I’ve spent the past several weeks working through a few art courses, and I recently completed the first self-paced course I’ve taken this year. ALISON.com has a slew of courses that can be taken online for free, at the learner’s leisure. Completed courses are eligible for certificates of completion that learners can add to their educational portfolios.
I mentioned previously that I was completing the “Great Artists and Their Works” course. The course is approximately 5 – 6 hours long, and features 8 modules, with multiple lessons within each module. Each module discusses a different artist, and the artists are associated with different art movements throughout history (Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Cubism, etc.,).
(picture from Alison.com)
I found this to be a very helpful free course, and a suitable, though compressed, art history introduction. I was enthralled by the artists I’d never heard of before – namely, Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Jacques-Louis David – and I’m glad I spent the time working through this course.
While I enjoyed the class, it isn’t without its flaws. It relies on videos created by Khan Academy, so you could just as easily study directly from the Khan Academy website. Also, the course has a single, cumulative examination at the end instead of quizzes sprinkled throughout the modules. In my experience, students learn better when they are periodically quizzed instead of assessing their knowledge after many concepts have been discussed and analyzed. Finally, there were a few questions that tested learners on concepts that weren’t taught in the course (I had to use Google for the answers).
Overall, I enjoyed the class and would recommend to anyone that wants to get familiar with some of the great names in art. If you decide to take it, let me know what you think about it!