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A Model for Creating an Art Museum-University Partnership to Develop Technology-Based Educational Resources PROCEEDINGS

, Sara Wilson McKay, University of Houston, United States ; , Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, United States ; , Donna Smith, University of Houston, United States

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the University of Houston have collaborated on the design and development of multi-faceted web sites related to both permanent and traveling exhibitions. In this paper, stakeholders from the museum and the university will describe the web sites and their various educational resources, including multimedia games and simulations for K-12 students. The authors will discuss the collaborative efforts from their individual perspectives, including the Instructional Technology program, the Art Education program and the Museum Education department. The paper will also include an examination of the development of online educational resources for K-12 teachers and students and will describe how students and instructors in two graduate Instructional Technology courses participated in this partnership. Students in the courses came from not only the IT program, but also from art and art education programs. The paper will include an overview of the role of technology in art education in general and in art museums specifically to suggest the importance of context in the development of art educational materials. Preliminary evaluation data that describe student perceptions of multimedia resources will also be reported. The two graduate IT courses at the University of Houston use community-based content and resources as the foundation for the project that students design and develop. In the first course to be discussed, Project-Based Web Design & Development, the entire course deals with design and development of a web project for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Other features of the course include: • Students work with multi-disciplinary content for a variety of audiences in authentic settings: students, teachers, families, art educators, general public. • Museum education personnel attend classes and work as team facilitators. • Former students in the course and other faculty members serve as team facilitators. • There is close interaction between the students and content experts. In the second course, Collaborative Design & Development of Multimedia, students also work in collaborative teams, but these students design and develop MM resources using Authorware for stand-alone kiosk presentations and web-enabled content. Unlike the first course, where all students work on the same museum project, the student teams in this course may work on projects for different clients. Collaboration between the University of Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has been a tremendously beneficial experience for both institutions. An effort is being made to attract more students from other programs such as art, art education, history, and social studies education and have them enroll in the courses. Adding these students to the collaborative groups will increase the creative efforts of each team and add the contextual reference that will aid students and teachers as they use the educational resources in their classrooms. One of the most interesting effects of working with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is that students participate in technology courses that require a cross-disciplinary exploration of the history, geography, religion, economics, politics, and other cultural influences associated with works of art and artifacts. Being able to work with so much of the museum's rich and diverse content has elevated the courses to more meaningful and fertile educational experiences for all involved-the students, the instructors and the museum's education staff. Recruiting additional museum staff members to serve as course facilitators and consultants will add even more value to the partnership since they help articulate the goals and objectives of the museum and provide insight and expertise related to works of art and how they are exhibited, both in the physical museum and online. Funding is being sought to create university/museum fellowships that will attract graduate students from several different program areas (IT, Art Education, Social Studies Education, etc.) to work on these projects. These students will work closely with museum personnel and university faculty as they take responsibility for various project components, mentor other students, conduct dissertation research, publish scholarly articles about their work, and present their findings at national and international conferences. As this collaborative partnership between the MFAH and the University of Houston continues to evolve, it is expected that new and even more interesting ideas will emerge.


Robin, B., Schneider, B. & McNeil, S. (2002). A Model for Creating an Art Museum-University Partnership to Develop Technology-Based Educational Resources. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 11-18). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved September 25, 2017 from .