Celtic Art & Cultures

Innovative use of web-based multimedia to teach art history

1997 – 1999

The Celtic Art & Cultures Web site and CD-ROM demonstrated how the evolving information technology in the early days of the World Wide Web could be used to improve teaching of arts and humanities. the project was a joint effort between myself—it became my master's project—and Dorothy Verkerk, a professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the Fall of 1997, we were awarded a 1998 Information Technology grant by the Office of the Chancellor at UNC to develop an Art History course, Celtic Art & Cultures, that would be centered around technology.

Professor Verkerk had previously taught the Celtic Art & Cultures course as a traditional lecture course. Celtic art, however, with its geometric, abstract, and rhythmical vocabulary, seemed to be an ideal topic to which to apply technology. At the same time, I felt that web technologies had developed to the point where it would be both feasible and useful to develop course materials as web-based multimedia and to use the web as a means for enhanced student communication and collaboration, although these were still relatively novel ideas in 1997.

The completed course materials included a 1000 image database, animations that illustrated and highlighted the themes and patterns of Celtic design, QuickTimeVR images (which we traveled to Ireland to capture) that enabled students to directly manipulate images of Celtic high crosses and other three-dimensional structures, narrated topic presentations, audio-enhanced vocabulary definitions, vocabulary quizzes, maps, and an illustrated timeline. In addition, the students themselves completed course projects in the form of web pages that were added to the web site. Dr. Verkerk taught the Celtic Art & Cultures course over many semesters using these original website and CD-ROM materials.

Related Publications

Geisler, G. (1998). Using New Technology to Teach Art History: The Celtic Art and Cultures Project.Unpublished Master's Project Report.

Related Information

Celtic Art & Cultures website Link
Note that the site has not been updated in over 10 years.
EDUCAUSE Medal Winner for 1999 Link
The EDUCAUSE program honored work that demonstrated that information technology can help improve undergraduate education.
Web Teaching Guide example Link
The Celtic & Cultures site was featured in the Web Teaching Guide, a book published by Yale University Press in November, 2000.
Internet Scout Report Selection of the Week Link
Selected by the Internet Scout Report for the week of October 2, 1998.
Chapel Hill News article
O'Kelly, K. "UNC Web site enables teaching of Celtic art." The Chapel Hill News, Sunday, July 19, 1998, p. B1.