Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jennifer Mathes


As higher education moves increasingly to online and hybrid programs, more students will be taking art appreciation courses virtually. The research that exists on student perceptions related to hands-on art making suggests that active creation is valuable in fostering creativity, inspiring knowledge, and supporting and motivating students. The purpose of this case study was to explore non-art major, college-level students' experiences, perceptions, and reflections of an active learning component within an online art appreciation class delivered at a public university in the southeastern United States. Three research questions were developed to explore the students' experiences, perceptions, and reflections of this hands-on art making component. The conceptual framework was based on the combined work of prominent theoreticians, educators and scholars in the arts including Dewey, Piaget, Bruner, Gardner, and Eisner. To complete this case study, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 non-art major, college level students (enrolled in online art appreciation during the 2015-16 academic year) and included discussion about a specific art work that each student made. The interview data was analyzed using open-coded thematic analysis. The overall findings indicated that: there is an emotional response to hands-on art making, appropriate faculty instruction is an important factor in actively engaged learning, and students gain knowledge through the active learning component of the online art appreciation class. Findings were used to design a 3-day professional development workshop. Implications for educators include advocating for variations in art coursework for online students.