistory team is located in NYC (and actually has a CUNY connection). We should think about bringing them in to speak at some point during the grant.


    Jody R. Rosen

    Sandra, I agree that it’s difficult to decide how much to weigh the blog component in the course grade. You want it weighty enough that students do it, but not so weighty that if it doesn’t work ideally, you’re not just giving away a fifth of their grade for little work. You might start with it in combination with something else–like participation, in class and on the blog–so that you can weigh them together. I don’t think I’ve gone higher than 15%, but I might increase it as I have more work done on the site.


    Sandra Cheng

    Thanks all for the recommendations. Maybe we can bring in some of the SmartHistory people for a presentation to this year’s Title V group? Steven Zucker is chair of Art History at Pratt and there are numerous Pratt connections at CityTech (including myself).

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