facebook pixel

Students, staff & faculty can login to access personalized content.

Parent & Guardian Access is located here.

Please enter your login info

Forgot your password?

[Skip to Content]

Designing the Digital Classroom

Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton
Brockett Horne, Ellen Lupton and team

Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton Launch MOOC on Graphic Design History

Posted 09.28.16

Since the turn of the century, the ongoing invention and application of new technologies and digital media has greatly changed how we live, work and play. New forms of engagement have emerged, and people from across the globe are connecting and collaborating in ways not viable a mere decade earlier.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a prime example of this trend. Academic offerings accessible via the internet to anyone, free of charge, MOOCs allow institutions such as MICA to leverage technology in ways that increase their capacity. And by allowing faculty to create flexible learning options and expand opportunities for partnerships with other industries, they are increasingly seen as the future of higher education.

MOOCs are changing what it means for college classrooms to "go digital," and Brockett Horne, chair of MICA's B.F.A. in Graphic Design, and Ellen Lupton, co-director of the M.F.A. in Graphic Design, are among those leading the way. Partners leading the popular MOOC "Graphic Design History: An Introduction," Horne and Lupton share their thoughts on this new way of teaching.

Ellen Lupton: One of the best things about teaching at MICA is the chance to experiment with new ways of teaching. This summer, Brockett Horne and I turned one of our favorite MICA classes into an online experience available to people all over the world. Our course is called "Graphic Design History."

Brockett Horne: We love teaching this course at MICA because we can show students why history matters. We can connect today's design practice with historical precedents. To engage online users, we set up lessons that unfold as dialogues between the two of us, similar to a debate method we use in our class at MICA. Each session opens with a short skit where we argue about an aspect of design. Check out the introduction to the course below.

EL: Open online courses have become popular in computer science and other technical fields. To create our design history course, MICA decided to collaborate with Kadenze, an online education company founded by and for artists. Our course appears alongside classes offered by top faculty from CalArts, UCLA, SAIC, Otis and other colleges and universities. Kadenze offers a great way to sample the unique approaches of different art schools.

BH: Kadenze serves unique online content to a population of visual and performing artists. Design history is an important subject for anyone studying graphic design because it directly connects studio courses to the rigorous history and theory that comes from academic courses.

EL: Yet many schools struggle to find faculty who can teach this important subject. Graphic design history is closely tied to professional practice. Producing this course required endless research and an insider's knowledge of design processes. Merrill C. Berman, the world's premiere private collector of graphic design, shared over 150 high-resolution images of some of modern design's most significant graphic design artifacts. We also scoured online museum collections and libraries for quality material.

BH: Since our course launched on Kadenze in September, we've been fascinated to see students participate from across the US and different parts of the world. We didn't expect the range of opinions and ideas happening in the online forums. Those ideas can help me improve my teaching by improving the quality of the content, the way it is organized and the way we offer it to students. To prepare for this class, I worked with a speech coach to practice my delivery and focus on the craft of teaching. It's agonizing to watch yourself on video for sure, but I've made big improvements in my performance.

EL: Teaching online is different from teaching in a classroom. I miss the feedback and ideas that arise during face-to-face interactions, but teaching online lets us reach anyone, anywhere. I've produced several free online classes with Skillshare in New York City, including a new course on Graphic Design Basics (created with Jennifer Cole Phillips). We love sharing the great content we create here at MICA with a wider design community.

BH: Please join us online or in the classroom to learn more about graphic design history!

This page was last updated on 09/28/2016.