Using Arts based Instructional Strategies to Engage Online Learners
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of how arts based teaching strategies engage learners by stimulating interaction, creating social presence, and developing community in online graduate classrooms. This descriptive exploratory qualitative study used Social Development Theory and the Student-Instructor-Technology-Environment (SITE) Model as the conceptual framework. A convenience sample included 33 graduate students who had completed a 16-week online course at a Canadian university. Arts based instructional strategies studied included conceptual quilting, photovoice, and parallel poetry. Participants completed an online survey and focus groups. Thematic analysis revealed that the art based strategies had positive effects on student engagement. The themes are 1) enhanced interaction, 2) advanced innovation/creativity and risk taking, 3) deepening of rapport, and 4) personalization of the learning environment.