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Faculty Experiences - Rae Agahari

Rae Agahari - photoRAE AGAHARI

Art History

Interview Topics
What matters most to you in your teaching?

How are you using technology as a tool to achieve your teaching goals?

How have your students responded to your use of technology?

What new goals do you have for using technology in teaching?
Focus on the learning process

Review materials

Show what you're talking about

Sample exams & papers
Class web site

Digital archive

Discussion board


Internet resources

Getting Students Excited About Learning

I like to see that the students are excited in the classroom and that they are learning. My class is about 20 persons. I teach Art History for undergraduate students. As a teacher, I am willing to  go through the learning process with them. It is not about dishing out information to students. If the students do not understand, one must come up with a different way to reach them.

For example, if my students are not at the level I have planned for them in the middle of the quarter, I will have to investigate why this is so. I usually set up a meeting with them one-on-one even if it's only for ten minutes. If I find that they are legitimately trying, I am willing to adjust the syllabus for my students. I use technology in the form of scanning or uploading supplementary images that are not in the textbook and making them available on the  class web site where students can always review them. I use the same approach for  sample exam questions. Sometimes  museums have very good collections of work [online], so I can include their direct links for students to access on our web site. I have created an online discussion board using the E-Campus course web site and asked some of my students to post some questions, comments or responses. I have found that a lot of the students appreciated the additional on-line interaction.

I use a traditional slide projector. I know how to use PowerPoint but I don't use it too often. I prefer the slide projector mostly because UCLA does not yet have an extensive digital image database. It's just easier to do it with the slides right now because they are more available to me in this form.
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One of the drawbacks of the web is that students have come to plagiarize a lot more. I find that some of my students just cut and paste from some websites to fulfill assignments. This is quite discouraging for students and technology. One solutions I have is to limit the number of web references in their papers and that they always have to include the URL of the websites. I wish in the future that there could be a database that instructors can go to in order to check whether a paper is plagiarized or not.
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The future for me is to use seamlessly a university  digital image database to present lectures. An instructor can include commentaries on the side of the image, add music, or synchronize one image with another, etc. One can basically "play and plug" the images to have a really stimulating and lucid lecture. That is the future of art history education.
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Oral Interview, May 28, 2003
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