Course Portfolio: History of XXth Century Photography

Claude Cookman

This portfolio describes the instructor’s efforts to help students in a history of photography course improve their critical thinking skills through intensive writing. Critical thinking is defined as the ability to identify a writer’s thesis and evaluate whether her argument convincingly supports that thesis; it also incorporates several mental operations fundamental to practicing the history of photography including observing, describing, comparing and contrasting, classifying, interpreting and several others. Eighty percent of the course grade was based on writing assignments, including four papers with a required total of 25 pages, and 15 responses to essay study questions about assigned readings. This component used the Just in Time Teaching method (JiTT), in which students responded to the questions shortly before class via the Internet. In quantitative and open-ended responses to a questionnaire at the end of the semester, students reported that the course did increase their critical thinking. Several noted the JiTT method heightened their engagement in the course.

Subject: Education, Fine Arts
Resource Type: Course Information