UF Art Education


Curriculum Overview

Art educators can have a powerful impact on a student’s life. They can engage their critical thinking, encourage their creativity, and shape their technical development. They also can help them discover their unique talents, gain confidence, and prepare for real-world art applications.

The online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) curriculum builds on your expertise to help you excel in today’s evolving arts education landscape. The program aims to develop leaders in the field who engage in reflective, critical thought and scholarship and are committed to ongoing professional development. We also endeavor to heighten awareness among educators of the benefits and challenges of promoting democratic values in our culturally diverse society.

Ongoing research increasingly demonstrates that arts and arts integrated instruction engages students in school, increases learning, and helps students develop collaboration, communication and other valuable skills that lead to success in work and life.

The Arts Education Partnership

The two-year, 36-credit program can be completed fully online. Many students, however, complete the program on a hybrid basis, combining online coursework during the academic year with intensive, one-week Residential Summer Studio courses on campus.

Note: Due to COVID-19, the one-week Residential Summer Studio, typically held in Gainesville, Florida, will be replaced with a two-week, at-home studio intensive. This unique opportunity consists of two different at-home intensives and features synchronous and asynchronous learning. See the full at-home studio intensive announcement, and contact an enrollment advisor at (877) 360-1859 with any questions. For a look at what you can expect, check out this video from our 2020 Printmaking Residential Summer Studio.

Additionally, we structured the online curriculum to help you balance all your obligations. Instead of juggling two courses, you focus on just one course at a time. Courses offered in the Spring and Fall span eight weeks, and students typically take two courses consecutively each 16-week semester.

Curriculum Highlights

Flexibility and Convenience – You decide when and where you want to study. You also choose whether to take your summer studio courses on campus, online or both.

Theory into Practice – Students not only can immediately apply what they learn in their courses to their own learning environment, but also immediately engage in lively discussions about their real-world experiences with peers and professors in the virtual classroom.

Digital Age Proficiency – Students develop their technological literacy and virtual collaboration skills through the use of our advanced online learning platform and associated software including Adobe Connect. You also learn strategies for teaching with technology and can take multiple studio courses in new media.

Studio Emphasis – We stress immersive, hands-on graduate-level art making experiences—whether online or on campus—involving new and/or traditional media. UF artist educators developed these innovative courses specifically for our students and our unique studio environments. Learn more in the Course Descriptions section below or visit our Residential Summer Studio page.

Global Perspectives – Globalization is a crucial phenomenon in today’s world and an important concept across academic disciplines. Though many of your courses touch on this topic, our increasingly interconnected world is the focus of ARH6930 Art and Global Diversity, the program’s core art history course. Additionally, the program now offers an annual study abroad opportunity, led by Program Director Heidi Powell, Ed.D.

The Online Learning Environment

Though students may never interact in person, they commonly develop relationships online that extend beyond graduation. For online coursework, we use the Canvas platform, a technologically advanced, but easy to use 21st century learning management system. It serves as a hub for coursework and communication. Among its features are a repository for sharing all kinds of content and an integrated media recorder that can be used for messaging, assignments and discussions.

I wasn’t expecting the outreach that I received upon taking my very first class. I had people emailing me immediately after I submitted my first project, wanting to know how I did something. We’re all in it together.

Drew Mulligan ‘18
online M.A. in Art Education, University of Florida

Online courses are mostly asynchronous (self-study with interactive elements including email and discussion boards) with some components that are synchronous (learning with others in real-time using videoconferencing and other technologies). Instructors schedule live sessions at mutually convenient times and record these sessions for those who are unable to attend.

Online Orientation

The Canvas online learning platform provides an online orientation module to familiarize you with the online MAAE program, university policies and procedures, and the learning management system itself. We enroll all students into the module. It is recommended but not required.

Online Coursework

All online MAAE courses emphasize active learning and are project based; there are no tests. Though courses are academically rigorous, they also are fun. Most courses combine individual study with group collaboration. And since our faculty are actively engaged leaders in the field, they are well positioned to bring in distinguished colleagues as guest lecturers to share their expertise on specific topics related to your coursework.

Online MAAE students can expect to engage in activities that include reading articles and texts; completing written assignments; viewing recorded lectures and presentations; and participating in discussion boards and live discussions.

Online studio courses focus heavily on making art and may incorporate some of the activities described above. See the Course Descriptions section below for more information about individual courses.

You also can check out examples of online MAAE course assignments here.

Curriculum Basics

The online M.A. in Art Education comprises:

  • Foundational knowledge, curriculum theory and contemporary issues in art education (9 credits)
  • Research methods (3 credits)
  • Advanced studio (9 credits)
  • Art history/criticism (3 credits)
  • Art or education electives (6 credits)
  • Independent research and capstone project (6 credits)

Students typically take one course at a time and two courses per semester. You may choose to take just one course, but this will lengthen the time it takes to complete your degree and may make you ineligible for financial aid. You also may be permitted to take more than two courses per semester to expedite degree completion, but we discourage this path as it can be challenging for busy professionals.

Though online classes enable you to complete coursework largely on your own schedule, assignment deadlines must be met. We suggest that students devote 10 to 12 hours per week of study for each course. There are no login requirements, but we recommend that students log in daily to check email and review announcements. Students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program.

Faculty members typically reply to your questions within 24 hours during a regular school week. Additionally, students can schedule one-on-one virtual meetings with their instructor throughout the semester.

Course Descriptions

Art Education (ARE) and Art History (ARH) Core Courses

ARE6148 Curriculum in Teaching Art (Offered Fall A)

This course assists graduate art education students in developing an understanding of various theories and approaches to structuring art curricula. Emphasis is on identifying the basic elements of curriculum construction as well as linking contemporary theories and curricular practices in art education with their historical antecedents. Upon successful course completion, students are able to demonstrate understanding of:

  • The basic elements of curriculum construction (i.e., intent, content, organization and management)
  • State learning standards in the visual arts and the various art competencies required
  • Contemporary approaches to art curriculum development and their historical antecedents
  • Various theories of learning and conceptions of knowledge, and how they relate to curricular development in art
  • Approaches to assessing the knowledge and competencies required in an art curriculum
  • Print and online resources that support art curriculum development and implementation

ARH6930, Art & Global Diversity (Offered Fall B)

This is an art theory/museology course that engages students with issues in contemporary art in relation to physical context, meaning, and audience participation. Students analyze, critique, and apply current concepts in art, methodology, and criticism within the context of global diversity. These student outcomes are assessed by weekly written reviews of scholarly literature, weekly video conference seminar discussions, and one final project.

ARE6049 History of Teaching Art (Offered Spring A)

This course assists graduate art education students in developing an understanding of the philosophical foundations of art education. The emphasis is on linking personal and cultural belief systems about the nature of art education to their historical antecedents and roots. Upon successful course completion, students are able to explain:

  • Their own personal belief systems upon which their art teaching practices are based
  • The historical bases for their own beliefs as well as other contemporary art education theories and practices
  • How certain persons, events, and issues have shaped the field of art education over the years

ARE6641 Contemporary Issues in Art Education (Offered Spring B)

In this course, students explore ways in which contemporary issues in art, education, and society influence theories and practices in art education. Through weekly reading assignments, discussions, and individual research projects, students examine scholarly writings, creative practices, and contemporary issues as they shape art education. Topics covered in the course include (but are not limited to) contemporary issues in art education, postmodern and critical social theory, multicultural/intercultural education, visual culture theory, new media/technology, and creativity. As an issues-oriented course, topics for consideration in ARE6641 are grounded in practices that foster the personal creative potential for every human being and that envision art and education as a form of critical public engagement based on democratic values.

Art Education Elective Courses

Students are required to take two electives. These courses are offered on a rotating basis, and students typically take one elective course in each of their fourth and fifth semesters.

ARE6933 Art Education Beyond School Walls

This course is intended for graduate students who are interested in teaching art outside of traditional K-12 school settings. It is also useful for art educators interested in connecting their classrooms with their communities. Through study and observation, you explore the role art educators play serving various interest groups including but not limited to people with disabilities, the elderly, LGBTQ youth, hospital patients, prisoners, homeschoolers as well as those with general interest in the arts at museums, libraries, summer camps, community centers, artists’ studios, and online. The field is truly limitless with new doors, literally, opening every day. Field observations at sites in your own communities complements course readings and online research to inform critically reflective discussion and writing.

ARE6933 Thinking in Art Education

This course focuses on exploring the psychology of creativity and how to foster critical, creative, and practical thinking skills and dispositions in the art education practice when engaging with learners of all ages. Emphasis is on understanding how learning in and through art and design supports new paradigms of intelligence and creativity theory.

ARE6933 Perspectives on Artistic Development

This course examines current research about artistic learning and development, identifying connections between artistic/aesthetic behaviors and other domains of human development. We consider perspectives derived from varied disciplinary lenses as they inform our own understandings about ways in which artistic learning takes place in the 21st century. Disciplinary perspectives include sociocultural learning theory, complimented by studies from psychology, anthropology, art education, and art criticism. Art, in this context, is an expansive term that refers to a diverse array of creative visual, aesthetic, and symbolic expressions and cultural productions. Course activities and assignments are set forth in a fast-paced but thoughtful examination of the nature and relevance of artistic learning today.

ARE6933 Globalization, Art, and Education

Students explore connections between globalization, art, and education in this course. Themes and questions examined include ideas about the nature of creative cultural expressions (aka “art”) in diverse global contexts; the dramatic impact of transcultural and transglobal interaction on local peoples and communities; and how all of this impacts personal, cultural, professional, and public policies, practices and institutions. We read scholarly texts, examine contemporary art, discuss texts and art, conduct independent research, create original art, share our research and art, play with digital media, explore and utilize online social networking sites, establish our own online presence, and self-assess our work.

Capstone Courses

All of these courses are required. Students typically take ARE6746 in either the fourth or fifth semester (depending on course sequencing) and take ARE6905 and ARE6910 in the final semester.

ARE6746 Research Methods

This course facilitates the development and writing of the Capstone Research Proposal. In conversation and consultation with peers and the instructor, students select and focus their capstone research topics, goals, and questions; identify and read scholarly texts that inform their topics of inquiry; learn and apply appropriate research methodologies; and write their Capstone Research Proposal. Students complete a significant amount of the required work independently. This includes making decisions, identifying, retrieving, and examining texts that inform their research projects, and writing in a scholarly and professional way. Through a series of graded and ungraded weekly assignments, students shape their capstone research projects and, at the end of this course, turn in their written Capstone Research Proposal for evaluation. Student enrollment in this course is based on the assumptions that: (a) students are ready to select and focus their capstone research projects; (b) students have adequate writing skills to complete the Capstone Research Proposal in accordance with University of Florida Graduate College Standards; and (c) students have adequate time to complete the work required in this course.

ARE6905 Independent Study

This course enables students to study and gain knowledge of a topic that is not part of a regularly-offered course—for the purpose of preparing for the Capstone Project. Students identify and refine a proposal topic related to art education and provide a written/oral proposal to the supervisory committee for approval. Following approval, the student conducts a review of research/proposal goals and consults with the committee chair on a regular basis to discuss the status of the research project.

ARE6910 Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is the culminating experience of the MAAE degree. Students integrate the knowledge acquired from the program and their Independent Study course, in a curricular document that shows the findings, methodology, research, and implications of their project.

Students may choose to prepare a Thesis instead of a Capstone Project. We recommend the Thesis option for those who are considering or actively pursuing Ph.D. studies.

The difference between a Capstone project and Thesis can be summarized as follows:

  • A Capstone is a practice-based research project focusing on a specific issue in art education or a related field and how it can be understood, solved or otherwise addressed, typically in the context of a practice setting such as a school or community.
  • A Thesis seeks to create or add new knowledge to the field of art education. It has a theoretical base, but may include practical components.

Studio Courses

Students are required to take three studio courses. They typically take two studio courses during their first summer (on-campus, online or both) and take the third studio in either the fourth or fifth semester (depending on course sequencing).

Online Studios

ART5930C The Digital Image

This studio introduces you to aspects of digital imaging as tools for creating artwork, emphasizing how our relationship to images (how they’re created, perceived, and circulated) is implicated within our digital culture. Through projects, readings, writing assignments, and critique, we explore the unique imagemaking possibilities provided through digital media, gaining an understanding of its context within histories of art, culture, and technology, as well as its contemporary practice. Projects include use of images sourced from the Web, scanned imagery, digital photography, and their manipulation primarily using Adobe Photoshop.

ART5930C Digital Video

In this course, students are invited to explore the potential of digital video. You learn about how to create video art in a variety of contexts and how to be resourceful using a medium that generally involves expensive equipment. Topics include stop motion animation, sequential art, sound, social media, and documentary. The emphasis will be on the conceptual and experimental, rather than conventional narratives. As part of the studio component for this course, you will also read theoretical texts associated with the practice of video art and screen online videos that contextualize the work of this course with in a contemporary art milieu.

ART5930C Digital Studio—Mapping and Place

This studio introduces you to mapping and exploration as a potential methodology for your own art practice, interpreting and situating your work with a physical and/or virtual context/place. You interface with the local landscape, as pedestrians and cyclists, conducting experiments and interventions with your surroundings with the intention of developing strategies that inform your pedagogy and personal art practice. This class looks for the connections between art, your art practice/work, geography, landscape architecture, critical theory, anthropology, literature, social studies, and natural resources. Many of the questions and projects that we explore in this class are relevant to the teaching of art, but also to social studies, science, and geography. We read selections by scholars including John Stilgoe, Michel de Certeau, Denis Wood, Rebecca Solnit, and Lucy Lippard. We also examine the work of other artists who use mapping as part of their practice or as content themes in their work.

ART5930C Experiments in Installation

Students explore materials and methods of creating installation art in this course. This dynamic artform relies on the relationship between artist and viewer, engaging multiple senses to give the viewer an immersive experience. We look at the history of the medium and contemporary practitioners to inform weekly projects, culminating in a site-specific installation. Students are evaluated based on reading responses, contributions to class discussions, process work, critiques, and aesthetic and conceptual concerns in their art-making practice.

ART5930C Sketchbook Development

This course is offered both online and on campus. See course description below.

On-Campus Studios

ART5930C Sketchbook Development

This studio activates sketchbook development as an instrument for making creative connections. Investigations into drawing, collaging, and collecting stimulate curiosity, inform experiments, and expand creative habits. Students explore image making, rehearse non-linear notation, and seek creative associations from their quantity of evidence. Through learning lessons on the dynamics of drawing, students discover habits of the mind by enlisting creative practice. Online demonstrations, exercises, readings, quizzes, and self-identified site-specific fieldtrips are required to extend these skills. Students make mixed media sketchbooks and post to online forums to examine the possibilities for creative sketchbook research—making connections to their developing drawing ability.

ART5930C Ceramics

In this course, students familiarize themselves with a range of ceramic hand forming and surface treatment techniques, while focusing on personal idea development. Demonstrations and examples of basic 3D concepts and clay-forming techniques will provide a platform for the advancement of skills and individual artwork. White and Red low fire clays will be used to explore firing options using electric kilns. Students will practice safe clay studio habits as well as kiln loading and firing.

ART5930C Contemporary Approaches in Painting

This studio explores the diverse methods and practices in contemporary painting. Topics include conceptual approaches to representation, unconventional processes and materials in abstraction, and the moving image in the creation of stop-motion painting animation. Students gain a broad understanding of contemporary painting, build a distinct visual vocabulary, and develop a cross-disciplinary mindset to thinking about painting.

ART5930C Design Thinking

Students taking this studio have asserted, “We make ideas, not things.” Design thinking is not about the final product but the process of originating ideas and creative investigation. By its very nature, design thinking is cross-disciplinary, collaborative, iterative, and human-centered. Core concepts involve curiosity, imagination, empathy, and observation. During this course, we do an individual project and a collaborative project, a set of design thinking exercises, a book discussion, and a post-class assignment. The course also includes design case studies, sketching, brainstorming, and presentations. Learn more about ART5930C from this Capstone Project by Laurie Myers: Design Thinking as Collaborative Learning in Education (2013).

ART5930C Big Color Monotypes

Students in this course engage in the study of color theories in conjunction with print studio problems. This approach allows you to investigate the physical, perceptual, psychological, and organizational properties of color via collagraph, monotypes, and pressure print outcomes. Individual print experiments lead to common vernaculars for group collaborations and large installations to take shape. Strategies with color vocabularies enlist experiences with digital applications and color separations from commercial printing through non-toxic constructions. Color is explored as a phenomenon of light and pigment, and as an expressive and symbolic element. In addition, you develop critical thinking and research applications. Printmaking provides a forum where new ideas and mediums are discovered and explored; and where learning is experienced through discussions, site visits, demonstrations, collaborative techniques, student experiments, and sharing. You are introduced to new visual mediums that expand your expressive potential for color at a large scale.

ART5930C Black and White Darkroom Photography

This studio guides students through various darkroom production processes and a corresponding critical analysis through the lens of contemporary art discourse. The course includes the production of photograms, 35mm camera work including film processing, print developing, and experimental processes that introduce digital techniques into analogue production (e.g., 3D printing lens modifications for 35mm cameras). Studio assignments and select readings guide discussion about the politics and histories of these forms of concrete and pictorial photography and the relationship between the two. The class culminates with group critiques.

ART5930C Art as Narrative

Students explore narrative and storytelling as inspiration and material for art-making in this course. They examine how to perceive and communicate stories, making works rooted in narrative with an emphasis on experimentation. Students are evaluated based on contributions to class activities and discussion, process work, critiques, and aesthetic and conceptual development in their art-making practice.

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