smarthistory

We are currently working on a revision of Lisa Kljaich’s Art/Music/Theater 200 class which is set to be ready for enrollment this summer. This revision is exciting because she wants to get rid of the textbook and the CD collection that had been required for the course by replacing them with all open source material – paintings, sculpture, music, and theater performances. If everything goes well this course will be added as one of our OER courses (http://oer.uaf.edu).

As I’ve been working on the class with her I’ve been noticing just how many resources are available online for the areas this course covers, and one site in particular really stands out – smarthistory.org. This site is an effort by two art history professors, Beth Harris and Steven Zucker , to eliminate the need for the giant art history text book traditionally used as required reading in their own classes. This site they are working on is a collection of images, audio, video, and insightful narrative all licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

The purpose of the site in their own words:

smARThistory.org is a free multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional and static art history textbook. Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker began smARThistory in 2005 by creating a blog featuring free audio guides in the form of podcasts for use in The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Soon after, we embedded the audio files in our online survey courses. The response from our students was so positive that we decided to create a multi-media survey of art history web-book. We created audios and videos about works of art found in standard art history survey texts, organized the files stylistically and chronologically, and added text and still images.

We are interested in delivering the narratives of art history using the read-write web’s interactivity and capacity for authoring and remixing… [more]

It is a very well designed site with quite a (growing) collection of resources. In addition to their video collections on Vimeo and YouTube they have set up a Flickr group for anyone interested in sharing pictures they have taken of the works of art discussed on the smarthistory.org site.

I have to mention the very nifty timeline they’ve built for the site. So slidy!

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words about our site. We are extremely interested in how Smarthistory.org is used at different institutions. Please let us know what works well and what’s missing or needs improvement. And thanks.
    Steven

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