Distance Learning Challenge

Posted: 01/26/2015 in Assignments

art pallet

stack of booksInteractive Tours – Distance Learning Challenge

Scenario: A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

From a study of different types of Course Management Systems (CMS), there is no one size fits all when it comes choosing the best system. Use of CMS will be able to mitigate more of the challenges faced by this instructor. From my experience so far, I would recommend CourseSites as a starting CMS for the teacher, if the institution is not currently using a CMS. “Course management systems also typically provide pages for annotated hot links to relevant websites that can be organized by topic” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012, p. 185). This functionality would enable to instructor to post the link to the virtual tour within a course and allow students to access this within the classroom or from offsite.

Because the CMS will normally be contain some type of asynchronous communication to allow for group discussions (Simonson et al, 2012). The teacher could then post pictures of the different pieces of art selected from each of the exhibits and assign these to different groups for discussion. CourseSites would make each of these tasks easy for the novice to distance learning technologies fairly easy to accomplish. Using the LMS to post the pictures of the pieces of Art for the students to critique is one of the ways CMS improve student performance. “Visual learning improves student performance in four major ways: critical thinking, retention, comprehension, and organization” (Green, 2008, para. 1). Using the virtual tour and additional photos would enhance the learning experience of the students.

To enable the class to interact with the curator, I would suggest using some type of a live video chat with the curator. This could be done via multiple different programs, or even in a Webinar format. The curator could have prepared materials to present and receive questions, or it can just become a question and answer session with questions submitted either verbally or typed in to the live forum. This could be accomplished for free with the program AnyMeeting. This would allow for the Webinar to be held within the class time. While much of the other learning is done online. This type of blended-learning is successful. A study in 2009 pointed out that online students were performing better than traditional face-to-face students and “blended online and face-to-face instructions increases the advantage” (Baker, 2013, para. 4).

To round out the course, I would suggest a collaborative discussion with each group presenting in a face-to-face setting their critique of each piece of art their group was assigned. This would provide a nice balance between the online content and the face-to-face content.


Baker, C. (2013). Blended learning: Teachers plus computers equal success. Deseret News. Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569876/Blended-learning-teachers-plus-computers-equal-success.html?pg=all

Green, R. (2008). Learning Management Systems Success. Retrieved from http://coggno.com/learning-management-system/learning-management-system-success.html

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

  1. Dear Jordyn,
    Your is a highly practical and low-cost approach. While I read through the post, I wondered how you would cater for the the curator-engagement requirment. Your proposal was very viable: a Webinar. What Ihave to ask is on what terms will the curator participate? Do you think you will have to provide for a financial agreement? Very few specialists are that eager to share their knowledge for nothing. Moreover, their employer-organization may have terms to comply with.
    Thank you,

    • jordynheche says:


      Sorry for the delay in my response. I would like to think since most museums are non-profit, and they frequently will lecture students that physically visit the museum, they would be willing to host a webinar for a classroom of students. There may be a nominal fee for this, it would be something that I think would need to be checked into more in-depth. Based on the feedback from Dr. Paige, I would think there are other ways out there to accomplish this as well. I am thinking that I really overthought the process and tried to recreate the wheel, when the perfect solution has probably already been designed.

      Thank you,

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