A ED 323:
Visual Culture
& Art Education

Spring 2007

Section 001: 3 credits

Class meets: 102 Visual Arts


Tuesdays & Thursdays
1:00 - 2:15 p. m.


Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd
210 Arts Cottage

office hours: 2:15p.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursdays
210 Arts Cottage
email for appointment during office hours or to arrange to meet outside of office hours.

Description & Prerequisites:
A ED 323 VISUAL CULTURE AND ART EDUCATION (3) Inquiry into museum/visual culture and its texts, theories, and issues that provide a basis for K-12 art education. Prerequisite: A&A 101 and A&A 102S, or A&A 103 and A&A 104, A ED majors only.
A ED 322 and A ED 323 should be taken concurrently, or A ED 322 taken prior to A ED 323.

The PURPOSE of this course is:

To assist students to insightfully interpret and create artworks through both writing and artistic media.

2. To provide students with the bases for understanding, interpreting, and critically analyzing contemporary visual culture, which can provide the content of curriculum outlines and unit and lesson plans that students develop in the course for use during student teaching experiences and as art teachers.

3. To provide students with opportunities to develop connections between artworks and their own lives, the lives of their prospective students, and the societies in which they will live.

4. To encourage students to consider race, class, sexual identity, and gender issues in art, art education, cultural production, exhibition venues, and career opportunities.

Visual culture is the nexus between visual objects and their cultural contexts. Visual culture study is the pursuit of meaning of imagery to include fine art, folk art, mass media, design, popular culture, architecture, and other constructed categories of visual phenomena in everyday life. Meaning resides in the intertextual relationships between object, discourse, and viewer.

To investigate visual culture, we will explore and examine contemporary theories to visually/physically construct cultural critiques. We’ll make intertextual connections between themes prevalent in contemporary visual and textual representations by artists, philosophers, historians of art, art educators, cultural theorists, and art critics. An intertextual interpretation emphasizes the social context of an image as the necessary framework for understanding its meaning and function.

The significance of visual culture for art education pedagogy resides not so much in the object or image but in the process or practice used to investigate how images are situated in social contexts of power and privilege. Visual culture pedagogy from this theoretical stance questions and reveals who or what is the implied subject and who or what is the object in a specific representation.

OBJECTIVES—Students will:

• Read, critically examine, and discuss postmodern “texts” in relation to the ways in which the works and the critical writing that surrounds them participate in, among other issues, the construction of race and gender, of power and control.

• Explore the relationship of art to technology and the way in which it not only continues to propagate the constructs of gender and race, but the ways in which it calls into question the concept of reality itself.

• Create installations, videos, and performances or any combination of the three forms, individually and in groups
REQUIRED READINGS are linked @ the course calendar and found @ electronic reserve. Additionally, students select journal, book, and Internet readings to conduct research in their selected focus area.

TEXTS: include popular arts, film, television, video/computer games, music, theatre, fashion, museums, and newsmedia (e.g., The New York Times, news magazines, television commentary, etc.). Also additional resources are available at the topical linked bibliography and the Web site hot list.

Click here for grading policy, specific course assignments, due dates, & evaluation criteria.

The art education area faculty identified "threads" to weave through all the courses in the undergraduate art education programs. Below lists the threads, and how they are addressed in A ED 323.
in A ED 323
History & philosophy The projects in this course involve reading about and application of semiotic, feminist, postcolonial and other postmodern theories in interpreting visual culture.
Research/reflective practitioner Process-folios as documents of research paths and idea generation are a means to reflect on the course projects for units of study and lessons in art classrooms.
Language Language, one of the themes focused on in this course, is explored for how language is employed in contemporary art, how language constitutes realities, and language use is considered in regards to equity issues.
Assessment Students assess their work through processfolio reflections. Students critically examine postmodern "texts" and critique peer art developed in the projects in this course.
Technology Digital video editing, Internet research, and use of other technologies are integral to the course in creating art and exploring/presenting concepts.
Educational settings From experiences in this course, students design art writing and art making activities that they will use as teachers of art with consideration of the applicability to various education settings. Students will have opportunities in this course to develop connections between artworks and their own lives, the lives of their prospective students, and the societies in which they live.
Future impacts The course provides a foundation for innovative integration of computer and video technology in art making, viewing, and teaching.
Interdisciplinarity Visual culture as an approach to investigate how images are situated in contexts of power and privilege requires interdisciplinary study and connections.
Critical pedagogy Students experience critical pedagogy as producers of knowledge and in questioning knowledge production.
Instructional methods Students will do activities to disrupt by formal and metaphorical means their own and other's normalized categories of experience to move beyond an unquestioned prescribed world.
Learner(s) Students and teacher will be both learners and teachers, sharing our learning with others and active listening to learn from the diversity of people in the class and beyond.
Visual culture/art The approach to visual culture to include fine art, folk art, mass media, design, popular culture, architecture, and other constructed categories of visual phenomena in our culture and everyday life is to investigate how images are situated in social contexts of power and privilege which shapes their influence and value in society.
Diversity Diversity is integral to the course in multifaceted ways: in curricular choices for discussion of specific artists and art content, in student opportunity to draw from their life and interests,in dialogue to develop multivocal interpretations of art, and in critiques of computer games and other cultural artifacts for issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, social class, and violence.
Identity Several activities such as the metaphorical mirror, dream video, and cultural artifact presentations delve into issues of identity and representation.
Collaboration with colleagues Peer critiques with idea generation are some of the collaborative aspects of the course. Students have the option of working individually or with others in creating art.
Collaboration with families & communities The cultural artifact activity may involve dialogue with family, and it provides an example activity that could be developed in the student's process-folio as an art lesson for more extensive collaboration with family and communities.
Teaching & Learning Portfolios
A teaching and learning portfolio is a processfolio in this course which includes critical writing, concept sketches, responses to projects; and ideas for lessons in the classroom. The process folio materials should be digitized, organized, and placed on a CD-ROM as resource for an electronic portfolio.
Supplies Needed for the Course:

In this course you will need several writeable CD-R recordable disks ( -R works with Macs & Windows), DVDs, and at least one mini DV cassette. U-drives on the computers at Penn State can provide up to 1 GB of storage space of your work to access on any Penn State networked computer. Increase your U-Drive storage to 1 GB at https://www.work.psu.edu/. Also the Pass Disk space, which is where your personal server space resides can be opened on any computer connected to the Internet.

It is helpful to have a portable pocket drive to store and transfer data to non-networked computers

For backup of digital videos that you will create in this course and for your process-folio you will need 2 or more writeable DVDs (e.g., 4X DVD-R Media) and several CD-R recordable disk. You may want to organize with peers in the class for bulk purchases of writeable minus -R CDs and DVDs.

You will need to use a digital camera and digital video camera in this course and can check out these and other portable technology equipment for 24 hours, a weekend, or other specified time periods. Reserve prior to date you need it by calling 865-5400 or emailing mtsseq@psulias.psu.edu. Media & Technology Support Services, a division of the University Libraries, offers for student check -out a full range of portable audiovisual and technology equipment (laptop computers, LCD projectors, digital video cameras, digital still cameras, digital audio recorders, SVGA supported television monitor, 16mm projectors, overhead projectors, etc.). Media & Technology Support Services is at 26 Willard Building, 814-865-5400.

Facilities & Technology Support:

The 3 Patterson Building computer labs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. PhotoShop and DreamWeaver software have tutorial and "help" functionality to search for directions on specific techniques. Additionally, the course calendar is embedded with links (on the date the technology is introduced in the course) to easy to follow tutorials and tips on the use of the technologies.

Experts at the Sparks Building, room 15 (in the basement) are there to provide one-on-one assistance in getting the technology to do what you want it to do. If you like to have help available while you are working, use the Sparks computer lab to work on the projects outside of class time. Sparks lab is open Sunday, noon to 10 p.m., M-H 10a.m. to midnight, and Fri. 10a.m to 4 p.m. They are closed on Saturday.

All technology classrooms are equipped with a telephone. If you experience problems with computers or printers please call the Hotline at 8-777-0035. This number is staffed Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m.; Saturday &; Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is required and very important to enable your completion of assignments. Absences will impact your grade. Usually those that miss 3 or more absences fall too far behind to earn better than a B. Additionally, some aspects of the grade such as participation in critiques or presentation of your work can only be earned if you are present. Prior arrangements with me concerning an unavoidable absence help you to keep up with the learning in the course and therefore, obtain a high grade. I encourage you to attend professional conferences in your field, therefore your absence in class for such attendance is excused with prior arrangements.

This course is in accordance with Faculty Senate Policy 42-27 on Attendance: The faculty senate policy, effective Fall 2002, states that students who miss class due to legitimate, unavoidable reasons such as illness, injury or family emergency should have the opportunity to make up evaluative events. While notifying the instructor in a timely manner is a key expectation, the senate policy does not mandate official documentation of student illness or other unavoidable reasons for absence. The policy also states, however, that false claims by a student "may be considered violations of the policy on Academic Integrity." Similarly, R4 in the Administrative Policies and Procedures does not require official documentation when students take part in religious observances. R4 states, "In preparing the calendar for an academic year, the University makes every effort to avoid conflicts with religious holidays. However, when conflicts are unavoidable, efforts are made to make special arrangements for the students affected."

Academic Integrity:

University Policies and Rules Guidelines states that academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University's Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to acts such as cheating on exams or assignments; plagiarizing the words or ideas of another; fabricating information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; claiming authorship of work done by another person; submitting work completed in previous classes; and/or submitting the same work to multiple classes in which a student is enrolled simultaneously.

Plagiarism is the use of more than three consecutive words, ideas, or images of another author without proper citation. Proper citation formats must follow one of the academic writing style manuals such as APA, Chicago, MLA, or Turabian. All images and text from the Internet, journals, or books must have full citation to be used in your work. See APA citation style examples.

Students charged with a breach of academic integrity will receive due process and, if the charge is found valid, academic sanctions may range, depending on the severity of the offense, from F for the assignment to F for the course.

Modifications for Those Experiencing Disabilities:

If you need alternate arrangements or modifications to meet course requirements, please contact me during the first week of classes (see Americans with Disabilities Act, 26 July 1990, Penn State's Nondiscrimination Policy, and the Office for Disability Services).

The Office for Disability Services on campus provides academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services to qualified students with disabilities. In order for a student's disorder/impairment to be considered a disability, the student must demonstrate through documentation that the disorder/impairment meets the definition of a disability under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A disability is defined as a physical or emotional impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Click here for information regarding eligibility for services and the procedures for obtaining services. For further information regarding the Office for Disability Services at any Penn State campus, visit the ODS Web site

Health and Safety Information:

Every effort will be made to comply with the intent of state laws or acts and the University Health and Safety Program in an effort to maintain a safe academic and working environment. Information and awareness of safety factors will be included in the course content when applicable.

Click here for emergency procedures and phone numbers. Dial 911 for emergencies, (814) 863-1111 for University Police, or (814) 231-6110 for Centre Community Hospital Emergency Department. Patterson, room 304, has a phone by the podium to use (when there is not a class in session) to call off campus. Flashing lights and an alarm inside a building mean fire. Exit quickly.

The shop, located at 108 Visual Arts Building, is intended to serve the entire School of Visual Arts and is available to all students enrolled in SVA classes who have completed the appropriate orientation. Students in the School of Visual Arts may find that they are working in the shop or in their studios or classrooms using a variety of power and hand held equipment, which may cause injury. When assisting a person who is bleeding, use disposable gloves which are in the first aid kits in the shop and studio labs. Students should use the shop only after having received an orientation in the use of such equipment and when supervised by faculty or shop personnel. Should any injuries occur, in the shop, studios, or classrooms in the School of Visual Arts please report them to Jerry Bierly, Shop Supervisor, Room 108-A Visual Arts Building, Phone: 814-865-3962, email: jib7@psu.edu.